Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Growing Up in Verdun / Montreal

A great recollection story of growing up in Montreal by a fellow named 'saddlerider' an ex Montrealer now living somewhere in the prairies. but his retelling of his memory of times gone by are really well done, This story could quite easily be told by any one of us, & that being said is what links us all together with the common thread (denominator) of growing up in Verdun/Montreal.From sitting on the gallery or people watching from our windows ,to playing in the street when the 'water truck came rolling down the avenues'..always an adventure:Read his story if you like>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>HF&RV>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Memories Of montreal from the '50s & '60sHow many of us have similar memories of growing up in our towns and cities? When I was just a boy growing up in Montreal, I lived in some interesting areas of the city. This picture of a boy crossing the street could have been me, this is the exact way the flats and streets looked in my time growing up in Point St Charles. We used to play kick the can, street hockey, hide and seek, buck-buck how many fingers up, throwing a ball against the brick exteriors and bouncing it to see how high we could make it go. The girls would have colored chalk and they would draw hopscotch patterns and skip on the sidewalks.

Then there was the water truck that would come by spraying and using their huge circular electric brushes to clean the dirty streets. We would all run alongside the truck and try to jump over the spray without getting our feet and legs wet. But on hot summer days, that spray felt so good. We played street hockey all year round and the girls would join in as well. Many of us would ask our moms to sew a number 9 on the back of our sweaters so that we could pretend we were the late great Maurice 'the Rocket' Richard.

Another fun thing we did was in the winter, when we had a heavy snowfall, we would build tunnels through the banks and play inside them. It could be dangerous , if we heard the loud rolling noise of the snow truck coming down our street we would run for cover because we didn't want to be sucked into those snow shoots with the sharp blades that choped up the snow and dumped into the truck that was alongside. There were a few horrific stories of kids losing their lives to this monster.

It was fun to watch the street when the sun went down.The people would open their windows, stick a pillow out to rest their elbows on, smoke cigarettes and talk and yell to each other from their flats. Sometimes the conversations would go on for hours. We never locked our doors at night and had no fear of being vandalized. Everyone knew each other and watched each others' backs.

The picture of the back lanes of the Point today are still exactly the way they looked years ago - a mess of telephone and electrical wires crisscrossing the alleyway. Clothes out on the lines. Garbage piled up along the fences waiting for the garbage man to pick up. Apart from cats and dogs running loose, we also had rats the size of some cats darting here and there. Tenants put out poison mixed in strawberry jam on small squares of white bread, hoping to attract the rats and kill them. I had a few encounters with those ugly vermin when I was a boy but never got bitten, thank goodness.

We had to call in the local rat catcher sometimes because once in awhile, when I brought in an empty garbage can, there may have been one hiding at the bottom and would jump out in the flat and scare the daylights out of us. It didn't happen too often, thank goodness. My chores back then were to empty the ashes from our coal burning stove, take out the garbage, shovel the coal into our coal bin when it was poured down a chute by the coalman and to put the ice in our icebox when the iceman dropped it at the top of our stairs. Damn, it was cold! Many a time we would distract the iceman and run to the back of his icetruck and chip off some ice to suck on. I bet not too many of you ever broke off pieces of slightly hardened black tar and chewed on it? I did, they say it helped keep our teeth white.

This photo of Mount Royal was taken from an apartment on Guy Street. My friends and I used to hop on a bus from the Point and take it up Guy Street and get off at the corner of Sherbrooke and Cote des Neiges and walk the rest of the way to the mount. It may have been a half hour walk from the last bus stop. Once we were on Mount Royal, our play commenced. We would pretend to be explorers and mountain climbers. We would try to find a steep side of the mountain and work our way up to the top. The things I did back then I couldn't even imagine today. There were stables of riding horses available and we would pool our money to rent one horse for all of us to ride for half an hour. We would get a share of the ride for ten or 15 minutes each. Afterwards, we would scoot on over to Beaver Lake and walk barefoot in the shallow parts and chase the ducks. Being boys, we would find as much mischief to get into as we could so we could tempt the officials to scold us or chase us off the mount.

Montreal was a great city to grow up in. I had too many experiences and fun to write in one blog, I hope to share more of them with my readers as time goes by.

Read More about my journey's of growing up in Montreal:

This is my life story in my own words. It will be a lasting heritage for my four children.

The ending of part one was a description of the type of flat we lived in.

I left part two with the answer as follows:

"Yes my sisters and I did a lot of crying together with mom.

