One of the benefits of returning to Winnipeg was the many opportunities to acquaint with relatives. As both of my parents called Winnipeg their home town, not surprisingly there was a plethora of family relations on both sides to spend time with. In fact there even seemed to be a propensity to take up residence in proximity to one another.
Here in this picture, my cousin Christine, my evil sister Ivy, and cousin Eileen are splashing snow water in front of an old sandstone apartment building where we lived in one suite, Eileen and her mom and sister in another and my Amma and Aunt Laura (Lolly) in another. Christine, with parents and siblings lived in a rented house just a block away. Their house was just off Main Street. I think the girls are wearing pony boots and babushkas. Looks like I am winding up to slug Christine in the stomach, because of course, that would be a fun thing to do when hanging out with a bunch of girls.
Our apartment was through the doorway where my right arm is pointing, up a half flight of stairs and first door on the left. It was a small one bedroom apartment. My mother’s younger half sister Lillian stayed with us at the time. Three kids slept in the bedroom and my parents slept on a fold-out couch in the living room. We also shared the apartment with a small short haired dog, which we named Sputnik, after the Russian satellite. My Grandma Ducharme once told me to lift the dog’s tail and spank it’s bum if it pooped in the apartment. She was there one day when little Sputnik relieved himself. She quickly had me perform the spanking. I lifted the dog’s tail and gave a small swat on his behind. After I had done the dirty deed she told me to smell my hand, which I did. She laughed hard as I sniffed the brown smear on my little hand.
It was in this apartment that Grandma Ducharme skinned and dressed a rabbit that my father had brought home from a hunting episode. The little beast had been shot right up the anus. The internal organs were mashed and when she removed the innards the stench made me barf. Grandma Ducharme had no problem at all with this gutting and she laughed uproariously at my weak stomach. As I recall the fricassee of rabbit was quite tasty.
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