Vol. 6, No. 3 Scholarship Edition          April 2006

the Spencer Letter is the official publication of the
- Bishop Spencer College Alumnae Association -
PO BOX 21382,  ST. JOHN'S,  NL   A1A 5G6  CANADA
   Tel.:  709-739-0981
president: Barbara (Parsons) Clancy '63       editor: Elizabeth Scammell Reynolds '54

Dear Spencerians:
   In early February when I sat down to write this "editorial" I found myself writing about JAM! When I finished I thought it seemed pretty slight stuff (if in itself tasty), so I sent a letter to 100 Spencerians who had taken Grade XI at BSC in or before 1959 and I asked them about their lives. I sent a short questionnaire with open-ended questions; I enclosed a SASE and a pen. The answers are now coming in and it has been very gratifying and interesting and amusing to read the comments. Some respondents thanked me for my interest, some highlighted their achievements, all credited Spencer with some aspect of success in later life. I asked for tips on growing old gracefully; my favourite was from an octogenarian who said "Don't panic." I thought that with the Boomers among us turning 60 and all of us growing older, it might be a good idea to start with this.
   DON'T PANIC. I realized after reading the comment that as we age, we may indeed "panic" worrying about our health, our families, money, etc. At 30 or 40 we blissfully sail into the future confident of our ability to survive and provide. By 60, we recognize that bodies (and minds) age and a certain amount of breakdown is inevitable. In Newfoundland almost every family has a child "on the mainland" or further afield. As the world shrinks and as technology makes us all more mobile, many of us have children scattered from Australia to UAE; they are engineers in Dubai and teachers in Korea. The panic we may feel comes from "who will look after me" if my children live in distant
places. Money is obviously an issue with some of us "will I have enough to be looked after appropriately if I need a greater level of care?" As we live longer and on fixed retirement incomes, it becomes an issue that looms larger. There are many other issues, of course.
   You'll be happy to know that no one who answered my questionnaire seemed to be panicking. Rather the opposite most of us have been content with our lives and families.
   More from the survey in our next issue (if I'm still editor, that is our AGM and election of officers is on May 13.)

1.The questions from the survey appear later in this issue anyone over 60 years old who graduated from Grade XI in or before 1959 could write me your comments, if you wish.
2.THANK YOU to all who replied; I noted that I funded the project (no money came from the Spencer Letter or the BSCAA) so I really appreciated a couple of donations to help out.
3.Apologies to "J" who pointed out she was "only" 59 and a half! Oops.

Best wishes for a safe and happy summer.
Don't panic.

Elizabeth Scammell Reynolds '54

   Every year at this time, when Rennies River is swelling with the run-off of melting snow, as the days grow longer and I can turn my face to the sun and feel its warmth, my heart with pleasure fills with the certainties and promises of spring. I know that, under the two feet of snow that still covers my garden, the hostas are preparing themselves for this year's cycle of life. I am certain that the pink and blue pulmonaria will be the first to bloom once the snow disappears. The tulips that I planted last fall, the brilliant pink "Barcelonas," the lilac purple "Passionales," will soon begin poking their pointy heads through the sun-warmed soil. I am utterly amazed that "Granny's roses," certainly well over a hundred years old, that came from heaven knows where to thrive in my grandmother's garden in Harbour Grace, then to my father's rose garden and now to mine, will surely bring forth their soft green leaves and sweetly-scented delicate pale pink blossoms as they have done year after year, decade after decade. It is truly a season of wonder and all things bright and beautiful.
   I was thinking about the question on Elizabeth's questionnaire on how my education at Spencer has influenced me. I thought
about Miss Murray's lesson "Use your head to save your feet" which can be applied to so many life situations other than making cheese pinwheels. I remembered learning Wordsworth's "I Wandered Lonely As a Cloud" (hence the above reflection about spring) and part of Tennyson's "Ulysses" off by heart. Miss Thomas taught us to sing "All Through the Night" in Welsh and I am willing to wager that there were not very many other schools where they sang "Jerusalem" on a regular basis or marched into morning assembly to "Men of Harlech." So my education at Bishop Spencer College instilled in me a love of music and literature and, above all, a life-long desire to learn for the sake of learning. For that I will always be grateful.
   I would like to thank you all for the pleasure and privilege of serving as president of the BSCAA. For the next three years, the Association will be in the most capable hands of Judith (Barrett) Price '59 (if elected, as expected) and her executive. I wish them every success and trust that they will have your full support.

