After my mother married my father, the two of them moved to Hamilton, Ontario to start a new life. They had only been married a year, when I came along, then my brother the next year, and my other brother the following year, my sister then came five years later. To say the least my mom was pretty burned out and lonely since my father worked three shifts and most weekends. To ease her pain, my dad would take all of us to her mom’s most Sundays. I believe the only Sunday we would miss, would be when he worked afternoons.
I loved going to my grandmother’s house, and I was given the added bonus of being taken over to my Great Aunt Teddie’s (short for Theodora) house two blocks away, where I could comb my two older cousin’s hair over and over again. My grandmother was an amazing women, she worked six days a week and on Sundays would always have a huge dinner with a minimum of two pies for dessert (my mom’s two brothers were also there, with one brother being married with four kids). I honestly don’t know how she did it, but then again, she had a great work ethic. When my mother was growing up, to support her and her two brothers, grandma worked at the Right House (a higher end department store now defunct) Monday to Friday doing various jobs, one where she operated the hand-cranked elevator, before moving to the stock room. On Saturdays, she worked long hours picking Tobacco. My grandfather had a gambling problem, so it was mainly up to my grandmother to support the family of five.
My grandmother lived on Ninth Ave in Brantford, Ontario, in an area that was considered to be the “wrong side of the tracks – Eagle Place”. It may have been a war-time house but till this day, I loved that house because it brings back wonderful memories, except for the one day they thought I had disappeared or worse yet taken by someone. As I remember it was a lovely Sunday and everyone was over at my Great Aunt Teddie’s house for a change. I remember my grandmother, mom, Aunt Teddie, and Aunt Barb were all sitting in the living room with their fingers on a Ouija Board. The idea behind a Ouija board is you have your fingers on the planchette, questions are asked, and the planchette is moved by spirits to either a yes or no answers or towards letters to spell out words. Now I don’t remember how old I was at the time, but that Ouija board scared the hell out of me, so without telling anyone I walked the two blocks back to my grandmother’s house.
When I arrived back at grandma’s house, my grandfather asked if I wanted to go for a ride with him, apparently to give bones to a friend’s dog. Now, that was partly true, but he was also most likely placing a bet on the horses. Either way, I happily agreed to go along with him, and I remember saying we should tell my mom, but he said we wouldn’t be gone for long so all would be okay. The next image I remember is him telling me to stay in the car while he dropped the bones off at his friend’s house, then taking me to the fair where he bought me some cotton candy. Once we were at home again, my grandfather was yelled at by his wife and my parents were yelling at me for wandering off.
Now all of this happened at least forty-five years ago but the images are still very clear in my mind. I have also never gone near a Ouija board again, since it caused me to disappear for a few hours.