I had a very fortunate distraction in 67 with the

the excitement building up to the opening day at Expo67

My 57 Chevy was one of my prize possessions

Chrome and leather days riding my 65 Super Flame BSA motorcycle.

Finding my very first job after school in Montreal

My discovery of an angel at the top of the hill and the mentoring from a wise man.

Montreal has the smoked meat sandwich and it's the talk of the town.

I hope you enjoyed the adventures of my growing up in Montreal.The first 23 years of my life were definitely challenges that with help and guidance I managed to survive.and keep my spirit in tact


Les F said...

This is a little more info on the writer of the above story:
saddlerider1 on HubPages
I was born and raised in Montreal Canada amongst the Irish, Brits, Italians and French. Point St Charles (commonly called The Point) was the Hell's kitchen of Montreal. I played, cried, laughed and fought on the street corners, survival was an instinct and watching each others back important.

I left home at 17 to find my way in the world, failure and success I had plenty of. I studied the Arts and loved to draw and paint. Took acting lessons and envied those on the stage under the bright lights. I hoped to some day become an actor, writer or painter.

I married and had children, divorced stayed single and eventually partnered up with a wonderful woman. We both enjoy each others talents and diversity. I have taken up the pen and found my way to Hubpages, enjoying the many talented writes of fellow hubbers.

I hope to contribute and find a place amongst you.The freedom of expression is important and to a very great extent we can practice it here.

.....................................Cheers !! Have Fun & Remember Verdun / Montreal..........................

Les F said...

Here is a reply from Ken (saddlerider1) the authour of the Growing up in Montreal 50's & 60's.
Ken has checked out the site & I invited him (as I do all of you who surf by & read) to checkout our photo albums & videos or blogs....We do have a lot of stored info & pics,so feel free to look through our collection. Cheers !1 HF&RV
this is from one of my email responses:
Hello Les and Teresa, thank you for posting my hub about growing up in Montreal, The Point. I also spent a lot of time in Verdun. I read this email quickly, I will be back to reply properly, I am on the fly and will be back. Thanks again, looking forward to reading more, I do have the Point site on my desktop and have signed in to visit on occasion, it's a wonderful site as well. CYA later
and this was my email to Ken:
Hi, I just read your blog about Montreal in the 50's & 60's .it is really a familiar story ,as there are a lot of us Ex_montrealers out there.We have a site which started on MSN Groups almost 10 years ago,when MSN pulled the plug,we morphed into a network called Multiply.

I really liked your recall,and I have now shared it with all the rest of our group on our blog/ message board. I know everyone will enjoy it. Have a look at it if you like:

Have a look through all the Photo Albums we have & of course the Videos,& stories.

Should you need to find any old Verdun/Point St Charles or Montreal photos then feel free to use some if you like. Also I will include a link to a Point St Charles site run by a fellow name of George McCrae,it's a good link for Pointers & any Montrealer for that matter.

Again I appreciated your story and thanks for writing it,it certainly prompts this old memory bank of mine:

Best Regards from Canada's Westcoast ( Les & Teresa,Victoria BC) Cheers !! Have Fun & Remember Verdun

We also would appreciate any 'Montreal Finds' in the way of stories or photos, that any of you Our present members, & or any of Our Surf-By Visitors, may find out there............. it's all good, and appreciated too.
Cheers, Have Fun and Remember Verdun...........................

Les F said...

Les F said...

Just thought I would add this VerdunAerial 'which' I also added to Guy's photo album listing.

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>Cheers !! HF&RV

carole roach said...

How do you find part 1 & 3? I'm interested in the stories!

Les F said...

If you click on any of the hi-lited in blue,at the bottom of the story,they should bring you to the Hub Page & that particular story. Try that ,I know I had to do it twice the other day but it did work. If you cannot make that work I will find the original web link for you, Cheers !! HF&RV

Les F said...

Ok here you go I just clicked on the very first one (blue hi-lite) & it broguht me directly to the Hub pages.
From there you should be able to figure out where to navigate from story to story. Good luck,his stories are interesting, and again if you cannot connect this way,ask again & I will see what I can do for you. Cheers !! HF&RV

Diane Roberts said...

Hi Les, Really enjoyed the lifestory and I'm going to try to find out more. My parents grew up in the Point as I'm sure many others have in Verdun Connections. Some of the stories they had to tell made our lives in Verdun seem like a fairytale....Diane