Tis a Wonderful Time to Be Alive is Winston Oldford’s personal account of growing up in Burnside, Bonavista Bay, in the 1940s and 1950s. The tiny community underwent a baptism by fire—literally—in the early twentieth century. Following a devastating forest fire in the area in 1912, the settlements of Squid Tickle and Holletts Cove became known, collectively, as Burnside. Today, with a population close to 200, it is one of seven communities on the Eastport Peninsula. This book takes a look at the history of Burnside, as well as the day-to-day lives of those who have lived in the community over the last two centuries. Winston Oldford takes the reader on a guided tour of his hometown and the cultural foundations upon which Burnside was built.
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About the Author
Winston Oldford was born in Burnside, Newfoundland, in 1942, therefore not as a Canadian citizen. He experienced a childhood very different from that experienced by today’s youth. Although they didn’t have much, the children who grew up in Burnside in the 1940s and 1950s were happy and never bored. His midwife was Mary Brown, wife of Billy Brown, who lived in a two-storey house adjacent to the old cemetery. Winston attended school mostly in Burnside, plus two years in Windsor. He left Burnside in 1961 to attend a vocational training institute at Buckmaster’s Field in St. John’s. At the Vocational Training Institute he attended a nine-month course in electrical plus a four-year apprenticeship program, eventually becoming a journeyman electrician. He has worked all over the province for fifty years, the latter twenty-five years employed by the provincial government as technical services inspector. He married Mabel Lynette Turner of Happy Adventure, Newfoundland, at St. Alban’s Church in Burnside in 1966. They have two children, Lynette and Robert, and four grandchildren.