The Canadian Forces airbase is about 25 miles from our current location in Bridgetown and Berwick about 35 miles. Both are of significance to Judi, as she spent 4 years as a teenager living on base and her Grandfather came from Berwick. So today we went for a drive down memory lane.
We were in no rush, so rather than the faster Hwy 101, we took the old stage coach route through a succession of small towns, enjoying the sights of the trees at the edge of the road changing colours. The forests aren’t yet ablaze with vivid red, orange and yellows, but the initial vestiges of change at the edge of the roads are impressive. Andy can’t wait to see the entire forest ablaze with colour.
Approaching Greenwood we pulled off the main road and turned into Dwight Ross School, which 40 years ago was the base middle school. It has expanded, but otherwise not too different. Unfortunately, these days they don’t take to kindly to strange adults walking around schools, so we didn’t go in to check out classrooms, etc. Onward into Greenwood we go.
Sitting at a traffic light just before the PMQ’s, Judi exclaims, I think that was the street we lived on, which was a short semi-circular road. As we drove along she stopped at # 16, “Yes, that’s the one”. It is half a duplex, on what 40 years ago was Squadron Leader Row. Back on Central Avenue, heading towards the mall, she pointed out the Base Commander’s home. On arriving at the mall, Judi explained this was the only shops when she lived on base, and it is best described as under whelming. We are talking small strip mall, no major big box stores, no fast food outlets, etc.
As we continued through the base housing areas Judi pointed out where her brother lived while he served at Greenwood, the Rec Centre, pool, skating rink and church they attended, including where she was confirmed. It was then we noticed the planes on display by the Canex, which turned out to be the base museum. This didn’t exist when Judi lived on base, so we had to check it out. They have about 6 old aircraft on display outside, including an old WWII Lancaster. No access inside the planes, but just standing up close is impressive. The museum is free and contains lots of information and displays, documenting the base squadrons from WWII through to the present day.
Happy campers, with our progress down memory lane, we head to Berwick, taking a slight detour to check out the area we think Judi’s brother bought a house when he moved off base. We did visit for a couple of weeks in 1981 and we believe we found the area, as it looked vaguely familiar. Next we passed West Kings District High School, which is Hwy # 1. It had just opened when Judi attended and hadn’t changed in 40 years.
Our GPS didn’t have a listing for a Berwick Library, so on arrival Berwick we had to drive around looking for the library. It is a small town, so shouldn’t be too difficult. Driving down the main street we notice a café and pub, a great combination, so with hunger pangs stirring we decide to take a break for nourishment. The pub only opens in the evenings, with live music, but the café was open for lunch. Small and cozy, with great staff and a varied menu, we had a great lunch, and even although the pub was closed you could still order drinks. They had Propeller beers on tap, so Andy tried a pint of “Bitter”. Very nice.
The waitress explained the library is located with the city hall, which recently moved to an old school building and is about 1/3 mile down the main street. On arrival, the librarian set us up on computers and Judi commenced what was a very successful search on Ancestry.com. Initially she found her Grandfather, who was born in Berwick and Great-Grandfather, who was a founding member of the town. Her Grandfather married a lady from Portsmouth, New Hampshire and Judi managed to find a number of relatives on her side, dating back a couple of generations. As our time on the computers drew to a close, we had names and a lot description, but no actual address to check out. The librarian couldn’t help with an address, but suggested checking with City Hall, in any of the adjacent classrooms, now offices. They couldn’t determine an address, but did recall that Judi’s great-grandfather was a founding member of Berwick and is noted in a locally written book. They suggested checking for the book at the local Pharmasave.
On arrival at the Pharmasave, Judi found they no longer stock the book, but one of the authors works in the store and is scheduled for a shift tomorrow. So we are making progress, and will return tomorrow, when enroute to Kentville. On return to the store and meeting the co-author, Judi determined they are not printing any more copies, but she can get a copy on CD. The author will leave one at the store and we can pick it up the following day.