They say you can take the boy out of the bay, but you can't take the bay out of the boy.
While this old Newfoundland saying is true for many people, it is especially true for Edgar, Wallace and Winston Hunt who left Jersey Harbour 50 years ago to live in Harbour Breton.
Edgar Hunt Jr. said that his father, Edgar Sr., was from Harbour Breton while his mom, Pearl nee Stoodley, was from Jersey Harbour.
He said, "Dad used to say that they decided to live in Jersey Harbour after they were married as there were more fishing schooners based there than in Harbour Breton and work seemed to be more plentiful.”
Mr. and Mrs. Hunt had five children while living in Jersey Harbour - Wallace, Edgar, Winston, Roger and Raymond and life was pretty good overall.
However, in December 1962 Mrs. Hunt was having health issues and her husband wanted her to spend Christmas in Harbour Breton to be near the hospital. Having to take the mail boat back to Sagona Island, Mr. Hunt decided to take the children to Harbour Breton as well.
Although the original plan was to stay until school reopened in January of 1963, Mr. Hunt later decided make the move to the community permanent.
Edgar Jr. said, "The plant was opening at that time and there was plenty of work in the community, so Dad decided to stay there."
Throughout the coming years the boys all found different types of work and eventually they all moved away to other parts of Newfoundland and Atlantic Canada to work and to raise families of their own. And now, 50 years later, three of the Hunt brothers - Edgar, Wallace and Winston- decided to visit Jersey Harbour one more time and probably for the last time as a family group.
Edgar Jr. is 64 now and lives in Twillingate, Newfoundland.
He said, "There were about 300 people living in Jersey Harbour when we moved in 1962. I believe we were the first family to leave the community around that time on December 23, 1962.
There were seven of us then, Mom, Dad and five boys. Mom and Dad and one brother, Roger, have since passed away.
“Even though we were very young when we left the now abandoned community our roots run very deep and we've never, not even for a moment, forgotten where it all started. Going back there last Wednesday (August 1) was a very emotional time for us especially since it could be the last time we get to do it as a family unit.
We had a great day, we covered a lot of ground we trampled over as boys, we visited the site of the old homestead, looked down the well, visited the old cemetery and noted the headstones of long-gone relatives, some of whom we never knew.
We also looked at the headstones of other people as well, our elders who we highly respected and in some ways revered when we all lived back there all those years ago. I don't think our family has any regrets about making the move, but we still have a hard time letting go of the roots.
That's where our lives started and that's where we grew into the people we later became as adults. We spent our formative years in Jersey Harbour, and it was very touching to stroll around the community to visit the places where we used to spend so much time as young boys and teenagers.”
Wallace Hunt is 67 today and was 18 when he left Jersey Harbour. He worked on trawlers out of Harbour Breton for 14 years but his brother Winston, who was already living in the Lunenburg area of Nova Scotia, was encouraging him to move up there and in January of 1981 he took the plunge and moved his family to Nova Scotia. Wallace had learned the skills of a chief engineer on trawlers based out of Harbour Breton and it was no trouble finding work on the scallop boats out of the Lunenburg area at that time.
Today, he lives in Fredericton, New Brunswick where his son Scottie moved to work a number of years ago.
Wallace said, "Edgar had mentioned to us in 2011 that we should make an effort to go back to Jersey Harbour this year as it's the 50th anniversary of our moving from there."
Some people get very emotional when talking about moving from one community to another and in leaving their roots and Wallace is one of those.
He said, "I'll never forget my home in Jersey Harbour. Not a day goes by I don't think about my boyhood days there - swimming, trouting and going in the woods. It was very emotional for me, and I swear I could hear my father calling out to us down there on Wednesday.
I said to Edgar that if we looked hard enough we should be able to find out footprints in the old paths in the community but even the paths are hard to find now as everything is grown over. Some people say that wherever you hang your hat is home, but my home will always be in Jersey Harbour even though we live far away from the community now."
Winston Hunt was 10 years old when his family left for Harbour Breton. He later found himself a married man in Bay d'Espoir with a young family, no work and the need to find employment fast.
"Raymond had been up in the Lunenburg area for a number of years and said he could find a job for me on the scallop trawlers. I was on the trawlers for 25 years, and I can tell you that's not an easy way to make a living. You need a strong back and a weak mind to stay at that work for a long time."
Today Winston is out of the scallop boats and works part time as a custodian in a local high school.
"Even though I've been in Nova Scotia since 1977 my thoughts often drift back to Newfoundland and especially to my home community. I remember going swimming there and having fun with my friends. It certainly was a very special place for me and I'll never forget my boyhood days in the community. I still wonder if dad did the right thing back then but the community was a victim of the resettlement program just a few short years later so we would have left anyway.
But whatever the case, it was good to be back there with my brothers on August 1 and a few friends from Nova Scotia who had never been to this part of Newfoundland. They really enjoyed the trip and so did I."