How the Cookie Crumbles

An irreverant view of life after SIXTY-FIVE

Gander

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Drizzle again on the agenda, we bused for about an hour-and-a-half to the sounds of an easy-listening CD. In Gander, I spotted a child on the sidewalk with a white and brown Shetland pony. A rope around the pony’s neck, the child turned round and round, allowing the pony to run in a circle. Both were cute. I’ve never before seen a pony this tiny.

At Gander Airport, Francis regaled us with stories while we crowded around. On our way to the upper level, we stopped at a framed collage of stars who have passed through over the years.

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The view from the upper level provided a full, though distant view of this famous mural.

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In 1985, soldiers returning home for Christmas from Afghanistan crashed in Gander. The deadliest crash since WWII, 253 lives were lost.

On September 11, 2001, 39 planes landed in Gander (Operation Yellow Ribbon). Passengers were not allowed off the planes for 13 hours, information about the New York tragedy withheld until they deplaned. An American journalist, Jim DeFede, contacted and interviewed about 180 people from those flights and published a book.  (The Day the World Came to Town).

  • The population of Gander 10,000
  • 6,600 (passengers, pilots and crews)
  • Lewisporte took 800 passengers
  • Mayor of Gander talked with all the passengers
  • Walmart, Canadian Tire, drug stores—every store—supplied whatever was needed at no cost
  • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gJskIhGbDq4
  • All toiletries / everything gone from all shelves
  • 87-year-old woman needed underwear, clerk suggested thongs
  • Hundreds of thousands of meals prepared
  • Passengers organized together with their own group
  • Returning from Lewisporte to Gander and home, one Nigerian missing. Gone fishing with ‘the boys.’ Comes back every year
  • Shirley Brooks-Jones collected money from the passengers on her flight home
  • Set up a scholarship fund for the school where passengers had been housed and fed
  • Fund is 1.3 million dollars
  • Took out $850,000 life insurance policy in the event of her death to fund it

Gander Quick Facts

  • The Gander Airport mural (72 feet long) embodies the history of air travel.
  • No aircraft illustration were allowed to be used in the work
  • Opened in 1959 by Queen Elizabeth
  • Talk of a new airport, but this one is still busy
  • When planes fogged in in St. John’s, they land in Gander
  • You can at least drive 4-1/2 drive to St. John’s if need be
  • Was no direct flight to Europe from Gander. Now there is.
  • Had to go to Toronto first instead
  • Population over 11,000
  • Cubans defected to Canada, using Gander as jumping off point to Florida, to join their families

Close off the parking lot to airport, we spied an Irving gas station. Needing to replenish our spirits, Mary ran ahead so we wouldn’t hold up the bus but returned immediately because they didn’t carry anything stronger than coffee.

On the way to the hotel we passed a golf course, which is split, half on one side and half on the other. Players use golf carts underneath the highway to cross over. Terra Nova Park was on our agenda, but it was not mentioned and we did not stop.

Our room had a balcony we would not have the opportunity to use. The dining room in the restaurant had extra low lighting. When we paid for our meals, the cashier had no change for the couple before us and then not for us either. Each time she wandered off and was gone an unusual length of time.

By ten, I was a goner. I plugged in electronics to recharge overnight and slept like the dead until the alarm went off.

* * *

On The Light Side:

An 85-year-old man, in a red Ferrari, was stopped by a policeman who had ten minutes left in his shift. “Give me a good reason why you were speeding.”

“About 20 years ago, my wife ran off with a cop. I thought you were him.”

The cop let him go.

Next on June 3rd – Trinity and Port Union

© 2015 Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles. All Rights Reserved.

For more related posts, click on Newfoundland / Labrador tab at the top of the page

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Author: Let's CUT the Crap!

I'm getting a little LONG in the tooth and have things to say about---ouch---AGEing. I believe it's certainly a state of mind but sometimes it's nice to hear that you're NORMAL. I enjoy reading by the truckload. I'm a grandma but I don't feel OLD although I'm not so young anymore. My plan is to stick it out as long as I can on this lovely planet and only will leave it kicking and screaming!

