Roy Avenue

In the late 50s we moved back to Winnipeg. We moved into an apartment on Roy Avenue not far from Pacific, where Grandfather Charlie Wong’s house was. It was kind of a shabby place, a second-floor apartment with one or two bedrooms, a kitchen and a toilet that was in the closet near the front door. There was no bathtub. I remember this lack of bathtub because I suffered the humiliation of being given a bath in the metal wash tub in the middle of the kitchen floor surrounded by onlookers. I believe this is the place we lived when mother caught the scarlet fever and was deathly ill, near death. She didn’t die of course, and life went on.

The building was an l-shaped edifice with a dirt courtyard in the middle. It was surrounded on two sides by a fence. In the grass along the upper fence a nest of Garter snakes emerged. There were dozens of them. It was quite a sight. The rocking horse I got for Christmas when we lived in Bowness was moved out into the courtyard and my cousin broke it while riding it. Sometimes you just bounce too hard.

Across the street were some neighbor children that I played with, mostly because they had a green John Deere pedal tractor that I was desperate to ride. But I was never allowed. One day while sitting on their porch. We observed a car run over a small dog. The dog rolled and tumbled under the front wheel and then ran off. Obviously, it wasn’t squished to death.

I learned to tie my shoelaces when we lived on Roy Ave. I was taught by a neighbor lady named Alice. She only had to show me once and I was off to the races.

We must have lived there over the winter, although it was warm when we first moved in. One evening father brought a Christmas tree home. But we were on our way out to visit relatives. The tree needed to unfold itself, so father stuffed it into the metal wash tub, packed with snow. Of course, by the time we arrived back home the tree had fallen over because the snow had melted. Father claimed that monkeys must have gotten into the house and tipped it over.

Sister had a birthday party while we lived at Roy Ave. There are a few photographs, black and white. I was the only boy in attendance.

Down at the end of the block there was a park that we used to go and play at. They had a summer program where an instructor outfitted us with toy instruments that we could play while marching in a parade. I was desperate to be given the snare drum to play, but instead I was given a tambourine. I believe I tossed it back and went home.

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