Bet you didn’t know that hespeler has its own airforce, here they are training. Hespeler Rules!!
“They paved paradise and put up a parking lot”..Joni Mitchel’s paradise may have been paved over but mine had 2 houses put on it. This is a story about that.
Last month was the McLaughlin family’s annual reunion and as always happens when family gets together in our advancing years, we talk about many things but the past is always prominent. A subject that a few of the cousins and i discussed was the “Garden”. And as Joni wrote in her song “Woodstock” “We got to get back to the garden”.
Now this garden sat beside the old family home on Cooper Street and during the 60’s it was like a haven to many of us, and it seemed to go on forever and ever, and to everyone in the family it was paradise. There was everything in it,peas,beets, raspberry and strawberry bush’s,potatoes, onions, tomatoes, rhubarb and just about anything else you could think of. And come August corn stalks so tall we little ones could hide in them, and we used to play constantly in the garden eating the fresh veggie and fruits much to our Grandmother’s chagrin, and the big Cherry tree beside it was just the icing on the cake.
Sunday dinners always meant fresh veggies and plenty of fruit for desert, and i never thought that we were an ordinary working class family, i thought we were farmers, Gawd those were beautiful day’s and during the summer the sun setting on the garden would have made a beautiful postcard.
Ah, but those day’s are gone and as the Sixties came to an end so did the garden. First the far section was sold to build a house and for a few years the garden still survived and produced great product. But after Grandma McLaughlin’s passing things rapidly changed and a few years later we moved out of the big house and built another one right beside it that took up most of what was left of the Garden, even though my Uncle Alex stayed in the big house and kept a little version going, it was never the same. Now as i walk or drive past the property and i see flowers growing in the property’s i feel that we had a little something to do with that, even though Paradise has been paved over. Lord on day’s like this i miss that garden!
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While out walking the other day I watched a kid wipe out on his dirt bike and that reminded me of an incident from my past. It was July of 1973 when the Great Hespeler Moped crash occurred. I was 15 going on 16 and needed a set of wheels, so my parents bought me a Moped for my upcoming birthday. Not that they really had a choice as 5 of my friends already had one or were getting one for the summer ahead,so on a mid June day they presented me with a fire engine red Moped, and that was the beginning of the summer of driving. I went everywhere on that thing. to Kitchener,Guelph and points in between.Heck even some of the girls loved them and that made us even more popular[not a bad side effect, Eh!]. . So all of June and July we terrorized the streets of Hespeler, and even the local constabulary, could not stop us, of course I don’t think they really tried that hard. And then July 26th came into play.
It was one of those warm summer rain kind of day’s, not hard enough to stop your fun but still damp enough for the average person to be careful while out on the road. And there was the problem, thought did not enter the equation. So off the 6 of us went that day driving down the hills and valleys of Hespeler without a care in the world and then Edward street appeared on the horizon and the challenge was made. I don’t know who made the call but it was there, drive as fast as we can down one of the steepest streets in town toward the valley and may the best man win. Everything was going good, i sat in a close third when suddenly just before the bottom of the hill someone went down and the rest of us followed. By the time we finished tumbling and sliding there were 6 mopeds and 6 bodies lying there scuffed, bruised and bloody but we all managed to pull ourselves together, get our Mopeds off the street and survey the damage. There were no broken bones or even seriously damaged mopeds, somehow we had all survived the crash. As we sat at the side of the road we all just suddenly started laughing and realized what a funny sight we must of made, six bodies and bikes rolling and sliding down Edward Street. Needless to say that was the end of day for all of us as we slinked off to lick our wounds and get ready for another day. As for the rest of the summer, well let’s just say we rode a little more carefully…Ah who am I kidding, we did not learn our lesson and continued to drive them as recklessly as ever.
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This past Winter i wrote a little story on how to shovel your driveway(Hespeler Style), now i will tell you how to beat the heat(Hespeler style).
Here it is mid July and the weather has just gotten good and stuffy, so how do you beat the heat when you have to go to work everyday, well there are many ways to do it. You could forsake all clothing, but i am not sure if everyone around you would be comfortable with that. You could try to move the family into your office at work, after all the boss is paying the air conditioning. Along the same lines you could try and sneak into the frozen food coolers at Zehr’s, but somehow i think that could be a problem( i wouldn’t buy the ice cream from my section i can tell you that). You could try and talk to Mayor Craig, the cold shoulder you get from him would cool you for a few hours. You could flood your basement and then go skinny dipping in it. You could wait for hell to freeze over, but then that would mean the Leafs have won the Stanley cup, so we know that is not going to happen. You could fill the kiddie pool with ice cubes and lay in it or you could put a sprinkler in your bedroom and leave it on all night. Now you could do those things, but i don’t think any of those things will work..well, maybe the cold shoulder from the Mayor might, but let me tell you how my Dad figured out how to beat the heat.