See you at the luncheon!
Barbara (Parsons) Clancy '63
   The winter Olympics in Turin, Italy in February were exciting to watch, as usual. We were particularly interested this year in watching the ice dance competition as Tanith Belbin and her partner Ben Agosto were representing the United States and they won the silver medal after a stunning final performance the first US medal in ice dance for about 30 years. Why are we reporting this? Tanith Belbin is the granddaughter of Frances (Cowan) '48 and Sandy McKinley of St. John's. Fran was very ill last year but has recovered well and Tanith's medal has been a real tonic. Note: Tanith trained in the US with an American partner, but she could not represent the US as a Canadian citizen; so the Congress of the United States passed a special bill admitting her to citizenship at the end of 2005.
   "I came across the class motto of the Class of 1931 recently when I was going through my father's papers. His sister, my Aunt Tess, was a boarding student at Bishop Spencer. Her maiden name was Alma Teresa Guy (aka Tess) from Catalina. The motto: Success comes not by rushing but by hard work bravely done. I think it is still an inspiring motto."    Hey Latin scholars: Can you find an original Latin saying for this? It might be a translation but it sounds rather Victorian to me. Can you translate it into Latin??? The Class of '54 all had individual mottos probably from Grade IX. Mine was: Dum Spiro, Spero (While I breathe, I hope.) The more things change, the more they are the same I now say my motto is: The cup is half full!

   The FAMA VIVIT Award was presented at the fall meeting to Jean M. Murray '33 for distinguished service to BSC and the BSCAA. In the absence of the nominator your editor was asked to give the presentation address. We have been prevailed upon to repeat it in the Spencer Letter here it is:
   Nearly 200 years ago William Epps Cormack crossed Newfoundland on foot. In the winter of 1951 the Class of '54 then in Grade 8 were instructed by our Newfoundland geography teacher to follow in his footsteps and read about his adventures some chapters aloud in class, some more quietly. We followed Cormack as he landed in Trinity Bay and set out on his journey; he forded rivers, crossed marshes, faced storms and wild creatures, and finally surfaced in Bay St. George.
   This year's recipient of the Fama Vivit Award has been no less an adventurer often to be found in what Ray Guy called "that far greater bay" Placentia Bay; she spent many years picking her way around the shoals and reefs of the Newfoundland educational system while facing wild Spencerians trying to cook pancakes or sew the first apron.
   Only the most intrepid of adventurers would have taken (and taken responsibility for) 60 or 70 of those same Spencer girls
(now dressed in Girl Guide camp uniforms) off to Mackinsons for two weeks each summer; but, armed with tents wheedled out of the CLB command, dixies too heavy to be lifted by any but the most hearty, and her trusted bottle of CAMP COFFEE, she did.
   Only the most fearless explorer would have taken the wheel of Beetle to navigate the streets of St. John's and beyond, but she did.
   Only the most intelligent and dedicated scholar (having exhausted Cormack, no doubt, with the Class of '54) would have turned her attention to a more neglected figure in Newfoundland history and brought Aaron Thomas to life for us all.
   Also it must be said that under her outstanding presidency, the Spencer Club provided Spencerians with extra educational luxuries not otherwise available.
   And finally, my fellow Spencerians, anyone who could teach me to cook even the simplest of rice puddings likely deserves a Nobel Prize in teaching!
   As it is, we are proud and happy to present the Fama Vivit Award to an outstanding and dedicated teacher, headmistress, Guider, and friend whose wisdom, knowledge, and humour have touched all of us lucky enough to have known her: JEAN M. MURRAY.
   On November 23, 2005, the Minister of Foreign Affairs announced the appointment of Nancy Riche '61 to the Board of Directors of Rights and Democracy (International Centre for Human Rights and Democratic Development).

