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Memories of My Childhood


These are some Memories that I can now remember of my Childhood

My Grandmother Anakin used to make me a lot of clothes when I was small, and the knitted dress that I have on in this picture, she made for me.

Grandma and Grandad Anakin

Grandads Fishpond

I remember going on a 2 mile or more hike with my brothers and friends from next door, out to a woods (called the Hundred Acres) each spring. We would trudge through the farmers fields trying not to step on the new rows of crops, and travel along the fence lines to the next concession that led to the road that would take us to our great playgrond. We would take a lunch with us to eat there, and climb on the fallen trees that had come down from the various storms. We would look for all the spring wild flowers, look for any frogs and animals that we could find, play in the swampy bog. We were all in brownies and cubs so we knew what to look for. We always had to get out for the first holiday like Good Friday, and May 24th (which it always seem to rain) But of course my kids were not allowed to do these things. By then all the woods were posted no trespassing.(And it would have been too dangerous to let your kids do that)

I remember when we were young, there was no recycling then, and we would go arround the neighbourhood and collect newspapers and bundle them up, and collect old iron and put it on Bobs wagon and take it down to the junk yard, for them to wiegh up and pay us the few nickels that we would get. One day my two brothers were taking a load down to the yard, that was about 5 blocks away and when they went by this particular house, one of the girls came out and being mischievious pushed the wagon over with all of the junk, and I happened to be outside and I went down the 3 houses to see what was going on and we got into a real good hair pulling match. She was older than me but our parents had to separate us. She never bothered them again.

Bob had a paper route and sometimes he took on other routes across the river, and Dad and I used to have to go and help him deliver the papers. I remember having real bad snow storms that the snow was so deep that you couldn't walk through it. Bob and I would shovel out tunnels in the front yard. We had a ball. But our winters arn't that bad anymore.

Back row= Florence Crowder, Louise and Joyce Wilcox, Carol, front is Larry Wilcox and brother Bob Wood.

I remember going to Lake Erie to my Grandma and Grandpas cottage, and swimming in the lake and playing in all the sand that we had then. We would go for long walks down the lake sometimes paddling in the water and sometimes swimming part of the way. We would come across a fallen tree jeting out in the water and would have to swim around them. We would go down to Ereau where they had a long pier that the fishermen would fish from. Then the lake frieghter the "Alexander Leslie" would come in and unload coal. It has since been turned into a marina for pleasure boats. The lake also can not be walked along as the lake with its big storms over the past 45 years has washed a lot of the cottages out and the beaches have gone. The cottagers that are left have had to pour cement and bring big concrete blocks in to protect the cottages from the storms. I remember when they first started trying to protect the cottages. They brought in big spillers and drove long spilles into the lake to keep the water back. My father used to pour cement every summer infront of the cottage. Making new padios every year as the one from the year before would sink. We would dive into the water bringing up rocks to throw up on the shore to help. We did this for many years. When my grandparents died, Mom and Dad bought the cottage, but after a few years it just got to be to much for them to keep it up. They sold the cottage and bought a camper and started touring the country. It is a sad sight to see what is left of the cottages along the Dyke Rd. and the beautiful beach it once had.

BEFORE and AFTER the big storms

I remember listening to the radio with my father to the Joe Lewis fights. Going to the Sr. Maroons Hockey games with Dad. When the playoffs came we had to line up to just get standing room tickets. Mom would go over early to stand in line until the boys came home from school and they would take over until dad got there to get the tickets when they went on sale.

This is the house that my father had built and where the car is used to be a big Pear tree.

I remember when I was young we had a big old pear tree by the house(we loved to climb it)and one day a baby bird fell out of its nest. My Aunt was there and wanted to drown it as she said the mother wouldn't accept it after I had picked it up. I was screeming and running backwards in my bare feet (as I still go bare footed) and stepped on a rusty rim from an old barrel, splitting the heal open and I remember the meat hanging out. Went and had it stiched up and a tetnis shot. I dont know if they drowned the bird or not.

I remember in 1946 Lord Row Allan then the chief of scouting for the British Empire, came to town and we had over 1000 cubs, scouts, brownies, and Guides gathered at Tecumseh Park, to greet him.( this park was where the indian chief Tecumseh was shot, in the war against the states and they took his body down the river to be buried).

At that time we were all in scouting not like it is now adays. My brothers Bob and Jack went on to be leaders. I was Akala for the cubs and ended up having to divied my group up into two nights as there were so many boys that wanted to join.

Bob went on to be a scout leader and rover leader. My two girlfriends came and joined me to help run the 2 packs. We would take them on bus trips, like to the Detroit Zoo,


to the area scout camp for weekends. They had moved an old army baricks to the campground, and we had to sleep inside as the cubs wern't allowed to sleep outside like the scouts could.