69 thoughts on “Gander

  1. What a great mural. And love that collage, a fun way to show who’s come through. The joke made me laugh. Funny. 😉 ❤

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  2. Glad you liked the joke. Newfoundlanders have lots and they’re always great–especially if I understand them. This one I understood double. 😀 😀
    The collage threw me because it’s so down-to-earth. Thanks for the visit, Paulette. ❤

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  3. Enjoyed it and now must look up the crash and yellow ribbon. (need to know what happened) Loved the joke.

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  4. Enjoyed this so much.

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  5. What a grand place Gander is. 🙂 What wonderful people.

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  6. It sounds as if you had fun. Maybe I must put Gander on my bucket list.

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  7. What a time it must have been in 2001 for the people of Gander and their unexpected guests! Human kindness obviously readily available in Gander!

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    • Warms the heart, doesn’t it. People cleaned out their linen closets giving out towels and one particular story goes along the lines of, “How will you know which towels are yours?”
      “What does it matter?”
      Wow! ❤ ❤

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  8. Sorry about all that, Tess. I guess the sound sleep was the high point. Actually that’s sounding good, since I woke up at 1 AM and haven’t been able to go back to sleep. Finally resorted to blogging to keep thoughts of the office away.
    But you slayed me with the bit about the thong — complete with link to tutorial. Happy trails my friend. Mega hugs.

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    • Hi, Teagan. Sorry about your lost sleep. I’m lucky, I sleep like a baby.
      The bit about the thong was too good not to share. Slim pickings and empty shelves make for interesting choices. Ha ha ha. ❤
      Thanks so much for the visit, Teagan. Hope you eventually got some zzzzzs. 🐻

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  9. Another great travelog, the mural is amazing. So much history of bad times but as always it shows how when needed people pull together .

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  10. Sounds like an interesting sort of place. Love the facts. A shame about the rain!

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  11. What a great town, except perhaps for the waitresses! Did you find out why you didn’t go to Terra Nova? If they skipped part of the published itinerary they should have given you a refund!

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    • No, I didn’t find out why we didn’t go to Terra Nova. That sometimes happens on tours, I’ve heard. Even when we went to China and the guides went by the book, a stop or two might slip but not often. Everyone has to vote there to change something on the itinerary. Francis was a laid back fellow and it was raining again just like the first day we went out and couldn’t really enjoy the Captain James Cook Historic Site. o_O

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  12. I never knew any of that regarding 9/11. Fascinating.

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    • Hi K.L. Nice to see you. I didn’t know any of this either. I suppose the bigger picture was happening in New York. I try to imagine what it must have been like to be stuck on a grounded plane for 13 hours with no explanation why–a scary, unnerving situation by itself. ❤
      Thanks so much for reading. 🙂

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  13. Enjoyed reading this. That mural is fabulous.

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  14. I love reading about our days, Tess. “87-year-old woman needed underwear, clerk suggested thongs” Clicked on the link… read “Understanding thongs”Hilarious. Husband saw daughter’s thongs on washing line, last time she came to stay. ‘Why are you washing all that string?’ he said

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  15. Gander, Nfld was the first stop in Canada for hubby when he first came over as a young British soldier in 1973. He was on his way to Alberta for a 9-month tour of duty but this was his first introduction to Canada. Little did he know he would live in Canada for 40 years!

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  16. Good trip. So much I didn’t know. I too would have been exhausted, but would have given up by 9!

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    • Hi Jacqui. Yes, it was a good trip. So pleased you’re along for the tour. Lots of interesting facts and tidbits. 😀
      People dozed on the bus. I try not to because don’t want to be caught drooling. 😀 😀 Early to bed anytime is a win-win for me.

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  17. The info about 9/11 is fascinating. Didn’t know any of that – but I suppose why would we? Love the idea of the 87-year-old being provided with a thong!

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    • The landings were a huge eye-opener to me as well. I suppose news from New York was center stage for a long time and this was a quiet endeavor.
      I laughed myself silly when the tour guide told us the story about the ‘hip’ 87-year-old. Had to share. 😀

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  18. What a fascinating history of that day in Gander and wonderful people! That day was intense. I remember every detail and it set my life off in a new direction. My reaction was so personal that I forget that it was impacting people all over the world ways. A beautiful mural, Tess. Thanks for sharing.

