Tuesday, August 19, 2014

"In Aunt Elsie's Hay"

William Flynn's Children
Seated Lt to Rt - Michael, Mary Catherine, Gloria
Standing Rt to Lt - John, Bill, Helen, Mildred, Isabel, Joe, Anastasia, Clare and Frank

On two occasions during my visit home to Newfoundland, the summer of 2013, I was able to get together with my second cousins, the children of William Flynn, my mother's cousin.  To refresh your memory, William was raised by my grandfather Stephen Flynn Jr. after his parents died at a young age of Typhoid Fever. My grandfather brought him to live on Flynn's Hill with him and his parents in 1917.

William Flynn with some of his children
around 1950?
"Uncle Bill" as we called him, married Ellen Frances Healy and later built a house up the road from my grandparents, they raised a family of 13 children. I had met some of Uncle Bill's children when I was young, but some of them I had only heard their names from my mother's stories.  It didn't take long for us to become reacquainted, you know that feeling when it is as if you have known someone all your life. They welcomed me in,  I met their children and even some of their children's children. We had a very lovely time together, sharing stories, with lots of laughter and good food. They kept telling me I was just like my mother!
Gloria with her Great Niece
Here are a few of the stories they shared with me, of growing up on Flynn's Hill.

In Aunt Elsie's Hay

The first story was told by my 2nd cousin Gloria,  she starts by saying, when they were young they were always told to "Stay out of Uncle Stephen and Aunt Elsie's Hay!" from time to time they like to go up to the hayloft of the barn and hide out or play.

Gloria remembers one Christmas Eve, while attending Mass, my mother Mary and her sister Agnes were singing in the choir. She remembers the traditional Christmas Hymn, "Angels we Have Heard on High" being sung.  But when they came to the chorus,

Glo - ori - a,    In excelsis de - O!

She heard and interrupted something different, that went like this.

Glo - ori - a,      In Aunt Elsie's Hay - O!

Gloria thought her cousins were singing about her!  Telling that she had been in Uncle Stephen and Aunt Elsie's Hay! All the way home, she thought she was in big trouble, but nothing ever happened!

My Grandparents Barn
In Lakeview, Harbour Main, Newfoundland
I remember Aunt Agnes telling me, "they pitched a lot of hay upon the loft when they were kids. The hay was brought over to the barn by the horse and wagon, one would stand in the wagon and pitch it up to someone standing in the loft."

Cousin Helen on the Rt
with her friend Fay

Some Ancient Flynn

After a most delicious dinner, dessert was served, Apple Crumble!  My cousin Helen shared this story with me.  The apples she used to make the dessert came from one lone apple tree on Flynn's Hill.  She goes on to explain that these apples grew on a tree that came to be when "Some Ancient Flynn" threw away an apple stump while weeding potatoes!

Apple Tree growing on the Flynn Property

                                                                          The wood horse sits in silence,
                                                                              to guard an apple tree
                                                                             The house peeks out in waiting,
                                                                                for those it hopes to see.

                                                                                                             by Denise Flynn

Apples from my Ancestors! 
The Crumble was Delicious Helen!

More stories to share from my 2nd cousins, I am just getting started!



  1. The tree was discovered ,trying to survive ,in the woods close to the large potato garden, in the inside pen, under the mountain. My father had no recollection of it being deliberately planted there. He dug up as large a section of the tree that he could manage and transplanted it beside the river next to our house where it continues to thrive. Some remnants of the original tree could still be seen in the woods as little as ten years ago. thanks for your kind words. helen

  2. Thanks Helen for the added details, I enjoyed this story and the apple crumble! Hope to see you sometime soon! Elaine