I already told you about November 22nd, 1963, so I won’t repeat, other than to say that it was a bad day for planet earth and this is where we lived when it happened.
This is the building where we moved to in the late fall of 1963. The Moxam Apartments. We lived in a basement suite. The toilet was on a raised pedestal. To accommodate the plumbing, I suppose. It was a bit high and one day the toilet seat slammed down on my ‘thing’ and caused a blood blister. I did not show it to anybody, but it was quite painful.
Another thing that was quite painful was the Star Weekly bike. I was keen to earn my own money. A paper route was suggested but I ended up signing up for a Star Weekly route. The old Toronto Star magazine that came out once a week. Less of a commitment than a daily paper route. After all, I was only a fifth grader.
But the route was spread a bit far and wide and beyond practical to do the route on foot. The route manager was a very helpful young entrepreneur. He took me out drumming up new customers to add to the existing route, up to the point that I won a wrist watch as a prize. More about the watch later. In addition, he dug up an old used bicycle for me to use to make my deliveries and collections. I was grateful for the free ride. The problem was that the old bike had a gear that constantly slipped the chain a few notches and when that happened, if I happened to be upright, pushing down on the pedal, it would slip and I would drop onto the crossbar on my crotch. It was a painful, agonizing experience but fortunately I did not neuter myself.
I had another job, when we lived at the Moxam. My father had taken a job as a milkman for Model Dairies. On Saturdays I was invited to join him to make deliveries. It was like a real person’s work, not kid work, like delivering Star Weekly. We had to get up real early but that didn’t matter to me. I got to go to work, spend the day with my dad and even make a little money. Two things were best about it. Mid morning, we stopped at a small café for toast and jam and after a few Saturdays on the job I got my own Milkman’s Apron. It was like a coverall, cut off above the knee with a whole bunch of pockets for keeping coins and milk tokens, even one for folding money. Wearing it was like being an official milkman.
It could be heavy work, the basket held up to six, glass quart bottles of milk. Often I got to knock the doors and up-sell. Maybe a bottle of chocolate milk or a pint of cream or pound of butter or selling a new supply of tokens. It was great. At the end of the work day we cleaned out the milk van and my father did the check out, where he turned in the money from the day and reconciled his account book. At the end of the day, I walked home, happy and proud to have done a days work, and my father went down to the Palliser beer parlor to relax with his buddies.
I was very disappointed the day the phone rang and father told mother that he had been fired from his milkman job. I never learned the reason, but I suspect it had something to do with his account book coming up short a few times.
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