A To Z – History And Hi-Way Market

Challenge2017   Letter H

About 125 years ago, just at the turn of the 20th Century, in the heyday of Ontario manufacturing, Kitchener was not yet a city.  It was still a town, a booming, industrial town, full of Germanic Mennonites and Pennsylvania Dutch, called Berlin.

A bit over a mile (a long way in those days) north of ‘City Hall’, toward Waterloo our Twin City, two companies were established, and two buildings were erected. The nearest was Kaufman Footwear, making slippers, shoes and boots.  A square, three-storey structure went up.  Over the next 50 years, three more additions produced a plant a half a block wide and a city block long, right where the main street crossed the old highway.  At its height, it employed hundreds of men (and later women).

I applied for a job as a lab assistant in 1965, when I first came here, but was turned down. I worked for Kaufman for two years, 25 years later, after they’d moved storage and most of the manufacturing to a new plant at the edge of town.

Another block further north, a rubber company was formed. This was the plant I retired from.  It began as Merchant’s Rubber, then became Dominion Rubber, then Uniroyal bought it, and later amalgamated to become Goodrich/Uniroyal, though it never produced tires.

The asshole brother-in-law worked there for almost 25 years. After he left, I joined it as Becker’s Lay-Tech, then it became Perstorp Components, and finally, Collins and Aikman drove it and its sister plant down the street where my brother worked for Dominion Textile in 1965/66, into bankruptcy.  During its Uniroyal heyday, there were 3600 people working around three shifts.  It didn’t grow as neatly as Kaufman.  Over 50 years there were 13 ‘buildings’ which became another half-block wide X block-long X 4-storey plant.

A mile further north, in the open fields and meadows between the two cities, dozens – hundreds – of stout little homes were built to house all the men who walked or biked to work at these plants. The wife was born in a sturdy brick house, three doors north of the imaginary boundary of Waterloo.

This neighborhood was once called the North Ward, home to the blue-collar families who worked in these factories. The North Ward is slipping away.  The area is called Mid-Town now, and it’s the up-and-coming place for young professionals to move to.

Of course, not everyone in the subdivision could be a mindless plant drone. Her father built a barber shop a block and a half from the Uniroyal plant, and raised 9 kids by cutting hair for men going to or from work.

Two nearby young brothers tried plant work, but found they were more interested in installing and adjusting machinery, so they started a millwrighting/rigging firm in their dad’s garage, to service the two firms. Years later they built a facility further out of town than the Kaufman plant.

I worked for them for two years, and the engineer down the hall, was the guy who didn’t hire me at Kaufman. The structure is now the plastics plant where the son works, and they rent warehouse/assembly space at the nearby ex-Kaufman building, where I once cut shoe/boot parts.

The man whose Portuguese wife sent him to work with delicious sandwiches, started providing them for a friend – or two – or more – soon dozens. He quit the company and started his own catering business, eventually stocking the vending machines, and running the three-shift, hot meal cafeteria in the plant he no longer worked at.

The greatest success story was the local grocer. He also couldn’t take the plant work, but had an inspiration.  If it was a mile walk for the men to go to work, it was a lot further trudge, dragging children, to go shopping.

He turned his front living-room into a little ‘corner store’, when such a thing didn’t exist locally, and stocked it with the essentials. GENIUS!  He had a captive audience.  Soon, he expanded the ‘living-room,’ and then added on….and added on again.

Then he had another flash of genius. In the late 1950s, more families owned cars, and the rise of shopping malls was beginning.  In order to get around an hours-of-opening bylaw, a mile outside the city limit, he built Hi-Way Market.  In the days of two-lane highways, you could just drive out to the A & W, and turn left across the road.  Today, it’s two exit ramps and an access road.

This was the Costco/Price Club of its day, 20 years before Costco was born. He erected a huge big barn of a building, as big as any Costco.  Like Costco, he sold everything, and much of it in bulk – canned and boxed goods, produce, meat, bakery, clothing, hardware, electrical.  He had a sit-down lunch bar where both the wife and her brother worked, and a postal, and a banking facility.

There were actually two floors, but much of the upstairs was used for storage and staff/administration. He put a photography department up there, which later went independent, and still exists in town.  Aside from the main-floor diner counter, he tried a slightly upscale restaurant upstairs.  It became famous in the region, as The Charcoal Steakhouse.  It built a fancy new home a block further up the street recently, when the original building was torn down.