Scout Camp

In these days the newspaper seemed to be always looking for some pictures of different events (not like today) to put in the paper. It seemed like there always was a picture of someone in the family in the paper. Me being a cub leader, and in the YMCA for youth activities, and the Teen Town at the Memorial Community Centre. I have a pile of pictures in my scrapbook. Brother Bob in all the athletic meets for school and winning all kinds of ribbons and trophys. Jack and Les competed in field days too, and were in hockey and soccer. Jack in about 1950 went to the Royal Winter Fair in the Square Dance Competition, with the group from the Community Centre and came in 2nd competing against teams from the east coast.

When we were young we would have parades for all holidays but unlike now where we have big bands come to town and big floats, we had to be inovative and decorate our bikes and wagons, and doll buggies. My mother used to make me costumes, and decorate my doll buggy, and later I would decorate my bicycle. This would be the war years.

In these war years our toys were made out of wood. My Dad loved to work with woodworking and would make me all kinds of toys (my mother says everything a little girl would want). I remember the table and benches like in the restraunt, and a swing glidder like a duck. He made the boys their toys and a pedal car. My Dad had built our house and I lived there untill I got married.

Dad going out to his garden

Bob, Betty and Doreen Anakin and Carol in our backyard.

We used to have a long lot behind our house and dad would have a big garden. He would even rent extra lots to have more garden. He had fruit trees and bee hives, and a chicken coop and rabbit hutches. My brother Bob would pretend to be superman by jumping off the roof with a sheet. Mom would can everything that she could, and we had a root celler to put the fresh veggies for the winter. My brothers would go out with their wagon selling the veggies to the nieghbours. I am often reminded of the time that I wanted a peach out of the tree, and my brother climbed the tree to get me the one that I wanted out at the end of the branch. Well he fell and broke his collerbone.
Mom was a craft person (guess that is where I got it from) and loved to make all kinds of new things. She took classes for making leather works, belts and wallets with the fine carvings, and Dad made the tools for her, as he was a Tool and Die Maker. She made copper plates and trays. She made jewelery out of sequens and with shells. She would glue shells together making pictures on black velvet, and Dad would make the frames for her and frame them. We had a Market Square, and my brother and I would go down and rent a table, selling for Mom and Dad, and the boys would take the jewelery from house to house selling them too. Mom learned so good that she started teaching the crafts at the Homemakers Club at the Community Centre.

Dad watching Mom work with the shells as displayed in the magazine for the "International Harvest" where Dad worked

When we were young you had to find ways to play without all the toys that they have now. My two girlfriends (sisters) from next door had a playhouse that their father had made for them and we would often sleep out in there. We would dress up in old clothes from our moms, and take old curtains and drap them arround us, and moms high heels, and prance arround the neighbourhood.

I remember when I was about 13 we used to go roller skating a lot. There was a roller skating rink on a wood floor over the union hall, and they rented the skates out to us. There was also one outside on the river bank with a cement floor. So we were going about 3 nights a week skating. They used to play a lot of waltzes to skate to and everytime I hear a song like that, I remember the good old days. We would go ice skating on the curling rink, but my ankles were too weak to ice skate, and I would have to stop after every round and loosen up the skates, and then tighten them up again and go around again. I did much better roller skating. We used to go down the street to a newly paved road with the black top, and it was real nice to skate down there. Our road wasn't paved then.

In those days we had no bus service and had to walk or ride our bike everywhere we wanted to go. Our school was about a mile and half away and it was about 3 miles for us to get up town. We would walk up to the main street for the shows, and like teens of now adays, look for friends. We used to ride our bikes a lot. We didn't have the 10 speeds then, it was all peddle power. We would peddle out to the lakes to go swimming. Sometimes it would be to Mitchels Bay on Lake St. Clair about 15 miles away. Sometimes to Rondeau Park on Lake Erie, which is about 24 miles away.

Grandma and Grandad Wood

When I was a litle girl I remember my grandparents Wood, taking me to the Indian Pow Wow at Walpole Island. I can remember all of the beautiful costumes they wore. I have never been back for another Pow Wow since, even though we Did live a few miles away from the Island for 15 years. I have been on the island to sell Tupperware to house parties though.

This is the brothers Wood my Uncles George and Joe and my father Jack when they were in the army.

We lived next door to my Grandparents and they would have a lot of family gatherings with all my cousins gathering. Dad had 3 sisters and two brothers and they lived locally except the one uncle did eventually move to London after he came back from the war. The 3 brothers all joined the army. I remember seeing the Northern Lights back then while we were sitting out front. They have never been as beautiful as that night that I can remember, covering the whole sky and not just the north skys. We saw what looked like a eskimo and a slede going across the sky, as if he was on an ice field. We watched it for a long time as it went across the sky.
Grandad Wood had just as long a lot as we did 250 ft. I believe. He had more fruit trees than we did and a small garden and at the back of the lot was a chicken coop where he raised chickens and rabbits. So through the depresion years and then the war years we had a good supply of food. At that time we wern't in the city limits so there wasn't any restrictions on what animals you could raise.

