2017 A To Z Challenge – Kitchener – Krug Street

Challenge2017

We’ve had enough History, so this post is just a little background (With me in the foreground, of course) of where I’ve lived for half a century.  Both Kitchener, and Krug Street fit in the

Letter K category.

The cheapest way to honor someone, is to name something after them.
So, Henry Hudson, you discovered a gigantic bay at the top of North American. It’s just a big hole in the continent that lets all the cold in. It’s covered with ice and polar bears.  It’s not good for anything, and you found it while you were searching for something else for us that you never did locate.  I’ve got it – we’ll name it after you.  That way, you’ll be forever associated with an expensive, pretentious Canadian department store.  Aren’t you honored??
So it is with both Kitchener, and Krug Street.

When the first white explorers came here, over two centuries ago, they called their pitiful little collection of huts, ‘Sand Hills,’ because that’s all that was here – a collection of minor hummocks that would bleed sand if you scraped the thin topsoil off. It first officially became Ebytown, to honor Benjamin Eby, a take-charge (and anything that wasn’t nailed down) early settler.

Later, as more hard-working Germanic, Mennonite and Pennsylvania-Dutch settlers arrived, they renamed the burgeoning, now-prosperous town, ‘Berlin’, to honor the capital of the country that they’d been driven out of. By 1912 it had grown large enough to become a city.

In 1916, in the middle of a World War that the honored country had started, it was felt that a more English name would better show Canadian, and British Empire loyalties….by the now-increasing numbers of English-descended citizens.

By late June, the final shortlist of new names were: Adanac, (Canada, spelled backwards) Brock, Benton, Corona, Keowana and Kitchener. Kitchener was a late addition to the shortlist of possible names, as it was added shortly after the death of Horatio Herbert Kitchener, a difficult and controversial man, who had died June 5, 1916. This is perhaps an understatement.  He was an entitled, arrogant, martinet of a man, who had invented the concentration camp during the Boer War.  I’m not sure how much ‘honor’ was involved, and he didn’t live to know about it

Kitchener

This is the darling lad that the city was eventually named for, in a recruiting poster for the Boer war.  As my American readers may realize, this was the inspiration for the “Uncle Sam needs you!” poster of the first and second World Wars.

While more than 15,000 people lived in the city at the time, 346 people voted for the name “Kitchener” on June 28, 1916, from approximately 5,000 eligible voters.

The Krug (kroog) family has been a moving force in Berlin/Kitchener for many years, both politically, and industrially.  In 1887, Hartman Krug established a furniture factory opposite the G.T.R. (Grand Trunk Railway) which he built up into a large institution.  He was also a charter member of the Interior Hardwood Company, and subsequently purchased the Doon Twine plant, and brought it into the city.  His son Henry was President of this company, and his son Rudolph succeeded him at the H. Krug Furniture Company.

I guess when you bring half a keg of gold coins with you from Pennsylvania, and use them to build a company, expand two more, and provide employment for hundreds of people, the least the frugal burghers could do, is name something after you – and the sewage treatment plant was already taken.

Krug Street forms part of one of Kitchener’s famed 5-point intersections. It approaches the 4-lane feeder road at a 45° angle, while Lancaster Street wanders in at 45° from the opposite direction.  After confused and delayed drivers manage to cross at the lights, they/it become(s) Cedar Street.

He decided to build a home about a mile from city center, away from the hoi polloi who toiled in his factories. Soon, the town council, made up of other rich, privileged white men, decided to assume responsibility for the oddly-angled lane that his estate, and now several others, was situated on.  They improved the road, and, in thanks for what he’d done for them and their town, named it after him and his family.

Krug Street

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I Can’t Even GIVE History Away

Ticket

Ticket Back

I wrote of finding a little bit of history, a piece of ephemera, a 1942, WW-II ticket for a British bus line, in my first ‘Olio’ post.  It had been used as a bookmark, and fell out of an old hardcover book that I was examining.

