The Maritime Trip of 1984

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In 1984, we took at three week trip to the Maritime provinces. We drove though the first day, stopping in Maine, USA. At ten years old, hitting Maine was a major accomplishment. I only remember the restaurant for dinner, but it is a memory I will always cherish. We then drove the next day to Fundy’s Bay, but did not see Magnet Hill or the famous tides. I think we saw the longest covered bridge. Then next day, we drove to Halifax. We spent a few days there, where we saw the Blue Nose II, the boat on the back of the Canadian Dime (10¢). We saw Peggy’s cove, as well. We also spent a few days in Cape Breton. Then we took a ferry to Newfoundland. I made a friend on the ship. Dad took care of Mom, who had major seasickness, while Erin played games with a sort of “camp counselor”. I played games with him, too, when I was not fooling around with my friend. I remember going outside and throwing coins into the ocean. The waves were huge. Amazing that they let kids roam around freely like that. The 1980s was a different time. We visited St. John’s, the capital, which had Signal Hill, as well as deep fried breaded code tongue (delicious). After eating the cod tongue, I remember a drunk homeless guy telling us they the storefront maniquines we’re talking poorly about him. We also went to Bell Island to visit Nanny and Granddad’s old home. While waiting for the ferry, we looked at icebergs (in July), as well as fishermen cutting out the code tongues. They had also caught a shark that day by mistake, so there was a lot of commotion at the harbour. On the ferry ride over, we looked at more icebergs. once on the island, we found the front steps, as well as the foundation of the old family home. We stopped and asked a farmer if they knew where great-grandfather Stephen Fitzgerald’s home was. He said: “Yes, follow me”. We thought he was going to point to a road or give us directions. We followed him and he pointed down: “Right here”. We also visited a beach full of huge pebbles. When Granddad was younger, he had thrown these same rocks and one bounced off the ground and hit him on the head. Then we visited Uncle Mike. He was quite old and had these Coke bottle glasses. He was married to Nanny’s sister, who was actually in Ottawa, visiting with Nanny and Granddad. He was very friendly, shaking hands with Mom and Dad. Dad later said he smelled alcohol on his breath. I hope it was Screech. After Bell Ise, we went to Gander, where Mom had grown up. We visited her sister Gale’s grave with Auntie Joan, who was also visiting from Ottawa. We stayed at a hotel, but after having visited Mom’s Aunt, we got a phone call and her aunt insisted on us staying over, so we did. We played with cousins in the backyard, while the uncles made jokes. We had to deal with a bee hive, too. All of Mom’s cousins came over. It was a summer of dreams. Memories were made for a lifetime. I’m getting goosebumps thinking about how great those times were. After Gander, we drove to Gross Morn National Park, where we saw a decapitated seal on the beach one morning. The scenery was spectacular. We also played in a waterfall, where some teens were making fun of me for not jumping into the water bravely and that bothered Dad. We made our way back to Prince Edward Island (PEI), where we ate unlimited amounts of lobster in church basements, ate lots of Eastern Canadian potatoes, visited Anne of Green Gables, and also swam in the ocean, which had a red sand beach (actually, all the earth is red on PEI). I had been playing in the water (waves) with Erin and I didn’t tell her that I was going to the shore, so she came back frightened, telling Mom and Dad that I may have drowned. Then I appeared. It was quite distressing for Erin. I’ve always felt bad about. I wonder if she remembers? Well, Erin, if you do, I’m sorry for not telling you I had left the water and for frightening you.

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