“They’re havin’ a time” was an expression that stirred excitement and expectation when I was a child growing up in Placentia West. My home was a small community in this region and I have lived most of my life in outport Newfoundland. But it was the experience of living away from here that brings me to reflect on the significance of these “times” in developing our sense of place and our desire for home.
The custom of “havin’ a time” was often connected to special dates on the calendar or milestone events but its key purpose was to bring us all together to celebrate the life that we shared, not as residents of a town but as members of a community that worked, played and sorrowed together. Whether it was a wedding, a special calendar day or a fundraiser, it didn’t matter, for we knew “the time” would be a community event and we would all be expected to attend, contribute and participate. And when it was over, it would become one of our “community memories” told and retold, for “what a time it was”.
Times were important to those away from the community too, and those away would plan to be home when there was “a time on”. For those at home, the times were made even more special by the return of loved ones.
This exhibit is intended to tell the story of those community memories, how the times we had preserved our customs and traditions and built our communities. Through the stories of our residents, we share these customs and traditions and reflect on how they have formed the living heritage of Placentia West.
My name is Elizabeth Murphy from the Placentia West Heritage Committee. Our work is to preserve the memory of some of our local traditions that have and are still bringing people together and bring them to life through anecdotes and recollections. The stories and anecdotes that I’m sharing with you are sure to leave you with a twinkle in your eyes. Our exhibit is open,” we’re havin’ a time” and you’re invited to join us.