Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Those were the days my friend

Posted by Hello
This picture was taken sometime in the early 40's. This is my family...goofing off. (and no, they didn't come from Cuba) On top from left to right is my Uncle Frank ... (Luigi Pasquale) as he was known. Next is my Uncle Oscar (Moses was his nickname)...and next to him is my "daddy"...Ed .. he's looking pretty cool, with his hat tilted on one side and his fancy vest.

Bottom row, my Auntie Kay... I never got to meet her, she died of diabetes before I was born. Next to her (the blonde bombshell) is my "MOM"...hamming it up and beside her is my fav Auntie Betty...they are all sisters. Imagine years after that, she gave me shit for wearing my skirts too short...maybe it was my hotpants...whatever!!

They are all standing on the front steps of my Grandma's house in Winnipeg. I have so many wonderful memories of that house. I started thinking today when I posted the pic, how diverse the world was then...and how they all met up with each other. My Uncle Frank was the son of Italian immigrants, who lived up the street from my Grandma's house, my Auntie Betty met him one day after he had thrown a snowball at her on the street. My Uncle Oscar, was an immigrant from Germany and had moved here before the war started with his parents. He met and married my Auntie Anna (who is not in the picture).

My mom and dad were Mennonites from Southern Manitoba. They met in Altona, where my grandma and grandpa used to live before they moved to Winnipeg. Mennonites, Italians and Germans...what a melting pot that was!! We had some crazy times.

Grandma lived in the North End of Winnipeg, where most immigrants settled when they moved to Manitoba. I think there was a different nationality in almost every house down the street. Jews, Poles, Ukranians, Germans, Chinese ...you name it. I think my Grandma and Grandpa were the only Mennonites on the block tho. I remember when the Italian Fruit man would go up and down the streets with his horse and cart selling fruit. There was a "Man" for everything, there was the fruit man, the ice man, the coal man, the policeman, the postman..

Grandma and I spent wonderful summer afternoons sitting on the front veranda talking and eating bing cherries! Grandma had really long grey hair, which she always wore braided and then curled up in a knot in the back of her head. I guess she only washed her hair once a week or so, and if we (my cousins and I) were lucky enough to be visiting at the time of the washing, she would slowly unbraid her long hair, then brush up all the waves... then yell boo! and scare the bejesus out of us...she looked like a Witch!!..we would always beg her to do it over and over again...I guess we liked being scared shitless...sometimes she took out her false teeth to make it even scarier.

My family were the only one's who did not live in the BIG CITY...we lived in Altona a small town about 75 miles away. We were sorta the Beverly Hillbillies of the family!!...What my cousins took for granted living in the city when I was young, was always unbelievable to me when I visited them. There was running water, toilets that flushed, parks, kiddy pools, really big stores, buses, movie theatres, and later TV... the list goes on. In the country we lived without most of that, until the mid 50's. Of course we lived in a Mennonite town where anything "worldly" was usually not well tolerated. My parents however, were not stonch Mennonites, and broke a lot of the traditions. They smoked and drank ocassionaly, and partied some with there friends. But, it was always well known in town, who the good and the bad guys were.

The best times of course in my memories are going to Winnipeg to see Grandma and Grandpa and the cousins aunts and uncles. On a Saturday night after Dad got off work at the Co-op ....we all hopped in the the ole Merc. with the suicide doors and took off to Winnipeg. My brother and I of course had a lot of back seat problems...there was this dividing line...my side..your side...don't cross that line you little bogger! I of course decided my line was a little larger than his...as I was older...but then he was smart enough to realize that didn't matter, size was size...(he was old enough by now that I couldn't bribe him with rabbit shit disguised as black balls anymore)..different blog. So for 75 miles we would be farting around defining our space......until.....Dad put on brakes ...and then Dad's hand comes over to the back waving around... and is yelling...DO YOU KIDS WANT TO GET OUT AND WALK TO WINNIPEG?... oops....aaaah no..."but he started it"...."I don't care who started it ...just stop it"!!!... Okay, already, phewww I not walking to Winnipeg, so we settle down for a few miles by playing "I spy"... I say"I spy" something yellow...Garry( my bro) can't figure it out for miles and miles...and he's telling me I'm faking....and another fight is about to break out, just because he can't get it...finally I have to tell him after he gives up...it's the label on Dad's beer bottle between his legs!!!..yes, Dad always had a beer or two going to Winnipeg. How politically incorrect that would be today....Garry and I would be in some kind of kid's shelter!! Family Services would have just gobbled us up!!.. It was just something that was acceptable in those days...my dad was never drunk...he sipped two beers while driving to the city.....but we live in a different world today..and have probably a thousand more cars on the road to hit now..if we were even impaired.

Just a note on the car...THE MERC...with the suicide doors...some will know what I am talking about, but the youngsters won't..... the back door were flush with the front doors..they were backwards actually...soooooooooooo...if you had a really old car....and were going about 60 miles an hour..which was fast...air would actually push the back door open if they were not secured tightly...and most weren't..if latches were old and worn..and most didn't even have locks... and there was two times I remember going to Winnipeg, that when these door flew open at 60 miles an hour...my brother and I acutally shut the fuck up....while we were pissing our pants... My Dad fixed it though...he welded the back doors shut. I think he wished he could weld our mouths shut too...but he being the nice daddy he was....he just told us again and again...DO YOU WANT TO WALK TO WINNIPEG?...oops...not really... lets play "I spy"...

So, the moral of this story is....a daddy needs two beers going on a road trip with children...


Special K said...

OK, you're starting to freak me out: I also grew up in the North End!

What a fabulous picture, and props to Daddy for laying down the law while downing a couple of road jars.

Joan said...

Hey...it was 537 Alfred Avenue. Unfortunately, the area has gone down the tubes, the house is still partially there, but ya can't recognize it ... makes me so sad.


Anonymous said...

I love stories like this. :)

~Andie Pandie

Anonymous said...

I love stories like this. :)

~Andie Pandie

Joe said...

Hey girl, what a plesent suprise you are! A new friend way North! Joan thank you for stopping by. You have a wonderful post. The pix reminds me of my family. I love to listen to stories like that. Some how it makes me feel part of the story. Please come back often K!

Special K said...

As I remember it, Alfred was kinda dilapidated even by the 70s. I grew up at 452 Anderson (a block away from St. John's High School), but my family moved from there in 1988. I haven't been by the old 'hood in ages, so I have no idea how the place is holding up.

Mary Lou said...

That was a fun trip down memory lane!! We dudnt have a car like that, we had an old 49 Ford, then a 54 Nash! but everything else rings true!! except it wa going to Long Beach from San Diego to see my Grandparents. Back when hiway 1 was deserted, just tiny little small towns and then nothing. Today the road is full from here to there.