Our Family Scrapbook

If you’re wondering why I’m kind of old-fashioned, read on…

Back in my early childhood, I remember the “ice box” and the ice man who brought our big block of ice every morning on his horse-drawn wagon. He would give us kids a chunk of ice to suck on, and we were thrilled to have a “popsicle.”

There was also a coal man who dumped a big load of dirty black coal through a basement window into the coal bin. We picked up loose pieces of coal to draw hop-scotch outlines on the sidewalk (which was the only place we had to place since we had no front or back yards.

We also had a breadman and a milkman who delivered door-to-door with their horse-drawn carts. We didn’t get a free sample from them!

There was one telephone in the front hallway of my grandmother’s house. Her phone number was 9731. As more telephones came into use, the number became 3-9731, and a bit later, it was changed to CE3-9731 (the CE stood for Central; today, it would be 613-233-9731).

My parents had the first television in the neighbourhood, and every evening, there would be a lineup of neighbours who wanted to catch a glimpse of the six o’clock news or the Honeymooners show. Television began airing programs at 6 PM each day and shut down at 11 PM, at which time Canada’s anthem, God Save the Queen, played, and the test pattern came on. Dad had to turn on the television while we ate dinner to “warm it up.” There was often the problem of burned-out tubes, which my dad would determine by taking all the television tubes out and taking them to the tube tester at the local drugstore. However, once the new tubes were in and the “rabbit ears” adjusted, we were set to go…well, that is until the picture started to roll. Oh, we’ve come so far!

In those days, the early 1950s, we spent some time living with my grandmother Gricken, and then we lived next door to her. My brother and I each slept on sofas in the living room. Mom would put us to bed in hers and Dad’s bed until it was time for them to retire, and then they would move us to the sofas. I didn’t have my own room until I was 10, and then it was only for three-and-a-half years, after which we moved to a three-story walk-up apartment where my brother and I had to share a room. That wasn’t easy!

C’est la vie! And, I’m none the worse for the wear.

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