‘We kept our house’

Reprinted from The Packet, August 6, 2009
By Paula Bugden

Some strayed, but not too far from Southport

There is a lifetime of memories in the small community of Southport, and Melvie Balsom can vouch for that. While she lives in Clarenville now, she’s never forgotten her childhood stomping ground.

“We moved away 30 years ago, but we kept our house – a white, two-story house – and every summer we come back,” Melvie says. “It’s our roots, our home.”

Past memories

As Melvie sits on a picnic table with longtime friend, Mildred Smith, overlooking the community’s harbour, they being to share childhood memories.

They recall how they used to spend their summers hunting for berries, picking bluebell flowers, playing cards and games of hopscotch; it’s safe to say their surroundings always kept them busy.

“We had a name for the beach: Bill’s Beach,” Melvie notes. “We used to go there for picnics when we were growing up. And the 12 of July – that was a special day.”

That was Southport Day.

“When we were kids that was a big activity, then. Everyone would get together and take a picnic up the beach, and light a fire, and roast wieners and marshmallows.”

Melvie’s brother, Raymond Avery, who now lives in Calgary, comes along and decides [to] join in on the stroll down memory lane. He says fishing was one of his summer pastimes. His sister, Melvie, However, recalls a time when he wasn’t so innocent.

“They used to take barrels from the stage and make big bonfires,” she laughs. As for the winter months,, the road wasn’t the only way of getting from one place to the next.

“This whole harbour would be frozen over, and when I’d go to walk over to Melvie’s, you wouldn’t come around the road here,” Raymond says. “You’d come across the harbour and climb up over the wharf.”

More than a reunion

There’s no doubt the Southport reunion brought back a flood of memories for those who came back for the special event, and for those who never left

Mildred Smith, who’s lived in Southport her whole life, says she’s glad to have her family and friends back for the reunion. “It’s good. It’s wonderful. I’m going to miss them all when they go back.”

While the reunion may be bittersweet for some, it’s done more than bring family and friends back together again. It’s given a huge dose of happiness to this small outport.

Mildred’s daughter in-law, Michell, says, “The community feels like it’s alive again. Before, when you came home, you’d see a scattered person, but this summer everybody’s around. It’s a nice feeling.”


Transcribed by Wanda Garrett, September 2019

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