life and times
hiram who
birth of the auto
border cities
sports heritage

We have freedom - You have beer

It is so much fun remembering all the events of my growing up years in Windsor and your February issue was full of reminders.

Bob-Lo Island was a great place for any age. My mother used to drive her Model T Ford and us children to Amherstburg and we would cross over to the Island on the Papoose. Then we’d meet our cousins from Detroit who cruised down the river on the St. Clair and Columbia big boats for our family picnic. When I find the picture of us with the two ponies and cart taken on Bob-Lo with all of us in it I will send it to you.

In later “jitter bug” years I spent many happy evenings dancing in Bob-Lo’s beautiful ballroom.

By the way, the St. Clair and Columbia were also the ferries flying back and forth every 15 minutes from Windsor to Detroit, before we had the tunnel or the bridge.

My father had his office in the old Royal Bank Building (corner of Pitt and Ouellette) and rode these ferries daily at noon to buy a bagful of hamburgers from the original White Castle at the foot of Woodward Avenue in Detroit.

The Tivoli Theatre write up brought another long forgotten memory of a Saturday afternoon and a long line-up of kids waiting to see Jackie Cooper in “Skippy”. The trail of youngsters wound halfway down Lincoln Road towards the River.

I was intrigued with your Black History story regarding the Watkins Family because while attending Old Sandwich High School (now J. L. Hoister Collegiate) one of my classmates was Floyd Watkins and he lived in the Lot Street area. He was not mentioned in the write up and I wondered about his whereabouts. He was well like by teachers and students and was an exceptionally smart young lad.

Another humorous memory came to mind while reading about the N & D Supermarket. On their opening day the store had a draw for the customers (mostly women) with the prize of being Queen for a day and my sister-in-law, Marlene Dixon (now in New Mexico), won the homer.

Thank goodness the location of the Shore Acres Hotel was corrected in our March issue before I got around to writing in.

She lived on Askin Blvd in Sandwich first two streets over from the Hotel and we passed it each time we went downtown via Sandwich St. West (now Riverside Dr.)

I was intrigued by the promo of Shore Acres and the orchestra playing there called “The Askenite Serenaders” under the personal direction of Tommy De Tomase.

This man lived on our street and during the Prohibition days in the U.S.A. he rented his home to a couple from Chicago. One day while driving by with my dad we saw a man standing in front of the house, dressed in a black fedora and long black velvet-lapelled coat. His very narrow eyes and mean look made us fearful.

Several weeks later a news item in the Detroit Free Press announced that a gangster wanted in Chicago on a murder charge had been found hiding in a “lovely quiet area of Sandwich Ontario.”

One more memory of the U.S. Prohibition Era – the American Legion from Detroit came to Sandwich to celebrate with a Parade on their Memorial Day. I’ll never forget the sign held by the two leading marchers.

“We have the freedom – you have the beer.”

My parents lived on Windermere Road for about 5 years and then moved to Victoria Avenue for the last 35 years of their lives.

I loved visiting their home on Windermere (I was married by that time) and enjoyed the many walks to Ottawa Street and the surrounding area.
Thank you for all the wonderful tales of yesteryear. I truly feel rejuvenated.
Virginia D. Bastedo, Brantford

Boo Boo

We enjoy reading The Times and all the stories that remind us of the good old days days gone by. The letter from Billie Meek [March 2002] intrigued me since I knew a Billie Meek and wondered if it was the same person.
I attended King Edward School and at one time lived across the road from the school in a duplex next to Chalmers United Church. The mention of his house on Argyle Road was interesting since for a while in the 1930s we lived in a little white house on the South West corner of Argyle and Wyandotte Street rented from the Walkerville Land and Building Co.

One small correction if you will permit. I worked for the SW&A Railway in the 40s in the garages on London St. West [now University]. Your article, “Transit Windsor 130 years old” in your March issue called it the South Windsor & Amherstburg Railway. I believe the correct name to be is Sandwich Windsor & Amherstburg Railway.
Douglas G. Skelding, Barrie

Ed: Thanks for the correction. We like to say that we make little boo boos on purpose to make sure our readers are paying attention!

Sandwich Windsor & Amhertburg Railway
bus leaving the bus depot which opened in 1940.

Sewer Swallows Sterling Silver

Just a few lines to say how much I enjoy reading your Walkerville Times. I did note the S.W.& A was referred to as South Windsor & Amherstburg. Yuck! As a resident of Sandwich I couldn’t let that slip by. You probably have heard from many readers that S.W. & A was Sandwich, Windsor and Amherstburg Railway but, just in case.