We used to have an ice box in those days, and would get our blocks of ice from the ice truck that came arround, and when we saw it coming we would run out and get the slivers of ice that were chisaled off the blocks when the iceman took the block of ice into the house and put it in the icebox for us. It was like a candy treet for us. I understand that the ice was cut out of the river up north of the city limits and stored in a ice house for the season so we would have ice for the summer. The river had to be a lot cleaner than it is now, probably with out all the polution from factories etc then. We also had wagons come arround selling veggies and fruit and I can remember the big muskmellens that seamed to us so cheap now and they were so good.

This is my Grandmother looking on at her children at Aunt Eleanors wedding, husbands and wives.

I remember going to Bingos with my Grandma Anakin (they didnt have big halls like they do now) It was the womens lodges and church that put them on, so there wern't as many people there then. When the caller called O 66, he would always say clickety click, and to this day when I am at a bingo when they call out O 66, I will repeat it with clickety click. We would have big family gatherings on the Anakin side of the family too, with Santa coming at Christmas and giving out presents. We were a close family back then before my grandparents died, (which wasn't until after my children were born). Two of my Aunts moved away after they got married. Mom had two sisters and three brothers. I would go on the train to go and visit the aunts in the summer holidays. I remember one trip that my cousine Shirley and i went to Oshawa to visit with my aunt and uncle and on the way home we stoped at Toronto and traded our train tickets in for bus tickets so we would have some money to buy something with. I often remember that bus trip home as we stoped at every little village and i got sick from the ride. I dont think that I traveled that way ever again. I don't know how we got so brave at that young of an age 13 and 14.

I would go and stay with my Aunt and Uncle quite often in London (as my mother says she spoiled me). They took me to a dance at the arena one sat night and I met up with some nice kids from a Toronto University that were in town for the big football game. They asked my aunt if they could take me home and they said yes. Well we didn't know until we got outside that it had gotten foggy and it was quite a trip home as I had to give then directions on where to go.One of the boys had to lay on the hood of the car so that he could tell the driver when to make a turn, and I remember when we came into the fork in the road we ended up infront of the gas pumps. It was a little scarry and I remember that everytime I see a foggy night.
One night my aunt and uncle took me to a dance at a outide dance hall. Wonderland Gardens. A beautiful place on the Thames River and where Guy Lombardo and his brother Victor Lombardo got their start. Mom and Dad came down to the dance to meet us that night. Well dad asked me for a dance, and we went out on the dance floor and he was wearing me out with his fast feet, and I wanted to stop after a few dances and he wouldn't let me. So I walked off of the floor and did he ever get mad at me. "No woman has ever walked off of the floor on him before" I dont think that I ever danced with him again, even though we went to many dances where they were. They used to have a sat. night dance at the community centre called the "Hi Nieghbour" dance. In those years there was no drinking alowed (unless someone would sneek out to the car to get a drink.) This dance went on for many years until they closed it down in favour of renting the hall out for weddings and functions that had a licence for drinking. Mom and Dad would love to square dance and the callers would call about 3 sets of squares each night.When they called for a square a lot of people would gather up arround dads group to watch him do his step dances. He did it different than most everyone else did. He would skip while he taped going arround in the circles. I loved to do it but most of my friends were not into square danceing. I had a girlfriend that we would love to Polka everytime one of them were called and we would swing arround that big hall and have a great time. After this dance closed mom and dad joined a group called the 4 counties square group and each sat. they would travel to the other halls and dance, in the villages halls or school rooms. Sometimes they would make a weekend out of it by taking their trailer, and the same group still do but most of the ones that were there when mom and dad were have passed on. We know this as we would see the group when we went camping at Hickory Grove.

I had many part time jobs when I was a young teen. Along with babysitting like most girls do I had a job in a dime store as a clerk and soda jerk. I also worked at the Pyronon Ballroom (dance hall.) I started out as a coat check girl and moved onto the bar. My mother used to work in the kitchen for the banquets, doing the cooking and I worked serving on the banquets. I met many big bands there and got their pictures and autographs. This was the day of the big bands. When I left school I got a job with the Bell Telephone Co. as a switchboad operator, this was the time when every call had to be personally answered with "Number Please" and we had to put the plug from the incoming call to the number that they wanted, and wait until we saw that they hung up to pull the plug out and disconnect them. It was fun when you knew who was on the line and you could say hello to them but not let the superviser catch you. I had to leave that job as it interfeired with my leading the cub pack as they wanted me to work a lot of evenings. I then got a job as a receptionist at a surgens Dr. Office. He didn't have that many patients coming in so I had lots of time to chrochet in my spare time. I then went onto work the office at Western Frieght lines dispatch, where I met my husband.