Certain Songs from my past always seem to bring memories with them and this is just one of those stories.
Moon River is a song that may not immediately bring the past back to many people but it is one of those crooner songs that I always seem to remember at the weirdest times and for the last month or so I have been singing it, but don’t worry, I have only been singing it to myself and to my wife so you readers are not in danger of having an ear worm installed. Why do I even remember this song you may be asking yourself, well the answer lies in Bala Ontario and the summer road trips with my siblings and my parents to my Mom’s Sisters cottage in Bala to visit our cousins which also happens to have a river called the Moon River. Now, my Dad loved the crooners and one of his favorites was Andy Williams and boy did he ever like him, Andys records would play on a Saturday night at our house and Moon River was one of his favorites and in the mid 1960’s he would be humming it as we entered Bala and he would make sure we stopped at the Bala Falls to see the river before heading on to Uncle Ted and Aunt Theresa’s cottage, along of course with a stop at Don’s Bakery for a fresh Chelsea Bun or two. But this is not where the story ends or the reason that I suddenly am singing Moon River, with both my Aunt and Uncle departing this world I was informed by my cousin Mary ( Damn, there is another song memory) that the cottage that was a summer get away as a child has been sold, a place where I first heard Black Sabbath and discovered Pink Floyd, and is now just a remembrance of the joys of youth, just stories and memories now, damn good memories that will never be forgotten but life goes on and every time I hear Andy Williams singing Moon River I can think of those carefree joyous summer nights in the ’60s and ’70’s on Lake Muskoka, look at the sky and say thanks for the memory’s Aunt Theresa and Uncle Ted.
“Moon River, wider than a mile
I’m crossing you in style some day
Oh, dream maker, you heartbreaker
Wherever you’re goin’, I’m goin’ your way”
Rise my little ones Rise! City Council’s revenge will come back to haunt them. Their slow silent attack on my home has been thwarted and I will put my revenge plan into action. This morning the Formicidae(ants for those who don’t use Wikipedia) that rose from the sink and the wall in my home that they sent in response will be turned against them. I will slowly train them, feed them and then set them on their way back to destroy what they hold dear. I will train them to infiltrate City Hall and act as security until the time comes to devour my enemy’s( that might take a while). I will train them to attack the construction workers when construction season starts going up, they will crawl all over the workers causing fits galore. They will learn how to turn off fire hydrants and foil their attempts at running Cambridge out of water. I will set my ants into every restaurant that would not hire me and ruin their kitchens, I will teach them to battle the bees and Armageddon will happen in Riverside park. They will be trained to sniff out the crack dens in this city thereby improving the quality of life. They will be trained to fix the roof of the Preston Arena thereby thwarting their plans to silence our children’s good times.They will learn to destroy the roundabouts and force the planners to leave things alone. And when all this is done My army of Ants and I will be ready to take on the Mayors Flying monkeys and Rule this City with an Iron Fist, City of Cambridge, You will bow before me…aw crap, here comes My wife with the Ant Killer, son of a bitch, another great plan to rule the world down the drain. Oh well, there is always tomorrow.
Almost everyone today carries their music pre-programmed on a cell phone or some device that they carry with them, heck even I do. Some Folks subscribe to a pay music service like Spotify or apple music and that renders the good old Am radio stations obsolete and has turned them into hollow shells of what they once were. The days of CFTR, and CHUM-AM blasting out the latest hit by The Guess Who are long gone and have been replaced by All News and All sports stations where the host’s blabber on and most of the time yell over each other just to be heard. Gone are the great DJ’s of the past, names like Jim Brady, Red Knight, Mike Cooper, “Jungle” Jay Nelson, Tom Rivers and Duke Roberts. The There was the I Listen to CHUM” promotion, in which DJs would dial phone numbers at random and award $1,000 to anyone who answered the phone with that phrase, and of course as teenagers we all waited for the CHUM music chart to be released to find out which song hit #1 that week. The old tinny sounding transistor radios that we carried in those days would only solicit laughter from my grandchildren today and most likely the music coming out of them as well because Am radio played top 40 songs that in most cases didn’t have much of a message and clocked in at under 3 minutes. Songs by Jim Gold and the Gallery, Stampeders, Chicago and Ray Stevens were not FM staples but on AM radio they were the best. In 1974 the top songs being played were by Three Dog Night, The Stylistics and 5 Man Electrical Band meanwhile over on the new and booming FM stations we were listening to Zeppelin, Cooper, and the Stones and in retrospect I guess we were part of the reason for the decline on the AM radio station as FM and AM started to battle for the musical soul of the teenagers of Ontario and when our favourite AM stations decided to start playing Disco, well the end was in sight. While the AM radio station has survived the sounds coming out of it they are not what was hitting the airwaves back in 1974 and even though FM has tried to carry on the tradition of what we used to listen to it is just not the same but like everything else times change and we move on not just in our music choices but in many areas of life and while we still listen to the oldies we just do it with a modern touch. And if Vinyl can come back then perhaps we can dream about AM radio, but for now, I will just be happy to go for a drive in my car and listen to the Cassette player in my car, after all, I may be the last person in Hespeler to have one. Happy listening everyone.
Whether you like it or hate it the fact is that the skyline in Downtown Hespeler is indeed changing and the view I knew as a young man is not the view that exists now, but back in the early ’70s we had the same argument about the Colonnade and we all seemed to eventually move on. But it is different and I present to you 2 pictures of the skyline that no longer exists.
Thank you to those that have sent me notes about my site and to those that have stopped me on the street to inquire if I plan to continue writing on Hespeler and the memories that I have. Well, after taking this break I have decided to return to writing and also concentrate on my photography and will combine them both here on the Relic. However sometimes you have only so many memories that are actually entertaining, and while I still have a few more I intend to take this site and make it a catchall site, music, movies, photos and other thoughts that come to mind. Hope that you will continue to read and let me know what you think. Once again thank you and remember in the words of Al Stewart “Well I’m not the kind to live in the past
The years run too short and the days too fast
The things you lean on are the things that don’t last
Well it’s just now and then my line gets cast into these
There’s something back here that you left behind
Oh time passages
Buy me a ticket on the last train home tonight Photo taken by Frank Kenkel Courtesy of Brian Kenkel