   Debbie (Crosbie) Powers '59 has been named to the Order of Newfoundland and Labrador. Below is a citation issued by the Order:
The name Deborah Powers is synonymous with the protection and best interests of animals in the province. As the Executive Director of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA), she has dedicated more than 30 years of volunteer work toward this cause.

If anyone has a news item for the above space, please send it in.
   Rosalind Gill '64 has published a book of poetry which she translated from the original Spanish.

   The Evening Telegram of September 27, 1907 reported that in response to a public canvass for the Effie M Disaster Fund (the schooner was lost about a week before) the paper received " . . . a note from Miss Stirling, the Principal of Bishop Spencer College, which contained thirty-five dollars, contributed by the teachers and pupils . . . . ". Ever thoughtful of the needs of others!

   Janet (Stone) '54 MacAdam's husband is a Latin scholar. He says the translation of:
Haec tibi dona fero
I bring these gifts to you.

   Some years ago I read an anecdote in Readers Digest that went as follows: A teenager seeing her mother cut a ham in two pieces before cooking it asked why she cut the ham. Her mother told the teen it was because her mother before her had done so. The teen approached her grandmother who said her mother had cut it like that. The teen went to visit her great-grandmother in a senior's home and asked why she'd cut her ham in two. The old lady replied "Because I didn't have a pan big enough to take a whole ham!"
   I've served on a number of boards and committees over the past 50 years where the words: "But we've always done it this way" impede real progress; and I've often reflected on how lucky we were to have gone to a school that taught us to reason and to think for ourselves. Which brings me to my point which is: JAM! That's right: JAM! We live in an era where we are bombarded with ads for low fat, low sugar, eat this, don't eat that, our product will ..., etc. Among the items touted are sugar substitutes; among the jars of jam on supermarket shelves are ones marked: low sugar, sugar substitutes, higher fruit content, extra fruit added, etc., etc. So why is it when I attend the usual bazaars and buy home made jam, most of it is so full of sugar as to block the berry taste?
   When my grandmother in Change Islands made her famous bakeapple jam in late July and her blackberry, blueberry, and partridgeberry in season, she loaded them with sugar before storing them in the "dark pantry" under the stairs for the winter. Without the high sugar content, the jam would have spoiled very quickly. So we keep repeating the recipes long after the reason for them has disappeared.
   Now low sugar (and Certo Light) can be added to cooked berries with the idea that jam can be stored in freezer or refrigerator. The dark pantry under the stairs and the large amount of sugar in the jars stored there are obsolete. We don't have to cut a ham in two because we now have a large enough pan to put it in! Nuff said.
P.S. At our house we mark our raspberry jam "Low Sugar, Keep Refrigerated" so that anyone can tell what it is. We do not use sugar substitutes.
   In the last Spencer Letter we reported on the opening at the Rooms Art Gallery a retrospective art show profiling the work of Helen Parsons Shepherd '39 and her husband the late Reginald Shepherd. The Shepherd Project Committee had several aims:
to stage an art show
to support Helen in doing a new print
to produce a book on the lives of the two artists
to raise money for a scholarship
   Helen's stunning new lithograph "Morning Light" (edition size: 125) and the book have been offered for sale as a package; the proceeds from the sale are going to fund the Shepherd Scholarship in visual arts at Grenfell College, Memorial University's Corner Brook Campus which offers a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree. A "donation" part of the purchase garners a tax receipt for the buyer. The project has been a huge success and has immortalized Helen & Reg as two of the most outstanding Canadian artists of the second half of the 20th century.
   There are a few packages (lithograph and book) remaining. For information, a brochure showing the art work, and/or to purchase call Brian at 709-351-0541.

(abbreviated list)
1.What has been most satisfactory about your life?
2.What are the best and worst part of being over 60?
3.What are you looking forward to; what do you regret?
4.How did your education at BSC influence you?
5.How is your health and why?
6.Are you 60 to 69, 70 to 79, 80 to 89, over 90?
7.Did you take Commercial or go to college or university?
8.What is/was the main profession of your life?
9.Do you have children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren?
10.Your tips for growing old gracefully; your comments.
I did not ask for names; most people signed.

