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Thursday, 19 February 2009

History Catches Up

By William Weatherstone of The Diesel Gypsy

In 1954, I had just returned to Toronto from the Yukon Territories and immediately searched out a job. I was quite lucky walking into my first call, a GM dealership. I was immediately hired as a stock room assistant, a truck driver and a car jockey all rolled into one. They hired another guy, Ken Hudson, to do the same work. We got along with no problem.

After working there with Ken for about six months, the monotonous, local work got to be a pain in the butt and I figured it to be time to move on to bigger and better adventures. Once a Gypsy, always a Gypsy.

A half century had past and I was well into my retirement. To keep occupied I was constructing my web site, when out of the blue came an e-mail asking if I was the same guy he worked with some 50-plus years ago. (He recognized one of my early photos on the site.)

We lived about 400 miles apart but still managed to visit in person and resurrect experiences from the past.

After the visit, he sent a photo of the village Corunna, Ontario, while passing through. It immediately kick started my memory to when I was a kid living there. I wrote him back and told him what happened to me. In response, he wrote back to me about his childhood days. Since then we are communicating with early memories, such as one of his early experiences.

Ken Hudson’s Story
When I was a wee kid, we lived on Coleman Avenue - Dawes road and the Danforth area, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

We lived six doors west of a bakery, Brandon’s bread. I used to get free hand-outs as a child. This bakery closed due to the Depression and World War Two. They had a stable with horses and wagons, etc. The feed hay was left as it was when the place closed. Yep, you guessed it right. Lots of big rats and other wee animals - skunks.

There were so many at one time they used to parade up the middle of the street. All the old neighbours would just say somebody should do something about these skunks, but nobody did.

We had a cat and a basement window under the front veranda. My sister left this window open to let cool air into the house. As well, the cat could come and go as it pleased.

Well, one night the cat and an amorous Peppy Le-Pew came home together.

Now this window was set high in the basement wall, so the cat jumped down and landed okay and then Peppy came right after his girl friend, but he had no way of getting out. The next day my sister went down to do the laundry, guess what she saw??? Yep. Peppy.

Upstairs like a flash and she locked the door to the basement. I had to see it for myself. Sure enough Peppy was there. Phew.

We called our dad who was not happy. He came home and called the humane society. An older man and a real young guy showed up and they brought a twenty-two rifle into the basement and then began arguing over who would shoot Peppy - right there in the basement.

Well, they started picking away at him and you guessed right - Peppy got very upset. He sprayed his magical odour all over the place.

Dad had a new piece of linoleum for the kitchen floor. Peppy went inside the rolled up linoleum and these guys shot it full of holes and eventually they finally got poor old Peppy.

These guys left dad a trap to carry Peppy out of the house and bury him. I had a shovel pressed into my dainty little pinkies: “Go dig a hole in the yard away from the house,” said Dad. It wasn’t quite that simple because the dirt was more like concrete.

Finally, dad got very upset and did it himself. Now the linoleum had to go out, and a very hard job of cleaning took place - peee yoo, did it stink. You could not go to sleep upstairs in the bedroom because when you shoved your head into the pillow, it smelled like you had your nose at Peppy’s butt. Oh, yuk. It took about a month for the Peppy smell start to dissipate - yes, relief.

This bakery had so many skunks we used to get big rat traps and spend afternoons catching the biggest puppies I had ever seen.

Great memories. Old, very old, Fender Ken.

(Both of our memories involved shootings. We will compare other incidents in the future. - William (Diesel Gypsy) Weatherstone.)

[EDITORIAL NOTE: All elders, 50 and older, are welcome to submit stories for this blog. Instructions are here.]

Posted by Ronni Bennett at 02:30 AM | Permalink | Email this post


Hi William,

This was a good story. It was fun reading about the skunk and cat.

Once, when I was in Catholic Grade School we had a very mean nun who made us sit on the convent steps after school as punishment. It would be cold and rainy and we had to sit there till she told us to go home.

She picked on one boy in particular. His name was Iggie (Ignatious) and his family had a big German shepherd . Iggie was often sitting on the steps and knew the Sisters had 2 cats.

The next time he was told to report to the convent steps he stopped home first and got the dog.

While he was sitting on the steps he opened the kitchen door just enough to send the dog in.

That dog saw the cats and the battle of the century ensued, They chased each other all over the convent, breaking vases and knocking over pictures and in general they caused the sisters an awful mess.

All the other sisters knew that the mean one was the cause of this retribution and Iggie heard them screaming at her to get rid of the dog but she was afraid of him and had to get Iggie in there to control the dog.

Iggie never had to sit on the steps again; and neither did any of us, thanks to him.

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