August 23, 1999
his true story was written by Darlene Earle, from St. John's, Newfoundland. Darlene is 47 years old, and she loves walking, music, and spending time with her friends. Her hobbies are making crafts and collecting ceramics. Darlene is the mother of five children, ranging in age from 12 to 24 years. She is a homemaker and was recently attending the Atlantic Construction Training Centre, doing ABE, but she had to leave because of circumstances beyond her control. She hopes to finish her ABE eventually and get her Grade 12 diploma. Darlene enjoys reading and learning new things.
This summer past our province celebrated the 500th anniversary of John Cabot's Discovery of Newfoundland. That is why it was such a special vacation for me.
I was waiting all year for this big event. Finally the time came. Early in the afternoon we all drove to Bonavista in a taxi. It was a five hour drive and when we got there the first thing we noticed was that all the streets were closed. The taxi driver finally found a way to drop us off at our destination.
After we had a snack, we went out walking. The streets were filled with people and there were visitor's from all around the province walking around and looking at the sites and seeing friends that they had not seen for years. I even met friends and family that I did not see for a long time.
Finally, the big day came. I was up bright and early and then I got the kids up. We ate breakfast, then got ready and headed out for the day.
The first thing we did was take a drive around the town on the double decker bus. After the bus ride, we went walking while waiting for the Matthew to come in the harbour. As we walked up farther towards the pier, people were standing and waiting just to see the Matthew come in the harbour.
The Queen and Prince Phillip arrived by hellicopter in Bonavista at around 12:30 p.m. and were first brought to the police station. They were guided by police and then there was a limousine waiting for them. Upon arrival, there was a special meal made for them at the Matthew Elementry School. After they ate, the limousine took them on a tour of the town and then brought them to the Ryan's Premises, the oldest house in town, and joined Brian Tobin and other government members.
Everybody was anxious for the arrival of the Matthew. People were singing and dancing eventhough the weather was wet and cold.
Finally, the big moment came. Out around Mose's Point you could just make out the Matthew due to the fog. People were excited and cheering. When the ship got half way in the harbour, she had to stop and get checked out by the police in case there were any bomb's underneath her.
It took about half an hour to get the ship checked and then she was on her way again. By the time she got to the narrows, everyone was cheering and taking pictures.
Suddenly, the crew were all on deck and firing cannons. They were waving and singing. Chris Ledrew was up in the crows nest waving and all the other crew members were excited and cheerful, and glad to be here.
As the Matthew approached the pier, she tied up to the wharf. As the crew got off the ship, people were running to greet them. The band was playing and the cheerleaders were dancing, and shaking their pom-poms. What an exciting time it was. We spent the whole day enjoying the celebrations. There were lots to eat and lots to do. The crew joined right in. It seemed to go on forever, but finally the day came to an end.
The following day we came back home by the same taxi. It was sad to leave Bonavista and all the fun we had. But all good things must end. But is will always be a very good memory for me.