Transcript of interview with Shirley (Atkinson) Greer, conducted by Alex Riley.
Alex Riley: This is the interview with Mrs. Greer on July 16, 2014. Ok, Shirley, when did you arrive in the Pasadena area?
Shirley Greer: Well I was actually born here.
Alex: Ok, what year was that?
Alex: Remember you can skip any question.
Shirley: That was 1946.
Alex: That was a fairly long time ago, so you must have some early memories of the towns?
Shirley: Yeah, I was missing; I missed a large part of the early development of the town. I was away in the late sixties and seventies. So a lot, that was when the town really started to expand.
Alex: But do you remember anything from your childhood?
Shirley: It really wasn’t that long ago.
Alex: No of course.
Shirley: It was very, very small community by folks who lived down there, so we were quite a distance from any neighbours.
Shirley: Down the field, on the farm. I grew up on this farm. But I remember the school, the two room school as it was, when I started there. We had no electricity, and there was an outhouse, and a pot belly stove, and we’d take turns bringing kindling to start a fire. And we’d have our own tin mugs and have coco-malt in the middle of the morning to warm us up. Frost on the windows, like every story every Newfoundlander has.
Alex: At least you weren’t near the water.
Shirley: Those are the main things, and the freedom, as kids, we’d just be outside all time. We played and weren’t monitored every five minutes.
Alex: Yeah and there wasn’t much around, just all wildlife around.
Shirley: Pretty much. That’s what I miss the most, the freedom, the nature, the beach.
Alex: You remember anything specific about the beach? Anything vastly different?
Shirley: No, no, a little bit later, South Brook Park was sold by Bowaters, and they had changed that whole summer. Dance Pavilion, life guards. So that was pretty much where everyone hung out.
Alex: Instead of the now current Pasadena beach?
Shirley: Yes. And it was more structured. They had picnic tables and wildlife zoos.
Shirley: Yeah, local wildlife. Moose, foxes and bears.
Alex: Oh real standard?
Alex: Since you been here so isolated, what part of the town do you identify with? Like South Brook, Midland or Pasadena?
Shirley: Oh, Pasadena, definitely.
Alex: Ok, were you present at any Pasadena related events? Like an unveiling of a building? Any one you’d consider significant?
Shirley: No, I don’t recall.
Alex: Yeah, there was something being built.
Shirley: Yeah, and I wasn’t an active participant.
Alex: This is going to be a very vague question, but for you what brings the most nostalgia to the Pasadena area?
Shirley: It might be easier to answer that if I didn’t live here now.
Alex: True, True.
Shirley: But I have sisters that don’t live here, and when they come home, they miss the old lifestyle. Stuff you wouldn’t want to relive but in memories it’s nice.
Alex: Like, being off the grid? Your next neighbour is five kilometers away?
Shirley: Well that really hasn’t changed that much.
Alex: That’s true, I like it out here, out in the woods.
Shirley: And I really welcome the changes that taken place in Pasadena. The sidewalks and the walking trails and the street lightings. There’s nothing, I don’t see anything that has happened which is a negative at all.
Shirley: The community has grown slowly enough, that things haven’t gone.
Alex: That we haven’t lost our identity?
Shirley: Yeah, that’s a good way to put it.
Alex: What is the town related thing you miss the most? Even growing we lost some things, is there anything we should have kept?
Shirley: No, nothing comes to mind.
Shirley: No, I don’t wish to go back. I don’t want the Trans-Canada on Church Street or on Main street.
Alex: Yeah keep it out of town.
Shirley: Yeah, progress is good.
Alex: What would you consider a major event in the town, and why would you believe that? Nothing strikes you?
Shirley: Except the beginning, when the settlers came. It began from nothing.
Alex: Yeah the twenty-five families clearing the land.
Shirley: Yeah he came here because he had a farm in St. Johns, and he moved here to move to farm because the climate was better, and the ground was better.
Alex: And it’s cool that most of the original settlers were fishermen. That even back in the thirties they changed their professions because the fish economy was down the tubes. They came here and realized there were no waves here.
Shirley: No tsunami. Other than that, I don’t think there were any major things that altered the course of history or altered the basic tenants of the community. No, I don’t think.
Alex: That’s also good too.
Shirley: Back in ninety-eighty-two, we had the Canada games and that didn’t revolutionize the community.
Alex: I agree with you, most of the events that happened here seemed to gloss over it. If anything it laid down the fundamentals more clearly. Everything major event that happened here came from the roots of Pasadena. Nothing out of left-field came and changed it up.
Shirley: Yeah, it’s not like suddenly we had an oil industry.
Alex: Yeah, every new business, every new industry, it became ingrained with us.
Shirley: Yeah I guess the high school would have been a big thing, because prior to that everyone was bused to Corner Brook or Deer Lake.
Alex: So, these second sets of questions are specific and I only have to pick one or two. Do you think anything cultural or traditions that are Pasadena specific and not seen anywhere else?