So much history! So much local commerce emerged from the wife’s neighborhood.  The Kaufman plant is now a preppy downtown condo, and my C&A plant had a tiara added and is home to a bunch of Google gremlins.

Jeep goiing up

And so, the ugly duckling has become a swan.    😉

Google Building

 

WOW #15

Leftovers

MMM, leftovers

I recently encountered a very strange word (don’t ask how) that had me scratching my head. It is as awesome as it is mystifying. The word I’m talking about is, wait for it…

Tittynope.

Yes, you read that correctly. Tittynope. It is defined on the Merriam-Webster website as: a small amount of anything that is left over. From what I’ve gathered, it’s mostly just applicable to food, similar to the word ‘Ort’. So that leftover chicken from last night, that’s sitting in your refrigerator? That’s tittynope. You have tittynope in your fridge. Don’t you just hate when your mom serves tittynope for dinner? As you can tell, it’s really fun to use in context, especially when your 11-year-old male mind runs free.

“Excuse me, waiter, may I have a box for my tittynope?” Next time you’re at a restaurant, try that and watch your waiter or waitress’s facial expression. If they are dedicated enough to their job and too polite to ask what that is, they may just go looking around the restaurant for some kind of nipple container, probably not though. They will likely just call you a pig, but still, it’s worth a try.

My biggest question about this word is, where the Hell did it originate from? M-W doesn’t give word history, and Dictionary.com hasn’t heard of it. What was the situation that created this word?

I can just imagine some guy eating a pizza, and after he finishes, there is a little piece of leftover pepperoni on his plate.
His friend then walks up, out of the blue, and asks:  “Hey, is that a titty?”
And then the guy who ate the pizza goes:  “Nope.”
Then the other friend thinks to himself:  Hmm, Tittynope.

Then, boom, leftover food regularly starts getting called tittynope, and somehow this word makes it all the way into the dictionary. Although, I’ve never met anyone who actually knew the meaning of it, or has even heard of it for that matter. So, I am going to try to change that, one use of the word at a time.

All this writing has made me hungry for a little snack, and I can see that my friend has some tittynope on his plate. Anyway, you should be ashamed of what you’ve been thinking.   😉

 

The Queen’s English

Queen

The Queen’s English.
Yes, I’ve heard that about her!  😆

If only more of the English people would speak the English language. Some of them think that, if a word is good enough to be said once, it should be slightly changed and said twice.  Sometimes this doubling-up is done to emphasize the meaning, but I am sure that sometimes it is done just to confuse those who don’t speak the local dialect.

It has brought us a bunch of word-pairs like; holus-bolus, okie-dokie, hurdy-gurdy, hunky-dory, hurly-burly, lovey-dovey, argy-bargy, hinky-dinky, rinky-dinky, hanky-panky, razzle-dazzle, willy-nilly, fuzzy-wuzzy, namby-pamby, itsy-bitsy, (t)eensy-weensy, (t)eeny-weeny, higgledy-piggledy, mumbo-jumbo, roly-poly, and tittle-tattle.

Cuckoo Clock

Why ‘Tock-Tick’ does not sound right, to your ear

Have you ever wondered why we say tick-tock, not tock-tick, or ding-dong, not dong-ding; King Kong, not Kong King?  It turns out that it is one of the unwritten rules of English that native speakers know, without even knowing.

The rule, explains a BBC article, is; “If there are three words, then the order has to go I, A, O. If there are two words, then the first is I, and the second is either A or O.”  Mish-mash, chit-chat, dilly-dally, shilly-shally, tip top, hip-hop, flip-flop, Tic Tac, sing-song, ding-dong, King Kong, ping-pong.

There’s another unwritten rule at work in the name Little Red Riding Hood, says the article. Articles in English absolutely have to be in this order: opinion, size, age, color, origin, material, purpose, noun.  So, you can have a lovely, little, old, rectangular, green, French, silver, whittling knife.  If you tamper with that word order in the slightest, you sound like a maniac.

That explains why we say “little green men”, and not “green little men,” but “Big Bad Wolf” sounds like a gross violation of the “opinion (bad)- size (big)- noun (wolf) order. It isn’t though, if you recall the first rule about the I-A-O order.

