“We should’ve grown up by now,” laughs Edie Leet, 76, of Brule as she warmly greets her old friend and former co-worker Rita MacInnis of Glace Bay.
“We lived together, worked together, got in a bit of trouble together and had a good time,” adds MacInnis.
The two were employed by RBC in Happy Valley-Goose Bay, Labrador in 1967. They were in Truro last week along with 16 other former banking co-workers for a reunion to exchange memories and rekindle friendships of the time they all worked together 50 years ago.
Because the old friends, now all in their 70s, are spread out between Newfoundland and Ontario, they agreed to meet in Truro because it’s central.
As to why they’ve maintained such long-term friendships after being separated for so many years, they credit it to the tight bonds they formed while working as the only Canadians on a U.S. air force base with thousands of military personnel.
“At Goose Bay, we all went there as strangers,” said Ken Bird, 79, of Thamesville, Ont. “You didn’t know anybody. So your co-workers became your family.”
Roy West, 72, who had initially worked at the RBC branch in Shubenacadie in 1964, agreed.
“We all have common memories of the one year we spent together. And when you are in isolation like that, it sticks with you,” the Dartmouth resident said. “So you relied on each other and it’s the memories of it.”
There were three RBC branches in the community at the time, including one on the American base, the Canadian Forces Base and in Happy Valley.
As the old work mates sipped wine and gathered in a room off the dining area at the Best Western Glengarry for their day-long reunion, the sound of raucous laughter and chatter continued to grow as old memories came to the fore.
“I think it’s just wonderful,” said Mary Benedict, 75, of Witless Bay, N.L. “It means the world to me because it’s so good to see all these people that we worked with 50 years ago.”