Shirley: I don’t think we have our own thing; Great Harbor Deep had a dance, “The Goat” so that’s a Great Harbor Deep thing.
Alex: What about personality types? Do you think we are the rudimentary “small town”?
Shirley: The fact we don’t have an industry here and that a lot of our residents are relatively recent, settlers from Corner Brook, that are either retired or came because the taxes are lower or whatever reason. I don’t think we have that identity because everyone gets up in the morning and goes away, and comes back at night. I think it’s a “bedroom community” sort of a suburb in that way.
Alex: I really like that term, “bedroom community”, really a lot. Thank you for your time, this was a great interview. If you would like get a transcription of this interview I would be happy to give it to you.
Shirley: No that’s ok, but you were going to ask me about the bridge, what would you like to know?
Alex: We are looking to make it a landmark site, we are still clueless on what we need, but I do know we need at least ten on-hand reports, I think I’m in touch with the original builders.
Shirley: Original builders?
Alex: Sorry, not the builders, the people who worked under the builders.
Shirley: ‘Cause my father was engineer on the highway when they were building it. I thought I had photographs, but my mother’s house has been dismantled, and things have gone off in all directions. I do have pictures.
Alex: You have photos?
Shirley: Yes and no. These came from my father’s; this is a bridge over Leech Brook.
Alex: It looks identical.
Shirley: It’s identical design and built the same year. This is construction and this is completed. You will see it was built in 1936.
Alex: That is fantastic.
Shirley: I really thought I had, and I might have a loose photograph, because he does continue on. The album continues on to Pasadena. So if they worked their way across, then Leech Brook was before they got to the Humber Valley.
Alex: Did he own this camera himself?
Shirley: Oh yes, he documented everything. You see, this is Pasadena beach, and this is Mr. Earle, who settled Pasadena and this is his cornfield.
Alex: I’ve been reading his journal for the past two weeks and I haven’t seen a photo of him.
Shirley: That’s one hanging in town hall.
Alex: Yeah I made it digital if anyone wants a copy.
Shirley: So that’s all Pasadena beach.
Alex: Even across the river hasn’t changed.
Shirley: No, of course not. *laughter*
Alex: Yeah not at all.
Shirley: The Humber Valley resort never got that far. This is all very close to here, the Pynn’s Brook area, and this might be Pasadena. It must be here because this is all Pasadena stuff, under construction. And then he goes back to Bay of Roberts, which is where he was from.
Alex: That’s a picture of a train; I think it’s the number 2!
Shirley: He would coach the hockey team in the winter.
Alex: These are some great photos.
Shirley: The hockey team would be the Rovers, and this is Germany coming home with the world cup. If I find anything but as I said, I don’t know because this one has a double arch. We will have to check the town maps.
Alex: This is great, I’m going to write this down. So did the youth play on the bridge a lot or just part of the road?
Shirley: Yeah just part of the road, it was the main road; it was just down past the Catholic school. The Catholic school was where, I don’t know what it’s used for now, probably storage by Shears, but you know that clearing there? That was the Catholic school. And the Anglican school was where the substation is. And the United school was down in South Brook and is now a house. You know all those things anyway.
Alex: Yeah, so, you went to the Catholic School?
Shirley: No, I went to the Anglican school, although I was United.
Alex: Yeah you didn’t walk that far.
Shirley: Yeah, it was a small community so a lot of my friends went to the Catholic school and they came out on Midland Row as we called it, and I’d go down Third street and we’d meet up and go on.
Alex: Well that’s nice.
Shirley: There were only about two-hundred and fifty people living here.
Alex: So there were about eight students in each school?
Shirley: Well a bit more than that. Yeah, big families back in those days.
Alex: True, some eight plus.
Shirley: Some had twelve.
Alex: Did you have a big family?
Shirley: No just four.
Alex: That’s a big family today.
Shirley: Not back then, eight, ten, twelve was fairly common.
Alex: I can’t imagine having that, I only have one sister and that’s more than enough. I can’t imagine having
Alex: No, especially my mom, she wouldn’t be able to take that.
Shirley: With a small house. No running water or electricity.
Alex: And only two bedrooms.
Shirley: Yeah, different times. We were fortunate, a small family and a big house. Running water, a flush toilet and a bathtub.
Alex: That sounds nice. The original settler’s houses were pretty nice, despite being rudimentary, they were pretty big. They were built the same and they painted them the same so people would go into each other houses. They didn’t know the numbers.
Shirley: I remember my parents telling me they weren’t insulated.
Alex: Yeah they built them all twenty-five in a month. But when the families arrived in the summer they didn’t need to insulate it, but in the winter they froze.
Shirley: Yeah, and really damp, but they got through it.
Alex: Yeah, I wouldn’t want to do it personally.
Shirley: But at the time, your grandchildren will say “I wouldn’t like to live like granddad”.
Alex: Yeah they only had two options. To stay at home or come here. They all believe they made the right decision.
 In reference to the 2014 Fifa World Cup