Monday, May 14, 2012

re-Post neat old Verdun Story..

Apr 13, '11 8:35 PM
by Les for everyone

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


Suzanne Olsten said...

What a wonderful storyand I did almost all of that ,but being a young girl did have to do any coal shoveling and yes we were scared of that snow blower we had a young boy on 4th ave that got cought in that machine was terrible ,do you remember the snow fort we used to build ,cut big piece of snow and buil them up and then have snow ball fights and getting your toung stuck on the mettal railling Ya! those were the days and I still buy smoke meat and make it like they did at Dunns cheers Suzanne

Les F said...

Yes it is a good recount of our young lives in Verdun....... Cheers ! HF&RV - Les

Suzanne Olsten said...

thinking about the pass,does anyone remember going on the roof from the sheds in the back lane and climbing to the top witch only had little lats on the side of the wall to climb and then having to swing through the skylite hole and then run on the roof and people on the 3rd floor would hear us and go out on the balcony and yell at us to get off of there cause there plaster ceiling would crack hehe or sun bath up there or knock on the sky light and holler when you heard the toilt flush and say "hey I know what your doing in there" then they would tell my mother and would be punished and have to spend a couple of days on the balcony OK lets hear some more mistchif

Les F said...

We use to love playing on the rooftops,and we seemed to know just which lanes & which sheds ,left the hatch cover to the roof unlocked,but we were not above climbing the balcony posts to get there either......hahahahah
I can remember sitting on the rooftop,of my own place on Wellington, & using alligator clips to clip on the antenna of my walkie talkies & the other end on the power wires that ran across the roof ,trying to boost our antenna
It;'s amazing we are not all dead. (but were working on it).lol
great memory prompt,.Suzanne you must have had a little tom-boy in you, if you were climbing those rooftops too..... Cheers ! - Les

Les F said...

Also remember finding those little round flat pieces of tar, that seemed to catch our eye.
Imagine giving a kid a piec of tar to play with,....they would only take it ,if it had an LCD screen in it.....& could connect to the internet. HF&RV - Les

robert jomphe said...

Come on Lesf we also knew which windows to see girls undressing and I believe some of them knew we where there. One of my friends was robbed during the day. When they caught the guys they were using walkie talkies to spot the cops and binoculars to spot if the people left with their windows open. I once made a periscope to look in the third floor bathroom windows in the skylight. I believe those skylights were useless they were either painted or very dirty. Some of the girls our age used to go suntan with baby oil and iodine and of course, they told people they would be there so us guys would try to sneak up on them, but they were ready and would cover up. We were so manipulated but the thrill was good.

Les F said...

I remember making periscopes,but let's face it ,from the 2nd to the 3rd floor , pun intended but that's a 'stretch'
As for the girls undressing,I suspect imagination worked way better in those days,because as you say,those skylite windows were usually painted & besides a bra on the line was almost good enough.........hahahaha
Walkie Talkies to spot cops,now that is smart in a way, but I remember laughing when cops would spot us on a roof ,by the time they copuld get any of their a$$'s up to a roof,we were running down the lane.It is hard to catch a kid on the run......under gallery's ,over fences .up sheds back to the roof or through someone you know's back gallery & out the front.........hahahahah I'm breaking into a sweat just thinking about it,,,Good One Robert.........................HF&RV - Les

Suzanne Olsten said...

haha,gee I must have been and I'm 72 and still love to climb I was five the first time I went up on the roof it seem I always hung around older kids that must be the reason ,,We also used to walk on the second floor banester,and once when I was jumping in asnow pile between the stairs and the steel fenceI miss the pile and got one of the spike enter my leg ,good thing there was a doctor on the corner of 4 th and verdun who came to the house and stitched oit up and left a Quarter on my leg and said I could keep it if I didn't cry while he stitched it ,well I got a quarter at every visit haha what a women will do for a quarter cheers haha cheers Suzanne

robert jomphe said...

I wish I could draw you a picture but from the skylight, to the thrird floor window was not that far. As for cheking windows across the lane not imagination but fact. If the Yardley's are on this site they will confirm. I still remember when Pete fell off the roof hit a clothesline got spun and landed on some woman's gallery she came out chasing him nothing but is brain rattled.
See how I use gallery as athrough Verdunite. When you say that to Torontonians they look at you strangely

robert jomphe said...

jsangel knowing that you are 72 did you know Ian and David Gray?

Suzanne Olsten said...

The name sound familiar did they go to bannantyne school and I use to play baseball and touch football at the park with Norman Simpson and abunch of felows from 3rd and second ave he went to the catholic school??

robert jomphe said...

I would have to ask him when I see him. They were not in the catholic system that I know and later on they were with Roger O'Grady Germain, Gougie Daniels all those motorcycle guys

Suzanne Olsten said...

No didn't know any of those motorcyle guy except Doug cambell & his brother,Andy rockaburn ,Donny Hannon he was on the ruff side I hung around his sister Pat