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    • Yes, it was a fascinating story to hear about that day in Gander. I had had no idea. I suppose with the catastrophe in New York, all eyes were following that story. Anyway, imagine being uninformed why all those planes landed and you’re stuck on a plane for 13 hours. Thanks so much for reading and commenting. Glad to share. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  19. Thanks for taking us on this journey. Now we know where Julia Roberts hangs out all the time. That wall mural is amazing. 🙂

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  20. Interesting post – thanks! 🙂

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  21. Who wouldn’t want to visit a town with such a cute name where one can find children out and about walking ponies?

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  22. Very educational – have learnt a lot 🙂 thank you!

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  23. Oh, no, Lucy. This was my trip last September. I can’t blog when I’m away. Not enough time and too tired. ❤

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  24. It sounds like a pretty special place, Tess. Thanks for sharing!

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  25. I forgot about Gander; there was a documentary about it on the Beeb a while back. Definitely lump in the throat stuff, that. love the idea of sending a party on ahead only to find they only had coffee as a pick me up.

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    • heartwarming story about that small community of people giving all to people they didn’t know. Gives one hope, doesn’t it?
      Ha ha ha. Sending a party on ahead does save time. 😀 😀 😀
      Thanks for your visit, Geoff. Much appreciated.

      Liked by 1 person

  26. Great story Tess. And I remember quite well the story about 911 and Gander airport. Well done! 🙂 ❤

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  27. This is some story, Tess. Such kindness and generosity in such time of sorrow. Don’t you wish that people could awaken every day and remember how awful 9/11 was and then resolve to be their very best person each day as so many were on that awful day? I wonder if Gander did more than their usual or if this is just how they are? I’m going to choose to believe they are always this thoughtful.

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  28. Great post.

    I couldn’t quite make out the names of the stars beneath the collage, but Bob Hope was surely one of them, and I think I recognized Sinatra among the photos as well. If I’m not mistaken, Gander was a stopover for service personnel and USO entertainers during WW II – there may have been a military base there, but I was only a boy at the time, so my memory is a bit hazy!

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    • Sorry about not getting a closer pic of the names. I thought the faces in the collage would speak for themselves.
      BTW, the military base is still there, next to the airport’s but a separate entity.
      Thanks so much for your comment and contributing to this conversation. 🙂

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  29. Wow, what a fabulous mural! And thanks for the laugh 😀 😀

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  30. I’d take a gander and say you really enjoyed Gander. I enjoyed reading about a place I knew nothing about. Thank you! (And thanks for the tee hee joke too.) 🙂

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  31. Hi Tess! Oh it’s been way too long, I know. But I wanted to pop in and say hello and that I’m still here, just. Blogging is taking a back burner while I work on my memoir and also finish this workshop in London. I’m so tired with the travelling, although I enoyed the escape of it all. Great to see you still on your travels! I loved all your fascinating facts about Gander…I had no idea! And a little snippet…shhhh…don’t tell anyone, but the year Queen Elizabeth opened it is the year I was born 😉 Loved the mural too. This was a real pleasure to read all about a place I honestly didn’t know about. Some sad history mixed with the amusing…you give us great stories Tess, great to read you again. Have a wonderful weekend 🙂 ❤ 🙂

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    • Great to see you, Sherri. I know what you mean. Between life taking center stage and wanting to do it all (editing), I’m not getting much done done.
      I know how hard it is juggling too many things, but this too shall pass. Wish you energy to finish you memoir.
      Thanks for popping in. Always wonderful to talk with you. Hope you are well, as well as all your family. ❤ ❤ ❤

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      • Thanks so much Tess…things are going, ha! Always a pleasure to chat with you, just wish it could be more often. How does one do life, write and blog all at the same time? I think I might have to take a blogging hiatus this summer to finsh my memoir…let’s see. I hope all is well with you and yours also…it’s good to check in and make sure of that! See you soon my friend 🙂 ❤ ❤ ❤

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  32. This had me smiling and laughing and just all round enjoying myself, thank you for letting us be your travel companions. 🙂
    Hope your have wonder-filled weekend. 🙂

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  33. Love the photos, Tess!
    I tried to comment on your Blogbattle story but the comments box was gone. Well written, and a scary twist at the end!

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  34. Thank you for reading, Rawls. Great to see you here.
    Sometimes the ‘comments’ are only found at the top of the page, upper left hands.
    😀

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