That rule seems inviolable. “All four of a horse’s feet make exactly the same sound, but we always say clip-clop, never clop-clip.”  This rule even has a technical name, if you care to know about it – the rule of ablaut reduplication – but then life is simpler knowing that we know the rule, without knowing it.

Play it by ear.
If a word sequence sounds wrong, it probably is wrong.

2017 A To Z Challenge – Gastronomy

Challenge2017  Letter G

Don’t confuse the title of this post with Astronomy. That’s the study of heavenly bodies.  This will be about the study of my body.  It’s far from heavenly, but it has its own gravitation field, and can cause eclipses.

For the first half of my working career, eating and weight gain were no big deal. My office jobs were so sedentary that I didn’t require great numbers of calories.  With two kids to raise, there wasn’t a lot of spare cash available for French fries, junk food or soft drinks, and the wife had not yet become the great cook that she would be a bit later in life.  Although I did manage to go from a stick-thin kid of 135 pounds, to a solid, well-built man of 185, and stayed that way for years.

All that changed when I left the offices, parked my brain at the door, and went to work in the plants. Suddenly, the jobs were so physical that I needed and consumed 3000/3500 calories a day.  The kids grew up, and there was enough cash for the occasional fast food treat, and the wife was described by her brother, a professional chef, as a better cook than him.

185 lbs. crept to 190, then 195, then to 200. I’m a good eater.  The greeter at the grocery end of Wal-Mart says, “Welcome back Archon. It’s always nice to see you.  Two more visits and I can retire to Florida.”  The wife learns 5 new recipes, and I gain 5 new pounds.  Now I’m 205 lbs., and I can see retirement looming, but not my toes.  Changes have to be made!

The wife says that we’re getting older, and the chance of weak bones is increasing, so drink chocolate milk and eat cheese every day. I’m okay if I stay upstairs, in the computer room, but if I go downstairs in the evening, I’m wrestled to the ground by a toasted bagel – or some potato chips that were on sale – or cookies and hot chocolate.  It’s always something.

I have lots of will power. What I need is some won’t power.  The wife thinks I’m obsessive, because I weigh myself every day.  Seven years into retirement, I’ve passed 210, and occasionally 215.  217!  218!  The day I saw 220, I – not ‘panicked’ – but something has to be done.  Something other than letting the white beard grow back in, and buying a Santa suit.

Yesterday, the scale read 209.8, but my blood pressure was 136/78. The diastolic is still low, but I need to do something about the systolic – like lose some more weight.  I don’t want to be the guy in the Christmas song – round John Virgin.  If I was the victim of a shooting, the chalk outline would be a circle.

Thanx for reading the whine I had with my cheese. I’ll see you around….as long as I’m not quite as round next time.   😳

Fat Man

WOW #14

Wedding Cake Figures

When a couple get married, they march down the aisle, stop at the altar, and sing a hymn – and that’s what the bride is thinking – I’ll alter him.

A woman marries a man, thinking that she will change him – and he doesn’t.
A man marries a woman thinking that she will never change – and she does.

A bigamist is a man who makes the same mistake twice. A husband is a man who only makes that mistake once – although, there are the serial optimists/masochists who keep trying.  They could marry anyone they please – only they never please anyone.

The Word Of the Week is

TROTHPLIGHT

Definitions for trothplight

engagement to be married;
betrothal. to betroth.
betrothed.

Origin of trothplight
Trothplight comes from Middle English trouth plight meaning “having plighted troth” or “having pledged one’s faithfulness to another in engagement to marry.” It entered English in the 1300s.

I’ve included trothplight, just as proof that Dictionary.com does include old and odd words as click-bait.  We have lots of words in the English language that we still use and are a thousand years old.  This one though, is archaic.  It’s not commonly used any more.  It’s the kind of word found now only in the historical romance books that the wife (and the son) read.

The rigid moral and social rules and expectations that gave rise to the action and the word, no longer exist. Today’s equivalent would be, ‘shack up’, or, ‘let’s live together.’  I find it interesting, and perhaps ironic, that the word contains ‘plight,’ which comes from the same basis as ‘pledge’, but it also means

plight
noun
1.a condition, state, or situation, especially an unfavorable or unfortunate one:
to find oneself in a sorry plight.

