Monday, June 11, 2012

AN OLD DEPARTED BOYHOOD CHUM PUT A SMILE ON MY FACE TODAY

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BAYFIELD HAS A BUSY HARBOR EVERY SUMMER
Not sure why it is but once a year I have a tendency to wander myself about an hour & a half southwest of Bayfield to my old home town of Tavistock, Ontario.   I really don't do anything once I get there except to drive slowly around the town touching base with familiar places & old memories.  Most of the old Public School is still standing except hard to see now with a care facility built on the front of it.  But, I can see the eighth grade second story windows & that is enough to stir a host of pleasant memories.  The ground floor of the house I spent my first 14 or so years in still stands & again, many fond memories.  A Tim Horton's coffee shop now stands where the old train station was & that in turn was only a few hundred yards from our house. 
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THIS STILL STANDING OLD LUMBER STORAGE SHED CLOSE TO OUR HOUSE IS ONE OF THE MANY OLD SHEDS & BUILDINGS I PLAYED IN AS A SMALL BOY…NONE OF THAT BACKGROUND STUFF WAS THERE THEN & OUR HOUSE WAS ABOUT WHERE THOSE 2 TELEPHONE POLLS ARE YOU SEE TO THE RIGHT IN THIS PHOTO
I grew up next to the railroad tracks with steam engines being a part of my every day life for most of those 14 years.  I can still remember the sweet smell of those old engines.   Steam, coal, water grease, & oil all blended in the warm air wafting from the large black boiler.  Hissing sounds from escaping steam, voices of trainmen shouting back & forth, the shunting of train cars & the clank of metal on metal as the engine couples the coaches & train cars.  And sometimes, but just sometimes, if the engineer had a heart, he would spin the big steel wheels on the iron tracks to the delight of the little boy standing there with a big grin on his little face.  The tracks & the trains are long gone now but a few of the old lumber sheds still stand where once the hustle & bustle of flat cars on the siding would be busy unloading lumber.  I remember a cattle pen & loading dock as well but they are all gone now along with a couple tall cement grain elevators.  It was beside one of these sheds one warm Autumn night back in 1957 where my Uncle Fred, my Grandfather, my Stepfather, my Mother & I stood on the railroad tracks watching a far distant blinking object traversing it's way across the starry night sky .  It was Russia's Sputnik & I will never forget that.
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THE TRAIN TRACKS RAN JUST TO THE RIGHT OF THIS SHED TOWARDS THE CAMERA & IT WAS JUST PAST THE FAR END OF THAT SHED WHERE WE WATCHED SPUTNIK GO OVER
Every street in my old home town holds many memories for me.  Some still vividly clear while others are gradually, or quickly slipping through the hourglass.  The house where I spent most of my early & mid teens still stands.  Mixed memories there, but with time I'm hoping those memories, like others, will just become a mere pleasant spidery whiff from days long ago.
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THE HOUSE I SPENT MY TURBULENT TEEN YEARS IN & THE HOUSE KELLY & I HAD TO CLEAN OUT FROM TOP TO BOTTOM AFTER MY MOTHER WAS PLACED IN A CARE FACILITY BACK IN 04
It is the town's cemeteries that probably stir most of the memories for me.  Names on stones that are familiar as I try to put a face to people I once knew.  I was able to locate a cousin today & a boyhood chum I had last seen sometime back in the mid 60's.  Looked for another friend who I thought might have come home, located his family but not him.  I have to assume that he just hasn't made his last journey home yet.  Guess it's just a way for me to touch base & keep in touch with an era in time that almost seems more like an old black & white movie than the actual colorful reality it once was.  Things you wished you would have said to these departed folks when you had the chance & things you wish you hadn't said.  It's all there in the mind, milling about in a fog.   A trip back to the old home town stirs those faded memories & for a short time it's nice to spend a few moments once again with old friends, family members, & the towns folks who were once the movers & shakers in my life.   A nod to everyone, a smile of recognition, a word of thanks, & then I am gone again down the road, maybe to return yet another day, maybe not………………
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For an idea what life was like in a small town back in it's late 50’s, just click on my TAVISTOCK-SMALL TOWN SATURDAY NIGHT...50 YEARS AGO
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OUR BACK YARD HAS GREENED UP NICELY AGAIN THIS YEAR
It was the picture on my old boyhood Chum’s tombstone today that put a smile on my face.  It told me that he had gone on to follow his adventurous curiosity with engines, mechanical things & wheels.  No idea what kind of hobby car George had himself there but in my mind’s eye I could easily see him putting down the road with an offbeat little rig like that.  And I’ll bet he had a blast getting it up & running too.  I have touched on George in a few previous post’s over the years.  It was he & I as boys who became lost on a foggy late Autumn day Spring hike.  Couldn’t figure out our direction until we came to a set of railway tracks.  I said go left but George said go right.  He was sure of his decision so we went right.  Twenty minutes later be began to make out some familiar buildings looming out of the fog near the tracks.  We were back in Tavistock.  Another time I helped him late one night quietly push his Mom & Dad’s Volkswagen Beetle out of the garage & down the road far enough for George to start it up with the key he had snitched.  We went joyriding in the not so nearby town of Plattsville.  Neither one of us had a driver’s license & were still a few years away from being old enough to get one.  It was George who first put an old lawnmower engine on a soapbox derby car he had & actually got it running.  I still remember us working on that project for days & days & days.  It was also George & I as boys who spent many happy Saturday mornings on our living room floor putting plastic model airplanes together.  George’s family was much better off financially than my family so it was always his models he let met me help him with.  To this very day, every time I smell LePage’s glue, I immediately think of my boyhood Pal George & the many zany things we shared together.  And, thanks George, for once again putting  a smile on your old Pal AL’s face today.  Good stuff Buddy & hey, I finally got enough money saved up to buy my own plastic model airplane, but I might need a little help in putting it together OK:))
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And, I did forget to add a last line on Sunday night’s post entitled, Sometimes When I Reach The End Of The Day.  ‘I really am my own worst Umpire you know………..’   
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PHEEBS COMES RACING AROUND THE CORNER OF THE CARPORT AFTER GETTING HOME FROM A RIDE IN THE CAR WITH MOM TODAY
And, a welcome to Deb C who joined the Bayfield Bunch Blog Follower's list on Sunday.  If you can hang in there with us for the summer Deb we can take you along on down to the American Southwest with us this Fall.  The blog does get a bit more interesting once we are on the move:))
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CAME ACROSS A HERD OF WILD TURKEYS IN A DISTANT FIELD TODAY
GROANER’S CORNER:((  The Ten Commandments display was recently removed from the Alabama Supreme Court building. There was a good reason for the move. You can't post
Thou Shalt Not Steal, Thou Shalt Not Commit Adultery, and Thou Shall Not Lie
in a building full of lawyers and politicians without creating a hostile
work environment.
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- Tourists see the world, travelers  experience it.
- Home is where your pet is:))
- The only thing better than right now will someday be the memories of right  now...AL.
stargeezerguy@gmail.com

