James Hillis

Archive for August, 2014|Monthly archive page

The Voice that helped with my Homework

In Uncategorized on August 19, 2014 at 12:01 am

In the early 70’s radio personality’s were all over the place, be it  At CFTR  with Diamond Jim Brady or Tom Rivers. Dave Smith at CKOC , Jungle Jay nelson or Roger Ashby at CHUM the voices were almost as big as the songs but for me there was one voice and show that stood out from the others.  And that was Carl Banas of CKFM in Toronto.  His show was heard in the 8pm till midnight slot  Monday thru Friday and many a night I did my homework while listening to his dulcet tones and his well written and wonderfully presented vignettes.  His show was different from the rest, yes he played music but not the rock and roll that other stations played, he would play something different and new, music that was not on the top 40 yet, I first heard Supertramp on his show, he played James Taylor and Harry Chapin. He played the songs from albums that were not heard on Chum-am and made each night an adventure. He would tell story’s that would enthrall us and make us use our mind not just sit there chilling out. He could make the weather report sound like a Dickens short story and the road reports almost sound pleasing. He incorporated a little jazz into his background and just made the long winters nights and math homework that much more pleasing. I don’t know maybe you just had to be there.



Shorty, Nipper and Scoop

In Uncategorized on August 12, 2014 at 12:21 am

The nickname, we have all had one at some time in our lives and every town and city between the Atlantic and the Pacific has some very colourful and interesting ones. Sometimes there are story’s behind the nickname, sometimes a last name get’s twisted and becomes a nickname. I mean in my family almost all of us as far back as I can find were called Bucky, my Grandfather, my dad and his brother my brother and myself, my Hillis cousins, we all called Bucky at one time or another, As a matter of fact my Cousin Doug has called his dog bucky. When I was younger I got nicknamed Ribsy, don’t ask why. Here in Hespeler we have a long history of nicknames, some great and some kinda strange. Here are a few of the nicknames from the past

Clint Amacher…Yummy

Lawrence Arsenault…Weenie..i would like to know the history on that one

George Baird…Goo

Lorne Baker…Peggy..wonder how that one happened
Jim Bell…Ding Dong…i think that one is funny
Richard Duff…Dick… a Leaf fan?
Dan Donahue..Motor Mouth
Phil Dugmore..Dink…having worked for him I won’t comment
Cameron Einwechter…Einie
Ralph Ireland..Pooper…yea, that is one I wouldn’t want
Ethel McLaughlin…Flash…this was my Mom’s sister and Ethel got the name for being a speed walker( I hope)
Burt Pierce…Stiff…the girls really liked him
Reg Prior…Tin pipe
Robt. Prior…Horse…refer to Burt Pierce
Clarence Stahlbaum…Tiny…he was my Dad’s best friend, and Tiny he was not.
Fred Stewart..Flashlight…He was Chief of Police, and that flashlight shone in my direction a few times
Stan Stoddart…Slip
Ross Westwood..Borris
Eldon Wilkinson…Waxy
Carl Zvaniga…Skin
Some other nicknames over the years that were hung on people included..pugsly,Woody,Pecky,Minh,Heinie,Auld Tam,Red,Jiggs,porkchop and Gravy. But by far my favourite nickname when I was growing up was the one that Wes Beaver had, he was called “Mayor of Beaverdale”.
So what was your nickname?  And I know in Galt and Preston there has to be thousands, so what were they?  It is always fun to find out.

The Dodge, My Dad and Me

In Uncategorized on August 9, 2014 at 12:48 am

What was your first car? Mine was a 1969 Dodge Coronet 500 and I was reminded of it the other day when I spotted one at an old car show.
Up to my 18th birthday I had been driving my Dad’s 1967 Pontiac Strato Chief and to have my own car was a blessing. I paid $1,000 for it and believe you me that was a lot of money back then, but well worth it. The car itself is another story, for this story is about the day I brought the car home.
I remember the day as being sunny and warm and as I parked my new wheels in the driveway I was beaming and as proud as a new Parent would be. I wiped the car down, cleaned the windows and polished the tires. I stood back and admired what I had and that is when my Dad came into the picture. He came out of the house, walked around the car, grunted a few indistinguishable words and commented that the car had too much power and for me to be careful. Agreeing with him was no problem and we discussed the car from top to bottom and I offered to drive him around the block, but he said that he did not need to do that and I then went into the house to phone a friend and let him know that the car was here and to come on over and take a look, and then something happened that I could only laugh at. Going down the driveway was my car with my dad behind the wheel, that’s right my father was taking my car for a joyride! What was I to do, I could only laugh and wait for him to come back with it.
2 hours later he pulls up, parks the car, comments on its handling and performance and then disappears into the house, but before he closes the screen door he makes sure to comment” You’re low on gas”, The son of a gun had burned 1/2 of a tank of gas. I guess it is true what they say
PAYBACK IS A BITCH He got me and I knew it.So what could I say, I just shook my head and chalked another up to the old man.

The Old Town Hall Dome

In Uncategorized on August 7, 2014 at 10:16 pm


Hespeler Communication Network

In Uncategorized on August 6, 2014 at 8:41 am

One of the things about growing up in a small town like Hespeler during the 60’s and 70’s was the communication network that existed in the town. A lot of it was good, as a small town we had a volunteer fire department and since my dad was a volunteer the only way to get the information about a fire was for each member to have an assigned person to call. So when the fire was phoned in the system would start. The first fireman would call the next on the list and so on and so on, until everyone was notified, and no matter what time of the day, this would occur. It was never a surprise to hear the phone ring at 2:30 in the morning. If someone was sick or got hurt everyone would find out quick enough, and really anything that happened went through the communication network. Even things that would get you in trouble, trust me I know.
In the day’s before Ernie’s the building was known as the Queens Hotel and was a regular spot for many of the locals, including my Dad and his cronies and since it sat at the main intersection in town they could sit and watch the town(and the Characters} go by. And that is how they got me. One warm summers evening i pulled up to the lights in my Dodge Coronet, the 8 track spitting out some raucous Zeppelin tunes, and as I was prone to do, I revved the engine a few times and when the lights turned green I spun out, squealing the tires and headed up Queen Street and headed home. Now this was no more than a two-minute drive to my place and as i pulled into the driveway i saw my dad standing there with his arms folded and glaring at me like i had let in a game winning goal or something. Upon parking the Dodge and slipping out the door my Dad made it clear in no uncertain terms…don’t ever squeal your tires in this town, go to Preston or Galt or even better Kitchener, but do not ever, ever do it in HIS town, and while I am at it turn the music down as nobody else downtown wants to hear that metal crap and wear a seatbelt goddamn it. I stood there stunned! How in the hell did he find out in 2 minutes what I had done? There was no such thing as cell phones in those days, he didn’t have ESP, so how? As he explained it later, one of his chums was sitting at the bar and saw me there revving my engine and was on the phone to the old man when i peeled away from the corner, so by the time I got home the whole story was known. And you know what was worst? Later that day I went over to a friend’s house and his dad laughed at me for getting in trouble doing what I did. That Damn Hespeler Communication network had nailed me and their was nothing i could do about it.

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