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Business at little airport kept family busy


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By Judy (Alexander) Dickie.

DAY 80/ Living at the Trenton Airport as a child was interesting and unique.  My father, Jock Alexander, took over as airport manager/jack-of-all trades in 1957. Our family, which consisted of Mom, Dad, two brothers (a third brother came along in 1960) and my sister, relocated from Moncton where Dad was a radio maintenance technician with Maritime Central Airways. He took over in Trenton from Ray Johnson and remained there until Eastern Provincial Airways (MCA’s successor) ceased operations in Trenton in 1969.

Trenton Airport was a very busy little airport with passenger service to and from Charlottetown and Halifax on a daily basis.  From Trenton, passengers could connect with airlines providing service to other major cities.

Our family lived in a small one-bedroom apartment in the downstairs of the terminal building. My sister and I shared the bedroom; my parents’ bed was at one end of the living room; and my brothers shared a room off of the passengers’ waiting room upstairs.

I remember my parents being very busy.  My dad was ticket manager, radio operator, air traffic controller, baggage handler, groundskeeper, bookkeeper, etc. My mom kept the waiting room and bathrooms spotless, provided lunches for the flight crews and assisted with the bookkeeping.  She would scrub the floors on her hands and knees, apply paste wax and polish the floors until they gleamed. Mom loved to grow African violets and display them in the waiting room for the passengers to enjoy.

 This was long before the runway had lighting, so sometimes Dad would get a call saying someone needed to land during the night or he would hear a plane circling the airport. He would make some calls and immediately cars would come up Duke Street to line the runway, allowing the plane to land safely.

Dad and Mom always kept the grounds looking nice. We even had goats, chickens, pheasants, ducks and a sheep. Sometimes the pilots would joke about what was coming next to our ‘farm.’ There were always things to do, lots of room to play ball, explore, build shelters in the woods and pick berries. Sometimes we would make a quick trip to Farrell’s canteen (on Duke St. near where 11th Street intersects today). I had a runway to practise roller skating on and my brothers learned to drive on the runway, too.

 In winter the snow banks were huge for playing king of the castle and tunnelling through. There was a pond at the end of the road where we skated for hours. I also remember Dad driving passengers to Halifax airport to catch connecting flights when flights coming in to Trenton were cancelled.

 Not many little girls have the opportunity to stand below the cockpit window and have the pilot drop boxes of chicklets down to them. This is one of my fond memories while growing up at the airport.

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