This page is from a heritage partnered project. It was written in 1998 by students from Mount Pearl Junior High and edited by their teachers. It has not been vetted by the heritage website's academic editor.
"All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy." This is a saying repeated by Newfoundlanders and Labradorians for generations. The importance of leisure time has never been forgotten. Years ago when there may have only been one radio in the community people found sources of recreation in kitchen parties, "times", card games, and mummering around Christmas time. Today, despite all of the new technology, things such as mummering and playing pond hockey are still popular. Although some of the activities have changed recreation still remains an important part of our daily lives.
Football and Murder ball
(from an interview with Mr. Edgar Mudge )
"We were pretty much into, we used to call it football but actually it was soccer. Football, we didn't know what touch football was, and we used to play a game--I've heard it called since murder ball. It's sort of like baseball. Instead of using the hard ball you'd use, you've seen those sponge balls--the red and white kind of sponge-type balls and you'd just belt that if you could. There were three bases and when you hit the ball, if somebody could catch it, as the runner went from first, to second to third and what have you, you would try to bean them. That's the way you put them out. You hit them with the ball. Oh, it was a vicious kind of game--especially if you hit the girls, boy. That was a lot of fun. Some of them weren't as fast, and the guys would just love to . . . anyway."
Tiddly and John Tick
(from an interview with Mr. Edgar Mudge)
"We used to play tiddly. Have you heard tell of that game? You put a stick down and you would hit it. It would flip up and you would hit it again. That's what we called it anyway. Okay. It was a stick about eight inches long and you put it on a rock so it stuck up this way and you would hit it with like a bat. And when you hit it here it would twirl up and as it was twirling up you would try to hit it. It was a lot of fun. The typical kinds of kids' games: group games. If you wanted to be alone or by yourself, you'd play what we used to call John Tick. It was something you see the kids playing with alleys and the ball and picking up those little things. We would use a pocketknife and you would try to stick it in the ground and of course you would take the knife and you would--off your finger, and then it was off your elbow and off the top of your head. Probably six or seven of the guys would be doing this and you'd have your turn. You'd work your way up, getting more difficult each time, standing on one leg or whatever. If you missed it or you didn't stick in the ground it went to the next guy, and so on and so on."
"In Hickman's Harbour since there weren't a lot of things to do in such a small community, as many people as possible would pile in to a boat to go to an island. Once at the island they would have a boil up and make a day of it."
Excerpt from an interview with Mrs. Ruth Anthony.
"On the weekend you had to make our own fun. There was a movie theatre. We lived very near the water and we would spend hours and hours on the beach in the summer. When we got a little bit older and braver we would go out in the rowboat even if we didn't know how to swim. Wintertime we would go sliding and skating."
An excerpt from an interview with Mr. James Langor
"Most of the recreational activities were things that as kids we created for ourselves. Because I lived apart from the community, and lived pretty much alone, not close to neighbors, a lot of the activities that I was involved in myself, would have been things like wandering around the beaches, beachcombing and working around, my father was a fisherman, working around the stage--working around, you know helping out--getting in the way sometimes too--things like that."
"In terms of things that kids did, of course they played ball; they played a type of ball, similar I guess to baseball, except that it was played with a sponge ball, and you hit the ball not with a bat usually, but often with your hand. They'd swing with their hand and hit it. And of course that would be played recess times and lunch times and before school in the mornings and after school in the afternoons--things like that. And of course cowboys and Indians was quite a popular sport then too. We used to play that--there was lots of room and space of course to play that because you could go outside the school area and into the woods and bushes and things and have a great time. So they were mostly things that you would create and do yourself. It was a lot of fun."
Storytelling was one of the main pastimes in outports in Newfoundland during the 20th century. Young children loved to hear their grandparents tell stories of when they were kids, and many families would spend hours just sitting around in spare time telling stories and listening to other people's tales. Here are some stories that some of the people we interviewed shared with us.
"If a movie came to the community, there was no theatre there but you would have itinerant movie operators who would go from community to community and we'd call it showing a show. And you'd go the movie. It would cost twenty-five cents to get into the movie but if you didn't have twenty-five cents, he could have been charging fifty dollars because if you didn't have twenty-five cents you couldn't get in. And I remember one day this guy came. He was going to show movies that evening. Now if you were fortunate enough to get to him first, then he would say, 'Bring some blankets in from home to cover the windows.' You needed a blackout, of course, to show movies--and he would let you in free."