There was a hint of a challenge from JMcC after he named folks who formerly lived on Third in the Park. He mentioned Murray Avenue, and seemed to suggest that there could be a catalogue of families who happily (or otherwise) resided on that street. Here are some that I remember from the 1950's.
At the top of the street, right near Churchill were the Hollands. Georgia married Ken Crawley and we see them communicate through this blog from time to time, Her older brother was Buddy Holland - whom I have not seen in years, but I remember him as a cool guy - a James Dean type with whom I was always impressed cause he was at least 1 year older and in those days, age equated with wisdom.
Richard Teague was also older and I never really knew him on other than a nodding hello basis, but as we proceeded down the street we had the Parrish family, the children of whom were Beverly, Fred, Henrietta and Florence. Flo married Bruce Thompson and I was delighted to see them again at a reunion in the park in 1988. Also saw Henrietta at that time, but haven't seen Fred in years.
Accross the street was a special friend. My family moved to the Park in April 1953, and after my first night sleeping in my new home, I was standing out front wondering how life was going to be on the edge of the primeval wood. We had after all moved from Tetraultville in Montreal's east end - a much more urban setting. As I was standing there a youngster bounded up and said "hi - my name is Johnny - what's yours?" So began a friendship that lasted many years until John was taken too early.
Everyone called Brian Broden "Shorty." Those of you who remeber him will know why. Brian was always friendly and full of energy. At times he would display a vivid imagination that resulted in trouble for all of us. Across the street from my house Cathy, Charlie and Heather Comber lived.
There was an old shed (a retired chicken coop as I recall) at the back of the Comber property and Charlie's dad allowed us to play in it as a club house - and even make renovations. We somehow built a look-out capacity into the roof which allowed us to keep an eye out for villans real or imagined. Living that close to Devonshire Road, you always had to be on guard for villans who could sneak through the large grassy lots for suprise visits or attacks. Such intrusive outlaws as the infamous North Brothers, the Cobb gang or Millie Henry and her sidekick Gail Ann Taylor.
Charlie, Cathy and Heather Comber lived across the street from their paternal grandparents, who owned a large home immediately adjacent to my house which had been subdivided into flats. For a while when we first moved there Kenny, Donna and Gary Comber lived in that rambling grandparental house.
As big as that place was to my youtful eyes, the real wonder of the Comber property was the bridges and outbuildings that crossed and bordered the creek which flowed through their yard. Nothing so facinates young boys as the changes of seasons as seen through the changes in the creek.
Some winters the creek would overflow - perhaps due to ice jams - and we could skate forever on nature's rink which flooded the grounds near old St Edmund's School. Springtime brought minnows - which I took as a sign that the creek was not as polluted as people said - and maybe it could serve as a swimming hole in summer. It never did - and I suspect we are all better off for it.
Donna Comber died tragically in an accident while still very young, and I always remember Kenny as an intelligent and introspective young man. Gary was blessed (or perhaps cursed) with the nickname Bunny. I wonder if he has outgrown that moniker?
Next to the Comber house on the even-numbered side of the road, a Mr Perras owned two houses. He had two sons, the oldest of whom was Gilles. They also had tennants, and a fun lad named Simon Leblanc lived on Murray for a time in the mid 50's. The Youngs, David and (damn I can't remember the younger brother's name) his brother lived right beside that creek.
If the St Lawrence was a defining artery of our country, that creek played a similar role at the micro level of our children's neighbourhood. I will stop these Murray Avenue remenicenses at the creek - but two topics for future ramblings present themselves. Three actually - cause someone has to rmember the name of David Young's younger brother. The other two are creek stories and nicknames. It seems that our neighbourhood was rife with nicknames in a manner that no longer seems in fashion amongst the young. Recently I saw a photo of Shmo and I often think about Pudgie, Shorty and Bonehead.
What kind of legacy did those names of our childhood cause. Before this gets as long as Gone With the Wind, we'll leave Murray Avenue south of the creek, the creek itself and nicknames for another day. Best Gus
Thanks Gus R. Well written, even the spell check didn't light up...!!!!