As a man with a Scottish heritage he wouldn’t spend money needlessly, so air conditioning was not really an option, but what he came up with was quite ingenious.
On a Hot August night(sounds like a Neil Diamond song don’t it) around 1987 i pulled into the family driveway and sitting at the top of the drive was an old Tent trailer, great i thought, Mom and Dad are going to go away again and leave the house alone for myself to party in. I was Wrong(again). My father had picked up this tent trailer for next to nothing and had equipped it to be his bedroom for the duration of the summer. It had a fridge for his beer, a television with the cable line running from the house, a lamp beside his bed, a spare telephone running out the window of the house and into the trailer. He had his alarm clock ready to go and a coffee maker set up for the morning. Hell he had everything he wanted and eventually even my mother wound up sleeping out there with him. I had to give him credit, he never complained about the heat at night, and now as we struggle through this little heat wave that we are getting i am trying to convince my wife that we too need a tent trailer in our back yard, BECAUSE that is the Hespeler Way to beat the heat. Your Welcome
Hot enough for ya? How many times have you heard that one this week? but as summer comes full force at us we all look forward to perhaps the 2 finest months of the year and what they have in store for us. Here in Cambridge we have the Forbes Park festival, Mill Race Folk Festival and the Highland Games for just starters and i hope everyone can make it out to support at least one of these events if not more.
But Summer also brings out the memory’s in all of us, trips to the beach,the Cottage,going camping(even if it is just in the backyard), touring around the province with the parents and siblings discovering unknown towns and fairs that seem to pop up everywhere this time of the year. And as always we make new memory’s that hopefully will last a lifetime, and that is what we want to know, what are your favorite memory’s of summer’s past. I know my most enjoyable summers as a kid were spent with my family during the 2 weeks that my father got off work and we always seemed to go somewhere, if it wasn’t up to our Cousins cottage in Bala it would be to Powassan and Camp Mac Mac. But perhaps the most memorable summer was in 1967 when as a family we headed to one of my favourite destinations as a kid, Manitoulin Island , I remember the excitement of seeing the towns of Little Current and taking the ferry from Tobermory to South bay Mouth. Even though we went several times to the Island this one trip sticks out because in 1967 it was our centennial year and Canada was in a festive mood, Expo 67 was on, we had a new flag and party’s were being held from Coast to Coast, as a matter of fact Pierre Berton would later call 1967 “Canada’s Last Good Year”. One of those groups celebrating the Voyageurs. who were re-enacting the Fur Trade Canoe Routes that used to travel the same water 100 years ago and on this particular trip they were on the Ferry relaxing and i was able to get my picture taken with these hardy individuals and was able to learn a little about our past which to this day has stuck with me and i believe was the beginning of my life long interest in History and all that it entails. And while there would be other great summers to come it is not often that an event like that comes around and stick in a memory like that did. And as for the rest of the trip, well this picture should answer that.
So what are some of your memory’s of Summer’s Gone by?
The next two months will be slow around this site, but come fall i will return. I will be posting the odd story or two and a few pictures but nothing exciting. You can keep up on what is going on at the CAMBRIDGE CITIZEN. Don’t forget the Forbes Park Festival is Saturday!
At a movie theater which arm rest is yours?
Why do doctors leave the room when you change? They’re going to see you naked anyway
How far east can you go before you’re heading west?
If girls with large breasts work at Hooters, then do girls with one leg work at IHOP?
Why is it that everyone driving faster than you is considered an idiot and everyone driving slower than you is a moron?
Is there a time limit on fortune cookie predictions?
How can something be “new” and “improved”? if it’s new, what was it improving on?
Why do people say beans beans the magical fruit when beans are vegetables?
If laughter is the best medicine, who’s the idiot who said they ‘died laughing’?
If money doesn’t grow on trees then why do banks have branches?
Why does caregiver and caretaker mean the same thing?
How fast do hotcakes sell?
Why are builders afraid to have a 13th floor but book publishers aren’t afraid to have a Chapter 11?
What are the handles for corn on the cob called?
Why do we say we’re head over heels when we’re happy? Isn’t that the way we normally are?
And in parting remember
If life deals you lemons, make lemonade; if it deals you tomatoes, make Bloody Marys.
Have a Good Sunday Everyone