Friday, April 13, 2012

I bought the house in 1946. I showed Eileen the house and asked her if she thought it would be a good place to live. She thought it would be okay. Actually, before I asked her if she liked the house, I had already bought it. I lied to my father about the price of the house because he would have thought I was crazy if I had told him the real price. In those days, people wanted to live close to the city, and they didn't have much interest in being on the water. Eileen was living in my father's house on Cedar Crescent. He had bought it while I was in Europe. She was a friend of my sister Marg. I had never met her. The first time I walked into Dad's house, I passed Eileen on the staircase. She claims at that moment she thought I'd be a great catch. When we got married, she thought we'd live on Cedar Crescent until we found a good spot. For our honeymoon, we rented a boat to go to Bowen Island for the day. The engine failed halfway to Snug Cove, so I had to row back to Horseshoe Bay.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

A writer for the Vancouver Sun used to drink in the Palace Hotel which is now Funky Winkerbean's Pub. We had the beer business. One day when I was running the pub one of the waiters, Brownie, a great guy, said he had two important things to teach me. First, he said, always carry a cigar in your pocket. People who don't feel comfortable buying you a beer might buy you a cigar. Second, when the Sun reporter is sleeping, don't wake him up. He's writing a column. The writer lived in West Vancouver, near the Presbyterian Church at the foot of 26th. One day he walked down to the beach, tied a bottle of rye around his neck, and swam out to sea. I guess he needed the rye in case he lost his nerve and thought about swimming back to shore. Or maybe in case he started to get cold.

Brownie had an impressive car. I think it was called a Marmon. It was big and fancy. Often he would ask me to cover for him at work so he could make a few extra dollars driving for a funeral company. He would leave the Palace around noon and be back in time for the afternoon crowd.

We used to catch the street car up to the top of Lonsdale Avenue then walk up to the top of Grouse Mountain. We'd be about twelve. On the way up the mountain we'd meet people carrying parts of a stove. You could take an iron stove apart. They would be carrying the parts up to a cabin on the mountain. On our way home we'd walk down Lonsdale to the ferry instead of taking the street car. We'd save the five cent fare. My brother Ken and Irene drove up to the top of Grouse Mountain with a friend George Luft. He was a chicken farmer from Morgan Hill in California. The road was pretty rough. In those days, if you rented a car, you had to agree not to drive it up the mountain. One time when we hiked up, there was a group of four Land Rovers at the top. When George drove up you could get a bumper sticker that said you had driven up the mountain. The sign was attached to the bumper with wire. He forgot to pick one up and was really disappointed. I told him I would get him one. I hiked up the mountain and got the sticker. George was leaving town the same day I hiked up, so I made arrangements with him to leave the sign hanging from the railing at the north end of First Narrows Bridge. He picked it up when he left town.

Friday, April 30, 2010

At signal corp in Kingston there was a fellow named Brown. He had an old car and he used to give guys rides to Toronto on the weekends. I went with him once. He would charge the guys who went with him for gas. He would run out of gas sometimes and have to put cleaning oil in the tank. With gas rationing, no one could get enough gas to drive to Toronto every weekend. He always had something on the go, something for sale, maybe gas or cleaning oil, sometimes cheap cigarettes. I didn't see him once we went to England. I heard he was captured and spent the last part of the war in a camp. He was probably behind the lines selling cigarettes.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Bobby Mills was a good friend of my brother Ken. He built the Admiral Hotel on East Hastings, out toward the exhibition. Bobby always stayed up New Year's Night. He stayed awake for midnight to listen to Guy Lombardo's band play out the old year. Lombardo's New Year's Party from New York was popular on the radio. One New Year's, while waiting to hear Lombardo play Auld Lang Syne, Bobby had a heart attack and died. From then on Ken never listened to Lombardo on New Year's.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

We used to take the Hollyburn ferry to the North Shore and hike out to Whytecliffe park. Sometimes we would walk along the railway tracks. The train didn't run during this time. It was when I was fourteen or fifteen. If we wanted to catch a ride we would walk along Marine Drive and get a ride easily. The walk along Marine was easy because along each side of the road there was a strip of concrete. It was surprisng to see it covered up by blacktop. Along the road one of the few houses we'd see on the waterfront was the one now for sale for 7 million dollars, near West Bay. There wasn't much else on the water, the entire way to Whytecliffe Park. Captain Snoddy built the house in 1929. He was a harbour pilot who was fired when he ran a ship aground. He had been drinking. At Whytecliffe we'd camp overnight under the water tower, then hike home the next day.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

After the War, I visited Dad on Skye. He had been there for a few months and I was on leave from my outfit that was stationed in Holland and waiting to be shipped back to Canada. I took a bit of a chance leaving them as any day we could have been sent home. I got back to Holland before they left. We returned on the Queen Mary, or maybe the Queen Elizabeth. I can't remember. I know I've travelled on both boats. Once going over to Europe and the other returning to Canada. My dad was stuck in Europe. He had to wait until the troops all got home before he could sail home himself. While I was with Dad on Skye, a friend of his and I, along with Dad, visited Dunvegan Castle and the McCrimmon Cairn. While we stood by the cairn, a McCrimmon stepped from the house on the hillside and began piping. The McCrimmons are legendary pipers.