   Many thanks to Roy Maybee father of Carolyn '71 and Claire Taylor '72 who noticed graffiti on the backdrop of the Spencer Girl statue. He called St. John's City Hall, told them about the graffiti and a missing light bulb, even mentioned how best to clean off the writing, and presto(!) it's done. Good going, Roy. Thanks from all of us.

   If you move, please send us your new address whether or not you're a member we like to keep in touch! Once every two years (next time: Jan. 2008) we send a Spencer Letter to everyone on the list.

   Any Spencerian who is a paid-up member and owns a business is eligible to have a link to her business Website put on the Spencer Website. E-mail Bruce at or call 709-754-0506.
   The BSCAA awarded two scholarships in November 2005. The recipient of the $1000 entrance scholarship was Deidre Driscoll. Deidre, the daughter of Lorna Proudfoot '68 and granddaughter of Helen (Cole) Driscoll '47, is a graduate of Gonzaga High School and is currently attending her first year of studies at MUN. The $1000 scholarship for continuing studies was awarded to Stephanie Petten. Stephanie is the granddaughter of Audrey (Chaytor) Petten '50 and is currently a third-year student at the University of Calgary and is studying Kinesiology.
   We ask you to please encourage any eligible student to apply for the BSCAA scholarship. The criteria for the 2006 scholarship are available at the BSC Website (click here) or from the BSC Alumnae Association. If you would like a copy of the application and/or the criteria please contact Barbara at 709-739-0981 or by e-mail at . The deadline for application is August 31, 2006.
   If you would like to make a donation to the Scholarship fund, please send a cheque to the BSCAA at the address on this newsletter. Our scholarships are supporting deserving young women in post-secondary studies.
     Ottawa: Sally (Winter) LeFeuvre '59 at 613-741-9483
     Toronto: Elizabeth (Wheeler) Gibson '63 at 905-853-9646
     England: Elaine (Whitten) Polley '64 at 011-44-189-523-9946
     St. John's: Barb (Parsons) Clancy '63 at 739-0981 or e-mail:

Saturday, May 13, 2006                   11:45 for lunch at 12:15 pm

Place: Bally Haly Golf and Country Club, Logy Bay Road, St. John's
Cost: $18.00          Home-made soup and sandwiches

Tickets can be paid for at the door (cash, cheque, or VISA).


                          *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *        *
Fees are now due for 2006.
   Your $10.00 fee for membership is due every January. This fee enables us to keep the Alumnae Association running and to publish the Spencer Letter. Please send it along to treasurer Ruby Legge, 58 Airport Heights Drive, St. John's, NL A1A 4Z7. THANK YOU if you've already done so.
   We still haven't found several hundred Spencerians. If you have Internet access, please check the class list on the Website and send us any information that may help to locate those missing. We still need lists of those who were there in the last years 1972 K IV and addresses that are missing. If you have a class list of any kind from that period, please send it to us.

Spencer girls at a dinner for Gloria (Battcock) Scott and Bill Scott, Oct. 21, 2005.
(l. to r.): Linda (Cook) Dalley, Jean (Guy) Weerasinghe, Sandra (Udle) Doucet, Ruby (Downer) Legge, Gloria (Battcock) Scott (all '64), Karen (Colbourne) Martin '65 with Gloria's grand-daughter: Hannah Scott.


In Memoriam
1.Rae Perlin '28.
2.Jean Holwell '47.
3.Sonia (Smith) Curnew '67.
Deepest sympathy to the families who mourn.
Please let our secretary Ruth (Noseworthy) Green '63 know if anyone should be included in the Obituaries.

[    Scholarship Criteria    ]

[    Spencer Letter Index    |    Main Page    ]

© 1996 - 2006 Bishop Spencer College Alumnae Association
Page storage compliments of Lightpost Web Services Ltd. and First City Net Inc.