I first tried to give it to one of the 2 local museums. Originally called Kids Museum, it might have fared better in Waterloo, our northern Twin City.  They’re a bit more financially and culturally superior. (Pronounced – ‘snooty’)

Museum

When not enough blue-collar kids visited it, they cleaned, repainted and added a bunch of dead machinery from now-closed local manufacturing plants, and called it themuseum – one word, all lower-case.  Can you make out the name in the above photo??  It being a British artifact, they had no interest in the ticket.

Anyway, I contacted the other local museum. It used to be called Doon Pioneer Village, and focused on the local Mennonites in the 1880s, but also recently changed its name, to Doon Heritage Crossroads, showcasing the growing 1920s urban development.

Canada didn’t have the Roaring 20s, flappers, or bathtub gin; although a strong wind might reveal a Mennonite woman’s ankle, or a vat of sweet apple cider might accidently go hard.  The ticket didn’t relate to their theme, and the only suggestion the curator had, was The Canadian War Museum in Ottawa.

There’s actually another ‘museum’ in Kitchener. It’s the Joseph Schneider Haus, built by one of the first settlers from Pennsylvania, in 1816, and still standing, in downtown Kitchener.  It has people in 1850s period costumes, demonstrating pioneer life, which is one reason why the Pioneer Village became the Heritage Crossroads.

A year ago, the Grandson moved to Ottawa to be with his fiancée as she attended college. In August, the son drove him, and a bunch of his stuff, in the new sport-ute.  Last October the son and I drove up another load of food and trivia.  After a six-hour drive on the Saturday, we barely had time to unload, a quick visit, and back later for a restaurant meal.

JUST as we were leaving the house Saturday morning, the son wondered aloud, if we might have the time to visit The War Museum on Sunday.  I ran upstairs and grabbed the ticket in its display frame, and brought it with us.

We did have time to tour the Museum on Sunday before leaving.  Since it was Sunday, and no office staff was working, I carefully put the ticket in an envelope, and left it and a note, with Security staff.  A couple of weeks later, I got a nice refusal letter from the Director of Acquisitions, who later mailed it back to me.

Northern Lights

It relates to Britain, and World War Two, and The Canadian War Museum is about Canadian wars, starting with French-Indian Wars, then British-Indian Wars, and Indian-Indian wars, etc., etc., etc.  Damn, we’ve had a lot of wars!  It’s back on a shelf on my stairway landing, beneath an impressive photo of the Northern Lights.  I can’t give this thing away.  Perhaps I’ll contact the bus company – they’re still in business.  Maybe they’d like it back.

***

ADDENDUM;

About 30 years ago, one of the wife’s nephews met a girl from Ottawa here at University, and moved there to marry her. We hadn’t begun taking our trips, so we let the most worldly-wise of her sisters, book motel rooms for 7 couples, to attend the wedding.

The motel that the son and I stayed at was an unusual creature, a sprawling old, two-storey, semi-Tudor style building….with a modern, 7-floor tower, epoxy-glued to one end. But the tower was closed off, and not available to guests.  When I asked why, the desk clerk told me that the 50-year-newer section was condemned.

It wasn’t till I got home and thought about it, that I realized that the now-condemned, haunted tower is where we slept, lo those many years ago. I wonder why it was condemned – and when??   😯

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

 

The Vax Fax….uh, Facts

Hypo

A local high school teacher recently scared the Hell out of a couple of public nurses and some students. A science teacher, he should have known, and acted, better.  Apparently he’s an anti-vaccination conspiracy theory believer.  He abandoned his class and classroom three times, to go to the gymnasium, where booster shots were being given.

He banged on the nurses’ work table. He leaned in on his knuckles, nose to nose with them, and demanded that they provide proof that vaccinations were safe.  He paced around, yelling that the students had the right to know that the vaccinations could kill them.  The students were frightened, not of the shots, but of his behavior.

His school board censured him, the police were called, and charged him, and he got his 15 minutes of infamy in the media. A few days later, this letter appeared.  My response follows it.

VACCINATION DEBATE

Re: Anti-vaccination teacher guilty

I find it rather ironic that this week, an Ontario teacher was found guilty of misconduct for pushing his views on vaccination, and my nephew died after 32 years, as a result of uncontrollable seizures, after being vaccinated as a child.

