Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Pokiok's Little Angels , a Few Dads and a Dog !

                                                        Sure, a little bit o' Heaven

                                                       Fell from out of the sky one day

                                                      And nestled on the ocean

                                                      In a spot so far away

                                                     And the angels found it,

                                                     Sure it looked so sweet and fair

                                                     They said suppose we leave it,

                                                     For it looks so peaceful there!

In this wee ditty we Irish proudly boast of the bucolic and mystic origins of the Old Sod. Well another hunk of heaven broke loose likewise and fluttered down to earth .... landing along the Lower Saint John River between Spar Cove Creek  ... also known as "The Crick" ! ..... and Boar's Head on Grand Bay. We locals call it Pokiok !  as did the Maliseet long before us ..... in fact , they named it for us !  ......... and we too have angels to back up our claim to heavenly status ........ and six of them even posed for the above photo snapped in Katherine and Frank Doyle's backyard  ..... maybe on some July or August day between 1953 and 1954 ????? Seated on the rock (left to right) Dawn Campbell and her cousin Andrea Campbell , daughter of Clarence and Dorothy Campbell. Seated on the grass ..... Ginny Campbell ( If only Ethel could see you sitting on that grass with a clean white dress on !! ) , Sylvia Johnston with doll Terry , the two wee "squinting" sisters , Connie Doyle with doll Gerry and Charlotte Doyle , or as my Mom called her " Honey Bub" On the extreme left side of the picture we can see our house and the window where my Mom would sit and watch both TV and " down the road to the brow of the hill ".
That backyard with the big rock and Frank's back stairs and stoop bring back old memories. When I first started coming home on short visits from Quebec in the early 1970s I would often hear Frank in the evenings down behind his place strumming on his guitar and "crooning" out some of my old country favourites. What a truly magnificent voice that man had !! So I began bringing my own guitar along now and then in the trunk of my car and every once in a while I would join in with Frank in "bleating" out a few Hank Snow oldies such as " I'm Movin' On " or " I've Got A Tangled Mind"   ....... and all the while "suckin" a beer or two. Reminiscences like these are priceless to me and not once do I drive by the Doyle homestead  nowadays without hearing a melodious voice drifting up from the backyard , " I Didn't Know God Made Honkeytonk Angels" ... and it makes me feel good !!

As we all remember from our religious teachings many of God's angels were male ... Gabriel , Raphael and Michael ... so here in Pokiok we see three of them with my Dad in our backyard .... and by the looks of Dad's garden it is probably close to the end of July. On the left is Freddy ( I think) Cecile and Paul Johnston's son .. his older brother was unfortunately absent , then my oldest boy , Denis ... and beside him his kid brother , Kevin. Frank and I .... sporting healthy mops of hair and trim midriffs while "suckin" on a beer that very same day with Frank's dog in foreground whose name I cannot remember. The year was 1974 I do believe.

And speaking of angels !!! When I left the seminary in late Summer 1962 and came home to Saint John I met my old childhood friend , Tommy MacDonald, who quickly brought me up to snuff about his personal life ..... his happy marriage to Barb Logan which I already knew about thanks to my Mom's bi-monthly letters and that he had recently become father to a baby boy named Shawn. Tommy was so proud that he brought Shawn down to show him to myself and my parents the following day ..... and he gave me this picture of himself and Shawn which I have always cherished ..... keeping it among my own personal family memorabilia.  


  1. Sylvia Johnston SpencerNovember 10, 2010 at 9:50 PM

    Hi Gerry,
    How did you know my dolls were called Terry and Gerry?? Terry was after a girl I met in Grade 1 at St. Peter's Girls School, whom I thought had the most beautiful name and Gerry was after you because I heard you were wonderful, too.
    Katherine and Frank's dog was called Wiggie. They LOVED all their dogs, but Wiggie was extra special.
    I, too, loved to hear Frank sing. I am almost positive that his daughters have a tape he made.
    Did you know that the Doyle home was bought by their son-in-law, Russell Flynn? It is so nice for it to still be in the family in a round about way.
    What a gift you are laying before us!! I cannot imagine the feedback you would get if more people from Pokiok knew about this blog.
    Sincerely, Sylvia

  2. Sylvia Johnston SpencerNovember 10, 2010 at 9:54 PM

    I think the picture of the Pokiok Angels was taken around 1955 or 1956 by the ages of Connie and Honeybub, they were born in 1950 and 1952.
    You were certainly close!!!!!