Also, I was just a little kid living on Laird Ave. in Amherstburg when the Saltmarches (from your March issue) lived on Sandwich Street. Noel certainly looks like his dad for one, and two – does he have a twin? If so, then I remember the twins dropping their Mother’s Sterling Silver cutlery down the sewer grate in front of their house (corner Sandwich & Front St.).

News traveled quickly in the burg then via the back fences. I can clearly recall my Mum calling out to Mrs. Coyle next door as she was unpegging the laundry. I believe it was about the fact that she was glad it was her sister Lorna that had been blessed with twins.

Also, I wouldn’t be surprised if this event wasn’t written up in the Amherstburg Echo by Helen Marsh. During my 18 years in Amherstburg I was written up a few times and I never did anything as exciting as dropping the family sterling down the storm sewer!
Elizabeth Tucker, Windsor

Ruined Class Photos

My father, Dennis Phelps, attended Gordon McGregor Public school in the late fifties. Over the past few months he has been trying to obtain class pictures. He has lost touch with friends and has consulted the Board of Education, Gordon McGregor school and even the phone book but has had no luck. We have been reading your publication and thought that maybe you could help. My father only needs 3 class photos as the others were luckily not damaged when our basement flooded. I’ve included names of his teachers as well as classmates (I’m afraid I’m unsure how to correctly spell some of the names however.) I’ve also included an e.mail address so that anyone who wishes to help can contact us.

Mrs. Marentette (possibly 1952-1954 – unsure of which year) Classmates: Norman Gobel, Jack Hill, Wayne Burdon, Rosemary Reid, Terry Thicke

Mrs. Doris Rogula (unsure of spelling of last name! Possibly 1950-1952) Classmates: Carol Bullard, Barbara Burdon, Eddie Dells

Mr. Harold Sweetmen (could be “Sweetman”. Possibly 1955-1956) Classmates: Jack Hill, Ken Wright, Keith Wright, Janet Boughner, Gary Lynch

Once again, thank you for your assistance!
Sharon Phelps,

Keep it Up

Just thought I would drop you a short note to say hi and keep up the great work. I recently moved from Windsor in 1999 and am now living in Bay City, Michigan and I read the online paper as often as I can. I read the paper version when I visit my mom and dad. Keep up the good work.
Robert Hamilton, Michigan

Broken Zippers & Caramel Corn

Hello from Calgary. In 1949, I moved from York and Hanna to 2171 Lincoln Road. I attended Hugh Beaton and Walkerville Collegiate – both great schools. We had a gang and when I look back we sure had a ‘fun’ time. I would like to name a few names and if anyone is still around I would love to hear from you. There was Pat Preston, Ron and Bill Patrick, Ron Marentette and Porky Morgan.

Gord Pace was my date for the most exciting night of my high school years in 1953 – the Walkerville Military Ball. I was 13. When I got into my dress, the zipper broke and I can still see my mother walking to the Five & Dime store on the corner of Tecumseh and Lincoln. She kept her cool but I think I was in a huge panic.

I moved to Calgary July 1, 1955 and still remember the good times at Walkerville C.I.: Mr. Ball, Col. McLeod, Mr. Cec Bunt and many more.

While working at Alberta Children’s Hospital, a fellow colleague and I were talking about where we were born. Turns out she was born at Grace and I was born at Hotel Dieu and we both went to Hugh Beaton and lived three blocks from each other. Her name was Carolyn and her dad knew my grandfather, Charles Fraser. It sure is a small world.

Fraser’s Nut Shop was owned by my grandparents. I am sure many readers remember their wonderful carmel corn and chocolates. Yum.

I received the Times from my cousin Trudy Green Stewart and it’s enjoyed every month. Thanks for the memories.
Mary Ann Tame, Calgary

Clint’s Gas Station?

I was born in Detroit and moved to Windsor with my parents during the Depression. We lived on Moy Ave. for a short time and then ended up on a family farm in Tilbury E.

I went into training at Hotel Dieu in 1946. I married and raised my family here in Windsor.

Does anyone remember a garage/gas station near the Bridge Company close to Walker Road and Seminole? I believe it was run by my father and uncle (Clint and Larry Lanoh) around 1929-30. It was after that when we moved to Tilbury. Thanks and keep up the good work!
Pat Kavanaugh, Ompah, ON

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