Friday, November 28, 2008

Empire & Churchill Memories

I just had to jump on the band wagon about the building on the corner of

Empire and Churchill.


I was born in 1939 and move to Greenfield Park at the age of one from

St. Lambert.

As a young child I enjoyed visiting old folks, I loved to hear their

stories. (Wish I could remember them all.)


Two of the folks I visited at about the age of 6 was the two spinsters

sisters (I think were sisters) who lived upstairs in the building on the

corner of Empire and Churchill that you have been talking about. It was

across from the little candy store and home of in my young eyes a real

old lady who was a gentle soul. I just loved going in there to buy penny

candy from her big glass jars.

Later Brenda Barfoot and I at the age of I think 12 baby sat for her

sister who rented the upstairs flat; then Bill Barfoot bought the

building, did a wonderful job renovating the down stairs and moved dearly loved old candy store.


The two sweet old fashion ladies I visited are still a mystery to me. I

have tried to find out for many years just who were they and what were

their names??? I remember climbing up the stairs from the door on Empire

street and them looking down at me making sure I did not fall. One of

the ladies gave me one of her old dolls, I no longer have the doll but I

still have the little dress that I guess would now be a 100 years old.

Please help solve my mystery.....just who were those ladies.... what

were their names and ages???


I also remember a few of the families who lived down stairs. One family

I remember had small children, the mother said she worried about them

going onto Churchill. I think they put up a little fence to keep them in

the back yard.

I don't remember anyone living there being sleazy just I think some of

the families may have been poor. Maybe the sleazy people came later.

I also do remember when Mrs Brown proudly open the library and how hard

she work keeping it going until they open the wonderful new up to date

library across the road on the corner.


I sure remember the Best's home as to me in my young eyes was a scary

old house with lots of old plants in the front porch and was told not to

visit or brother them. The scary man (in my eyes) would sit out in his

porch and smoke cigars; as you walked pass the house you could smell it

and he would just look at you.

One day I did venture into the house to visit his mother who was very

shy, she showed me all her plants and told me how much she loved them,

out in the back yard it look like a jungle one could get lost in and

never be found or you could just drown in the ditch and float away into

the St. Laurence. When I went to leave her son just smiled at me and

muttered something. From then on I would say hello to them when I walk

by as I now knew the were just plane folks just a little shy.


Years later I remember passing the Best's home to see them digging and

smashing the house into the ground, toilet and all. I remember telling

my dad, "One day someone will be digging there and up will come the

kitchen sink."


I also remember watching the later owned by the Garrett family house

being built. I was friends with the little girl whose dad I think was

building the house..... she was a only child. They did live there for a

while then sold it to the Garrett family.

Eddie Shrimpton may remember the family also the two old spinsters

ladies as he is a little older than me.


Also like so many others I remember standing and trying to keep warm

against that brick building.... then running across the road to catch

the street car. I would only stand in the old shelter when it would


A few of us would hung out in that shelter when the skating shack was

full. We also would walk on the benches that were built around the room

with our skates on and sing or yell songs to try and keep warm. Also try

and carve our names in the wood walls. Who built that shelter and when

was it demolished? I don't have my book with me.


I have wonderful memories of growing up in Greenfield Park, but also sad

and hurtful feelings about going to school in that era. I still keep in

touch with most of my old childhood friends and feel so blessed to still

have them. Now if I do have to go back to the Park I don't really feel

at home, also find it sad to read or see what is now going on in the

Greenfield Park.




Beverley Alexander / Vye


Thanks Bev

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