Tuesday September 14th 2021
Well it has happened again, I have rode this big ball called earth around the sun one more time. And it seems to me like the speed of rotation is increasing, and while I know it isn’t, it still seems to be almost a dizzying speed to me, and now I have completed a whole seventy revolutions.
So on a Friday morning in September, I was born at Woodstock General Hospital in Woodstock Ontario, into a farming family from the 4 concession of East Oxford township near the village of Oxford Center in the county of Oxford. I was the oldest son of George and Shirley, I have one sister Heather, and two brothers Stephen and Scott. Both my patents have now passed and my brothers and sister still live in Woodstock.
And as I enter my seventh decade of life, I just thought it was time to reflect a little on my life so far… as we have come to realize from our travels, is that every person has a story, the story may be of their struggles and hardships, or it could be of their accomplishments, it could be of their career, or their family, or of their addictions, or downfalls. But we all have a story to tell, be it good, or bad, it doesn’t matter, because it is all just history now, water under the bridge as they say. The past can not be changed, only your desires right now can add a new direction or a new chapter to your story.
My story has had lots of changes in direction, some were for the better, and some that were not. But I do understand that only I can decide what direction it takes now, how the next chapter will unfold, oh sure there are always things that can change our path and it could be a health issue or an influence of a loved one. They all come into play, and at seventy I have now outlived my father, he passed at sixty nine, suddenly and very unexpectedly of a heart attack, and for some reason I had never expected to make it this far, so now I kind of feel like I’m just kicking along in some uncharted territory.
I know lots of people much younger than myself that have many more medical issues, and touch wood, other that one little go with prostrate cancer which was addressed with surgery, I am pretty much good to go. I take no regular prescription medication, and don’t have to check off many boxes on the insurance questionnaire each year for our travel insurance. So I consider myself lucky there, as my father had high blood pressure and I have low blood pressure, my cholesterol has always been border line high but is better since we left Niagara, and I have to assume it was my love for fried food that caused those spikes. Oh there are lots of aches and pains on any given day, and I joke that you never know what is going to hurt till you get up on any given day. At times (well most times) my joints snap and crack, but I’m sure that’s just from eating too many Kelloggs rice crispies as a kid, you know that “snap crackle and pop” thing.
Oh I have had lots of work and baseball injuries, knees, fingers, hips and of course back, all with a little arthritis now but nothing too serious, and I think keeping active has kept a lot of that at bay, I walked the golf course carrying my clubs until recently, and while walking nine is still not too bad, by the end of eighteen holes I’m pretty much crippled for a few hours (or a day) at least. And working at the park has been good for keeping both Laurie and myself active, too active some days but they are short lived a few days here and there, with the majority being opening and closing of the park
While I reflect on some of the changes that I have experienced, I haven’t seen the changes in this world that some have seen, I have seen enough to make me sit back and go hmmmm. But I think of what my father George, or his father Bert, had experienced and how the world had evolved with Bert being born in 1900 and George in 1928 and myself in 1951.
I can remember the purchase of the families first television, a big square wooden box with a picture tube and circuitry full of glass tubes, and the radio that had served as our gateway to the world as well as a form of our entertainment.
I remember the purchase of our families first television, it had two dials one to turn it on which also controlled the volume and of course the other dial was to change the channel, there were numbers from 2 thru 13. It was black and white and we got four or five stations at best. There was a little door between the dials that were the adjustments for the picture tube, and no one touched them accept dad and the TV repair guy.
The Kitchener station was 13, the London station was 10, CBC Toronto was station 5, 2 & 4 were Erie stations and if the weather was good we might get those stations as well, certainly not like the choices today. And of course changing the station meant turning the antenna to the correct direction. This was a task done by hand so just outside the bathroom window was the pipe that George had mounted the antenna on, so someone would sit on the throne in the bathroom and spin the antenna while the person in the living room watched for the best picture quality possible, and on a windy day there could be lots of adjustments to be made, and I was the TV remote until remotes were invented, can you imagine having to get up to change the channel or adjust the volume … what a barbaric society we lived in back then.
I remember the Fuller brush man coming to the farm selling brushes our of a leather display bag of samples, and there were a number of styles that would be purchased for cleaning the milking equipment in the milk house as well as a variety of brushes my mother would buy for use in the house as well. And this brush pictured here was the one we used to scrub the milk cans after every use so as to reach the bottom corners. Fuller brush was a Canadian company from Nova Scotia, that still is in business today although the traveling salesmen no longer visits homes or farms.
Or the Rawleigh man who would come by peddling salves, ointments and other home remedy items from the trunk of his car, we used these products in our household all the time for whatever was ailing you at the time. I was amused to find their website and read the list of suggested uses for their ointments. They also carried a line of household spices, and while our household was not a large consumer of spices I do remember the vanilla bottle.
Our phone was mounted on the wall in the kitchen, it had a rotary dial because touch tone had not be invented yet. We were on a “party line” which meant that all our neighbours on the road were on the same phone line, so when the phone rang you had to listen for the length and number of rings. Our ring was two long rings as opposed to any number of ring combinations, it also meant when you picked up the phone to call someone, there could be a conversation already on the line, or if you were making a call anyone on the line could listen in on your conversation, and yes it happened regularly.
The photo I picked is very similar to what we had, but we didn’t have a fancy curly cord, no ours was a fabric coated cord that was only about three feet long, and I can remember a wooden kitchen chair by the phone for those long conversations. Our phone number was 7-7341, and the fact that I remember that is scary in itself, I remember the phone was rented from the phone company and if we wanted a longer cord it was so many cents a month extra to rent it.
Quite a change from the new i12 Apple phone in my pocket today, that can do so much more than I even realize, I also remember installing a car phone in my dads Lincoln, it was the size of a small duffle bag and cost a small fortune to make a call at the time, oh yes, how times have changed
Well dawn is breaking on this historic day, and now that I have skipped or tripped down memory lane here for the last few hours, I have to make the decision whether to stay up, or try to go back to bed. The last few mornings I’ve been waking up at 3 am and don’t know why, but it has given me the opportunity to finish some blogs and that could be a good or bad thing depending on your outlook.