Wandering welder

Reprinted from Decks Awash, Volume 15, Number 6
November – December 1986
Photographs from MUN Digital Archives

(Click on photo to enlarge)

Clyde Spurrell, 1986

Clyde Spurrell, is taking in the air by his home at Butter Cove. He’s 38 but could pass for being 10 years younger. The effort of moving his family of four children and wife Florence back and forth to Toronto doesn’t seem to tell on him.

“I’m a welder. I had to go to the mainland for 10 months last year, building a hydro plant at Darlington, Ontario. The two younger kids were OK there, but the two older ones wanted to come back here. So we had no alternative but to come back. I’m building a home now, in the next community, Little Hearts Ease. I’d rather be here, but you’ve got to go where the work is.”

Clyde learned his trade at the vocational school in Clarenville. He’d like to get a job locally but believes he will probably have to move back to Ontario for a while.

“If I got work in St. John’s I’d probably get $12 an hour. By the time I’ve paid the board in there and got back here, I’d have nothing left. In Ontario I was getting $22.50 an hour, but it’s a job to save money when you’ve got your family up there, and I was doing two jobs a lot of the time. Come the spring, I’ll probably go up there again, but alone this time.”

Butter Cove is a collection of a dozen or so houses clumped on a steep, grassy hillside above a sheltered inlet. Most of the homes are older, two-storey houses with narrow, wooden clapboard.

“One thing about this place is that the lights never go out. If one fellow moves out of a house, another immediately moves in. When I move out of mine to Little Hearts Ease, somebody will move in. If you’re bringing up a family, this is the best place to be.”


Transcribed by Wanda Garrett, July 2019

These transcriptions may contain human errors. As always, confirm these as you would any other source material