Dad in The Big Land

These days, few of us experience the old-fashioned pleasure of receiving a letter by standard mail. So imagine my joy to find, tucked inside a Christmas card from my aunt in the U.S., a handwritten note, along with a handful of photos sent to her from my father.


She writes:

“Dear Jennifer – A note to enclose with these snapshots sent to me many years ago. They are precious to me, but belong in your heart and your home. It was a great adventure that Ralph shared with me over the phone lines. – Lovingly, Irene.”

Discussing this with my aunt recently, she was unable to nail down the year they were taken, but she believes Dad made the trip to Labrador in the mid to late fifties. That would make him, at the youngest, twenty-one, and still single.

An added bonus: his familiar handwriting scrawled on the back of each snapshot. 

I have captioned each one with his words.

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On Gander Runway

A closer look:
I love his outfit. Lots of layers, warm boots, yet he is wearing a jacket, shirt and tie, and his hair is perfect.

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Our plane at Gander before takeoff 4:30 pm

This begs more questions: why did he fly out of Gander and not St. John’s? Who was he with and who took the pictures? Why did he make this trip to Labrador? Unfortunately, we are fuzzy on all the details.

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Crossing the bays to Hopedale
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Deserted shack and our dog-sled at Big Bay between Hopedale and Davis Inlet.
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At Makkovik with “husky” pups.

 No surprise to me at all that Dad would love the little animals!



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  If only he and I could sit down and have a chat together about his adventure in “The Big Land.” In any case, I cannot put into words how good it feels to see my father’s young face again. 

Have you ever gotten mail that made your day?

Is there someone you love and miss with all your heart?

Further Reading: Labrador, the distinct, northerly region of the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador

30 thoughts on “Dad in The Big Land

  1. What a fabulous gift to arrive in the mail Yes wouldn’t it be great to be able to sit down and hcat with those no longer with us.
    I agree that hard copy mail is not very often found. I have a special uncle and when he was diagnosed with cancer 5 years ago I began writing letters and cards every week. It’s given us a very special bond and i feel that in some way, although I am geographically distant, I can send a little positive energy each week.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am forever thankful, Kath, for the touchstones in my life that keep both my parents’ memories alive. Sometimes our remembrances grow cloudy with the passing years, and these keepsakes help keep the memories bright.

      I love that you can see a resemblance. ❤

      Jennifer xo


  2. Jennifer, this is beyond precious. Your aunt is as lovely and kind as your dad was handsome. I understand how special handwritten letters are to the loved ones left behind. My favorite one is a letter my dad wrote to me when I was away at camp. I had been horribly homesick and his effort meant a lot to me. And still does. Wonderfully poignant post, dear friend. ❤ My favorite picture is the one of your dad holding the pups. It has kindness written all over it.

    Blessings & warm hugs ~ Wendy ❀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That was so special of your dad to comfort you with his letter. No wonder you hold it up as an example of his love. I will be forever grateful for having the sweet father I was born to, and that my Aunt Irene was moved to send me these snaps. 🙂

      Jennifer ❤


  3. You have a debonair dad and carry some of his features… The epistolary memorabilia you mention here took me back in time by few decades before the advent of the Internet. I still have, stored away in one of the boxes sequenced for safe dwell on the attic, letters my father wrote to me while I was in university, after I took my first job, and those he wrote to me in the last few years of his life. I look at it during erratic intervals and find new meanings in addition to reliving past events. Hand written letters are indeed an irreplaceable treasure…best wishes… Raj.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Raj, thank you for sharing that. Indeed, you are very fortunate to have those letters from your father. I envy you! Funny about it how when we are young we don’t attach the same value to such things. Now that I’m older I wish I had listened better, and had talked with my father more about his life as a very young man, and as a child. That goes for my dear mom too. It is one of my regrets.

      Jennifer xo


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