Woman of the Week, Mrs. Dorothy Dickenson, Evening Telegram, 1947, February 08, p.8
Crossing on the Aquatania, Mrs. Dorothy Dickenson arrived “home” on Jan. 2nd, to spend a month with her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Robert Morgan, of Quidi Vidi Road. Mrs. Dickenson, is the wife of Rev. O.C. Dickenson, an Englishman who received his theological training at Queen’s College, St. John’s.
Mrs. Dickenson will be remembered by many friends and admirers; by friends because she enjoyed a great popularity, by admirers because of her gifted voice which possessed a full, and colourful quality that made her singing very enjoyable. “Expression” came naturally to her. She sang in St. Thomas’s Choir for many years and was assistant organist at that church.
When “Dot Morgan” met and married Rev. Mr. Dickenson, there was no sense of loss among her friends, until their six weeks’ honeymoon in England found them caught in the war machine. Rev. Mr. Dickenson had planned to return to take up his parochial duties in Lamaline, but the war changed all that, and the Dickensons remained, obtaining a parish in Northumberland.
During the war, Mrs. Dickenson drove an ambulance. “It was a full-time job,” she said. “It kept me pretty busy when raids were on, picking up civilian casualties and conveying them to hospitals. I was on duty during raids. We had a couple of near misses on our house, and once, during a terrific bombardment of barrage guns, the shrapnel broke the windows, and my husband was hit, but not seriously.”
The first few months of the raids, David (Mrs. Dickenson’s small son) never slept in his cot for a night. He was always dressed, ready to be picked up at a moment’s notice and hurried to a shelter. It was hard on the nerves because no sooner would you return to the house from the shelter when another warning would sound, and out you would have to dash again. Then you have to get up next morning and work on as usual. It was hard on everybody,” Mrs. Dickenson added.
After the air raids had subsided, the Dickensons moved just outside Newcastle, were Mrs. Dickenson occupied herself with the usual duties of a minister’s wife. Her music and singing were not neglected, and she used her talents there as she had at home. She was organist of two churches of both parishes where she and her husband had worked, and choir mistress at one of these churches. She ran a Girl Guide Company, in which she taught music, fancy work and singing, free of charge. She also interested herself in starting a Games Club, to gather in the many people who found themselves at a loose end, and was active in a Mother’s Union and a Women’s Working Party.
“My husband and I entertained many Newfoundlanders on weekends- soldiers, sailors and airmen, and many girls to from the Air Force and from the nursing profession. We were glad to find a connecting link with home, and sometimes we were able to help some of our countrymen in difficulties. We entertained men of the forces from the British, Canadian and British Hondurian forces. I feel,” she laughed, “that I can pitch in on any country now and say “I’ve come.”
“We used to visit London, and on many occasions we saw Margot Davies, who helped us out a great deal with papers, and such like. She has been very good for our boys and girls.”
When the Right Reverend Philip Abraham the Lord Bishop of Newfoundland, visited England, he spent a few days with the Dickensons, who greatly enjoyed the contact with home.
Rev. and Mrs. Dickenson left this week by plane. Sixteen hours straight flying took them to Nassau, in the Bahamas, where Rev. Dickenson is to take up missionary work. He has signed on for three and a half years.
“I’m told the climate there is very agreeable,” Mrs. Dickenson said, “with extremes of neither heat nor cold. We’ve been on the go lately, getting injections. We’ve had injections against typhoid, and paratyphoid, smallpox and yellow fever. And, I might say, we are looking forward very much to new faces in a new way of life. It will be a great experience.”
Mrs. Dickenson found St. John’s greatly changed since she left here in 1939. “It has been built up amazingly and I think that peoples’ outlook has changed too. One thing I just couldn’t get over, the courtesy of the men on the buses. When you become used to the rush and tear of a life which seems to find no time for courtesies, you do find it heart-warming when you see men treating women - as women. You can’t beat the Newfoundland men for natural courtesy.
A bouquet for the men? Why not? They deserve it.