Since we are reminiscing about being a Parker I thought I would submit my reasons why the Park has always been "My Hometown"....
I took a very circuitous route to the Park having started life in Verdun for the first 6 years, then off to NDG for 6 and St.Lambert for perhaps 3 years before arriving where I have always felt was home.
When I arrived in St. Lambert I stood out from the locals. Everyone considered me an outsider. The first day of school at St. Lambert Elementary I showed up sporting a DA, Wellington boots and a buckskin jacket ala Davey Crockett. Immediately the locals tagged me with a nickname, one of which few Parkers are aware, a name that even to this day most in St. Lambert still haven't bothered to ask what my real name was.
I hung around with the likes of Jimmy Heinz, Jimmy "Kaku" Trudeau, Donny Heinz and, considered brother Ralph a man I could depend on when needed. Other friends were John Grew, Jake Carter, Marcus Jones, the Bishops and of course Willy Jensen. On that fateful first day at St. Lambert Elementary Willy and I stood back to back, as outsiders, and took on all comers.
The highlight of my life while at St. Lambert Elementary was an essay that I wrote and was required to read at assembly. Never the academic I was asked to write a descriptive essay on a subject I was truly familiar with.... the topic of my essay " How to Play Hooky". Mr. Brigdon was so impressed by my audacity to put fact to paper that it was the first and only time I received an "A" on a paper.
When I moved to the "barracks" (I use the term with affection) which was, as we all know the first low cost housing, it gave me the opportunity to shed myself of the stigma of being "Rocky" Hawkins. In fact I doubt there many who even knew what my nickname was, and even fewer Parkers who cared. Like any teen I was apprehensive on my first day of school, the only common thread I had with the kids of Greenfield Park was David Snyder, my sisters boyfriend, Don and I had not yet struck up a true friendship. Interestingly I was accepted by those at Royal George at face value, with the exception of Janet Allen's mother of course, who thought I had wandering eyes life was really good.
My dad was a close friend of John Riley's dad. I remember them introducing John and I in an attempt to help me fit into the Park. No slight on John but he was a student with ambition and I was only in school for the social life.
Greenfield Park is one of those unique places where one forms life long associations not only with friends but with acquaintences, those on the peripheral of your intimate friends. While it is not where I grew up Greenfield Park is the place that I made lifelong friends and can with true sincerity call "My Hometown".