Since the advent of Women’s Rights, more and more women are saying that they don’t need a man.
Since the advent of online porn, more and more men are saying that they don’t need the aggravation a woman.

The above light-hearted, satirical comedy has been brought to you by a Happily Married Man, who has only made one marriage mistake in almost 50 years – unless you talk to my wife.   😯

 

Higher Learning

Pot Smoker

Being circumcised, I couldn’t join a fraternity.
Apparently you have to be a complete dick.

***

I went online, and rated the Solar system.
I gave it one star.

***

I was watching porn the other day, but it was terrible. All I could see was some guy sitting on a couch, playing with himself, and crying….then I realized that the TV wasn’t turned on.

***

Man: How do you like your eggs in the morning?
Woman: Unfertilized, go away!

***

A man came home from the Social Security Office.
‘Honey,’ he said to his wife, ‘I finally
convinced them that I’m old enough to collect
Social Security.’

‘How?’ his wife asked. ‘Since the department of
records in the small town you were born in was
flooded, you can’t get a copy of your birth
certificate.’

‘I know,’ the man replied, ‘I just unbuttoned
my shirt and showed them all the gray hairs on my
chest. That convinced them that I’m old enough.’

His wife retorted, ‘Then while you were at it,
why didn’t you whip out your dick and get
disability, too?!’

***

There was once a young man who, in his youth, professed his desire to become a great writer.

When asked to define “great” he said, “I want to write stuff that the whole world will read, stuff that people will react to on a truly emotional level, stuff that will make them scream, cry, howl in pain and anger!” He now works for Microsoft, writing error messages.

***

What idiot called it a Sun, when it’s a space heater?

***

Why are all Jewish men circumcised?
Because Jewish women won’t touch anything that isn’t 10% off.

Why do Jewish men watch porno in reverse?
So that they can see the hooker give back the money

***

The elderly Italian man went to his parish priest and asked if the priest would hear his confession.
“Of course, my son,” said the priest.
“Well, Father, at the beginning of World War Two, a beautiful woman knocked on my door and asked me to hide her from the Germans; I hid her in my attic, and they never found her.”
“That’s a wonderful thing, my son, and nothing that you need to confess,” said the priest.
“It’s worse, Father; I was weak, and told her that she had to pay for rent of the attic with her sexual favors.”
“Well, it was a very difficult time, and you took a large risk – you would have suffered terribly at their hands if the Germans had found you hiding her.  I know that God, in his wisdom and mercy, will balance the good and the evil, and judge you kindly.” said the priest.
“Thanks, Father,” said the old man.  “That’s a load off of my mind.  Can I ask another question?”
“Of course, my son,” said the priest.
The old man asked, “Do I need to tell her that the war is over?”

***

 

Frankly, A Great Challenge

Footprints Challenge

AFrankAngle has issued a fiction challenge. He is asking his readers to take the above photo, compose a 150 word story about it, and link to his post.  Stop over there to see what he, and others, have written about footsteps in the sand.  Here is my offering.

FOOTPRINTS IN THE SAND

Bobby was almost six. A fisherman’s son, he lived on an island off the Carolina coast. He’d had an argument with his Mom.  He wasn’t going to blindly obey her rules any more.  He would run away from home, and live on his own.

He packed what he thought he’d need, and marched down to the shore. The mainland was a blur, and he couldn’t run a boat.  Fine, he’d find a spot in the grass or trees to live.  With his driftwood ‘staff’, he trudged up the beach.

No suitable spot appeared, so he kept slogging – on and on. He finally came around a headland….and there was the dock again.  There was the big log on the beach – and somebody was sitting on it.  It was his Mom.  She just held out her arms and said, “Lunch is almost ready.”

Oh well, he could run away some other time.

Footprints Victory

For Frank, and others, I also offer the story of a devout man who died and went to Heaven. Before God actually ushered him in, He showed him his life with God.  The man saw it as a walk along the shore with God – two parallel lines of footprints in the sand.

At certain spots in his life, there was only one set of prints. When he looked closer, he realized that these had been the hardest times of his life.  He said to God, “How could You have abandoned me when I most needed You?”  God replied, “My child, those were the times when I carried you.”