Hi everyone!! Just wanted to get the word out the Them Days office will be closed Friday July the 1st for Canada Day. Have a great long weekend!!
Monthly Archives: June 2011
Things are running smoothly here at Them Days. Over the past week we’ve had a few visitors drop by to see the office and the archives, and to get some questions answered. We’ve had two gentleman come in looking for some photos and yesterday we had a genealogist stop by to take a look at some of our genealogy files. Melanie and I also went to the Northern Ranger yesterday to restock our display case, which has been doing very well.
Sarah is hard at work getting acquainted with the archives herself and I’m busy setting up some interviews and working on the Them Days calendar for next year. Melanie too is hard at work, especially since today was payday!
Aimee is off enjoying her maternity leave, but still no baby. We are all eagerly waiting for the phone call telling us she’s gone into labour, which should be very soon hopefully!
Morgan is back safe and sound in BC and we expect to meet the new Katimavik project leader for Goose Bay in the next few days.
And we’re still looking for a summer student to work at Them Days from July 4 to August 27 (that’s just next Monday)! So send in your application if you’re interested.
The book opens with Goudie’s birth and his early years but focuses almost wholly on his time trapping and living in the wilderness. He first started trapping with his father when he was 10, in 1932 and he traps to this day, at the age of 89. Goudie moved all over Labrador when he was a child, from Hopedale toGooseBayand settled in Mud Lake with his family. Goudie’s education was sporadic but he did achieve a Grade 3 reading and Grade 4 arithmetic level. Goudie talks about the joy of going into the woods with his father to check his trap lines. He details the weeks it takes to journey to the trap lines and how to set the various traps for the mink, otter, beaver, lynx, porcupine, fox and rabbit they catch. He talks about the way to make trapper’s bread, the staple food for trappers when they’re out in the wilderness. Goudie explains the peacefulness and tranquility he feels at being self-sufficient and in nature. He traps while the American Base is being constructed and takes jobs there during the summer, all the while biding his time until it’s trapping season again. Machines Goudie has never seen or heard of, arrive on boat to help with clearing the land and building the Base. Goudie discusses the changing face of trapping: people have more money and don’t spend so much time on their trap lines, Ski-Doos make journeying to the trap lines quick and easy, especially compared to the weeks-long journey hauling heavy toboggans that used to be the only way to get there. The increase of urbanization causes the price of furs to drop and makes trapping hardly worthwhile. Goudie stops trapping for a few years and holds a permanent job, something he never had to do before. But he is always watching the price of furs, waiting for them to go high enough to warrant quitting his job and going trapping again. He has various jobs throughout his life and all of them show him trying to stay a trapper and keep trapping relevant. He only ever has what he needs, he doesn’t live excessively, but enjoys and appreciates what he has. Goudie’s book captures the shift in just a few decades. Even though this is a huge change in lifestyle and what is normal, Goudie just writes it down as he remember s it. He doesn’t dramatize it or make it tragic, he just tells it how it was.
Goudie describes trapping as a way of life, not just as a means to survive. Even when Goudie isn’t on his trap lines, checking his traps or skinning a newly-caught animal, he is still a trapper. He sleeps like a trapper, even when he’s not in a tent in the woods: “I can have a very comfortable sleep and be very rested the next morning, but I can still hear a pin falling outside.” Goudie’s style of writing is matter of fact and doesn’t dramatize his lifestyle. Goudie is solely responsible for his survival when trapping: he must make his own shelter and hunt for his food but he writes about it as if it was the most normal, most commonplace way to live his life, and for him it was. Trapping was a way of life and the inherent dangers and risks weren’t focused on because there was no need: it had to be done. This sentiment also came up in a recent interview with Mrs. Sheila Paddon (an excerpt of which is in this month’s magazine!). As a nurse, Mrs. Paddon used whatever she could to treat her patients and their life was often in her hands. But she doesn’t talk about it as if it was anything extraordinary, it was just what she had to do. There was no sensationalism with that generation, only humility.
Goudie makes his book relevant today. The book is interesting, especially for Labradorians like myself who grew up in a time when living off the land was not the norm, but Goudie makes it relevant still. He talks about the government’s wildlife management laws and agrees that, while the government has their place, trappers in his time did a good job of managing the animal populations without the law getting involved. Trappers only hunted the meat they needed for their family and trapped for furs only so that they could have money for things they couldn’t trap or make themselves. Goudie, as is obvious, got along just fine with his elementary-level education but agrees that mandatory schooling is a good idea, especially since living off the land for the rest of one’s life is no longer a viable option.
The (first edition of the) book is formatted very simply. This lets Goudie’s story come through, but there are several typos that could have been avoided, I suspect, if there had been a more rigorous editing process. There are several photos in the book which is nice and gives the reader a bit more to work with, as Goudie’s writing is descriptive but nowhere near floral.
3-year-old River loves to check through Them Days when she’s not painting pizza boxes, or playing with her little brother, Rowan!
Them Days is looking for an editorial/archival assistant! This is a post-secondary summer student position.
Hi there! I figured its high time I introduce myself to the fair readers of this blog!
My name is Sarah Michaud, and I will be replacing Aimee for her maternity leave. I am originally from Fredericton/Kingsley, New Brunswick (born and raised) and moved to Goose Bay at the end of March. So far I am LOVING Labrador and am very excited to see what is going to happen next during my time here.
I haven’t experienced that much culture shock, but every now and then someone will utter a phrase that makes no sense to me! Like a “mug up”, or the way people use the word “to’ (Tell me where you’re at, I’ll come where you’re to!). Or, my personal favourite, “they got me drove, by!” Luckily, I’m surrounded by the most friendly people I’ve ever met, and they are more than willing to explain a colloquialism here and there.
I’m trying to break myself of the habit of French-i-fying every word I see, as well! I see the word “touton”, for example, and I pronounce it “too-tohn”. Only to be corrected by my laughing Labradorian friends, “Tow-tin”. I guess that’s what you get for growing up in the only bilingual province in Canada! 🙂
I love (loves) to travel, and am looking forward to exploring this beautiful province further!! I’ve fallen in love with the Winter here, and look forward to falling in love with the Summer (which starts today, by the way).
I’ll be posting pictures of my adventures in the wild outdoors, as well as around the office. I hope to read every single Them Days issue before I finish up here, too!
Don’t forget to send in images of your children/grandchildren reading Them Days! I’d love to post them to the blog.
Here’s hoping that the postal strike comes to an end soon, so all of you lovely readers who have yet to receive your subscriptions will be able to read all of the amazing stories Aimee and Co put together for you.
Hello there! I just thought I’d post since it’s been a few days since Morgan last posted (on her last day!). Aimee is gone too, off on maternity leave. Although I think while she’s waiting for the baby to make an appearance she’ll be popping into the office to help Sarah and I adjust to her being away, which we are both very grateful for.
I just finished reading Horace Goudie’s book Trails to Remember and am working on the book review for it, which you’ll be able to see on Sunday hopefully. Sarah and I are going to start looking for some photos to include in the 2012 calendar, so I’m really looking forward to that. I really enjoy photography and seeing all the old photos we have in the archives, some more than a century old (!), is really neat.
Jill has almost finished with us. I think her last day is tomorrow. She’s having an ultrasound right now, so I hope she brings back some pictures for us to see! After that there will be just three of us in the office, when last week there was six!
Them Days is also hoping to get some landscaping done to the property which will be great. I just hope that the sun, which has actually shown up today, can stick around a bit longer to help us out with that.
Happy Summer Solstice!