21 comments:

  1. I loved the story telling way you wrote to us today! Thanks for letting us visit your hometown!

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  2. Awesome post! Really enjoyed your trip back in time.

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  3. You know Al,that was a very nice posting. Very good story for all it's worth.

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  4. you are such a good story teller...I thoroughly enjoyed the hometown visit..I do the same thing every time we go to Cape Breton I drive around the old neighbourhood..and quietly remember...thanks for sharing

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  5. Love today's story, great memories. We went thru Tavistock twice today, guess we were not on the same streets at the same time, but never lived there. Although I did live in Plattsville for 24 years. Wonderful countryside.

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  6. nice trip down memory lane..the old friends are still in your mind even if they are not on this earth anymore..
    good game tonight!!

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  7. Memories do roll when you visit the place you grew up.

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  8. Loved your topic. I, to, every once in awhile, get the urge to revisit places lived, & lives lost.

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  9. This is why I like to follow blogger friends. I will probably never get to your little home town. But because of your wonderful pictures, and your descriptions of buildings, train tracks, and friends..I feel like I've been there. Thank you Al

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  10. Wonderful memories to share. Certainly makes me wonder more what to expect when I visit my hometown this fall.

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  11. Know what you mean about friends that have left us, In the last couple of years I have been locating guys I flew with in the navy ,invariably they tell you about others who are no longer with us,Cancer it seems is the number one culprit.I know when I spent the 3 months in my home town caring for my sister in 2010 how this is brought home,Yes, you can go back, but it isn't the same, and a lot of people aren't here anymore. I feel like with the railroad and the remembrances, we probably both had a great childhood.Be safe out there Al..

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  12. Interesting Blog again Al, little different than where I was raised. Our ranch was 45 miles fron town out in the sandhills....pretty quiet out there and not many people around....

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  13. Very nicely written retrosective on things from your past for this blog. Looking inside is not always so easily done. You did a great job, both with the written word and your eye, as always!

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  14. I read your comment to new blogger, Deb C and thought...I do not know of a day that your blog is not interesting!

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  15. Ahhh you CAN go back again! I also agree with Nan, your blog is ALWAYS interesting!

    I get up to visit my old hometown often enough, but also found a FaceBook group called Growing up in Iron River, which lets all of us all over the world go back and reminisce. We share photos, stories, and even updates on various members of the community as they pass away. Right now a picture of a bakery case full of donuts and delights is making the headline, from about 1975. Ahhh the memories of stops off before highschool at that bakery.

    ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~
    Karen and Steve
    (Our Blog) RVing: Small House... BIG Backyard
    http://kareninthewoods-kareninthewoods.blogspot.com

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  16. Wonderful post!!
    My husband is a retired railroader...he still lives and breathes it!

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  17. that's great stuff... superb.
    mark

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