Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Memories and fun stories

Hi Marty. A couple of photos on the blog shook up the grey matter a little

(1) John Riley's picture on today's blog of the Barr house brought back some memories. Before the Barr's, the house was the home of the Durocher family; son Robert or Roger and daughter Rejean.

One fall day a couple of us fellows from the Third Street Gang were over on "The Course" looking for golf balls and we came across Roger/Robert. He was a couple of years older than us and we individually had had a few run-ins with him. Basically he was a coward and as we began to head toward him he started firing at us with the BB gun he was carrying , hitting one of the Watmore boys in the forehead.

We chased him but he got home before we caught him. A few days later I ran into him ,again on "The Course" , and proceeded to give him a thumping, including a bleeding nose, to settle accounts. A few days later , I was leaving the Charles' property via a small path that ran through to Murray,which was almost directly opposite the Durocher(Barr) house and as I headed down Murray to my own house I felt this sharp hit on the back of my head.

I put my hand up to the sore spot and came away with fingers full of blood and realized I had been hit with a rock. I automatically turned toward the Durocher house assuming it was the cowardly Roger/Robert getting his revenge. You can imagine my surprise when I discovered that my assailant was not Robert/Roger but his sister Rejean.

(2) Norm Simard's submission of the "Suffering Counties" pics on Mon. prompted me to recall this urban myth. Apparently one of the conductors on the line was one Big John Trudeau. Once all passengers had embarked or disembarked the Montreal-bound train at the St. Lambert station , Big John would put the car in motion, set the cruise control and head to the smoking section of the car to light up and have a chat with some of the riders, returning to the conductors seat in time to let passengers off at the station on the Mtl side of Victoria Bridge.

On occasion someone would complain and Big John would get a couple of days of unpaid leave for his dangerous actions. The story also goes that Big John knew who the complainant was and deliberately left the controls when he felt the need for a long week-end holiday. What was the cruise control in those days you ask?

It was a steel ring,about two inches in diameter attached to the dashboard of the streetcar by a length of small-link chain. The accelerator for the streetcar was much like a rheostat/dimmer switch. At the top of a long shaft was an l-shaped handle which the conductor moved to speed up or slow down the vehicle. When the throttle was opened the steel ring was placed over the control knob on the handle to keep the throttle in place. Et voila , cruise control 1950's version. JMcC

Thanks John McC.

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