This teacher was trying to assure that his students were aware of all the side effects, including possible death, as the result of vaccines.

Too much of this information is buried from the public eye. I’m not against vaccines, I’m just an apprehensive observer who doesn’t have enough information to make a proper decision on my own.

Jim Kuntz

VACCINATION PARANOIA

I was disappointed to see Jim Kuntz’s letter of support (Vaccination debate, Mon. Feb. 27) for the anti-vax teacher.

He was chastised not for his views, but for his actions. There is a proper time, place, and method of protest. Interrupting medical procedures, and frightening nurses and students was very inappropriate.

Kuntz was disingenuous to mention his nephew’s death after long-term seizures, and the fact that he had been vaccinated, with no proof that one caused the other. Epilepsy usually first presents just as children receive their first shots.

He complained that much of needed information is not available to the public. If either of these gentlemen need info, they need only contact their personal doctor, the local Medical Association, the Provincial Medical Association, the Canadian Medical Association, The World Health Organization, or the C.D.C. (Centers for Disease Control).

They are all available online, and unanimous in their stance that the benefits of vaccination far outweigh the slim possibility of a bad reaction. Or they could just Google ‘Disproven Vaccination Theories.’

The Archon

The anti-vaxer conspiracy theorists would rather believe stripper/porn star Jenny McCarthy, and some guy who ‘bought’ fame by faking results, than thousands of doctors with millions of hours of training and experience. What do you believe on this subject? Anybody want to weigh in – pro, or con?   😕

***

CENSORSHIP BUREAU

When my letter above was printed, the newspaper removed the word ‘disingenuous’ (too big for local Mennonites?), along with any hint that Kuntz had intentionally misled readers.

The final paragraph, with its support of the opinions of trained physicians, and the idea of using Google to dispel at least one conspiracy theory, simply disappeared. You don’t think someone at the paper is an anti-vaxer, do you??! 😉

 

A To Z Challenge – Z

april-challenge

Well, we have zigged, and zagged our way to the bottom of the alphabet.  It all comes down to Ground Zero, at zero hour, in zero gravity, with zero thought, to write the final composition for the letter

Letter Z

a letter that the Dutch explorers, traders and colonists already present, especially around the area that would become New York City, taught the newly arriving English settlers of America to pronounce as ‘zee’, a mere 400 years ago.  Think ‘Zuider Zee.’  The rest of the English-speaking world uses the Froggy French pronunciation, ‘zed’, imposed by the Norman invaders of England, almost a millennium ago.

For all you hockey nuts (and you have to be nuts to regard hockey as anything more than mildly interesting time-wasting), I thought that I would write about Zamboni.  That’s the ice-resurfacing machine that drives around the skating surface between periods.

Resurfice Machine

Then I thought better of it, and decided to give you a little more local history/geography/commerce. About 15 miles north of where I live, up in Pennsylvania-Dutch, Mennonite territory, is the large town/small city (10,000) of Elmira, Ontario.

Twenty-five years ago, the Schlupp family (doesn’t that name sound Mennonite?) reverse-engineered the Zamboni, and began producing Olympia machines at a company called Resurfice.  There are various sizes, and gasoline and electric models.  They will do what the Zamboni will do, at a better price – and they are Canadian-made.

They’ve had to fight the ‘Kleenex viewpoint’, which says that every facial tissue is ‘Kleenex’, even when it’s Puffs, or Royale, but their sales are steady, and increasing, even in the US.  Despite the Zamboni brand-name recognition, and allowing for some bragging, Resurfice sells 50% to 70% of machines in North America.

The ‘Kleenex viewpoint’ is visible in an online court brief, apparently posted by a relative of an idiot complainant trying to sue poor Resurfice.

Hanke was the operator of an zamboni
→ Overfilled the gas tank of the machine, releasing vapourized gas which was ignited by an overhead
heather
→ The ensuing explosion and fire caused Hanke to be badly burned
→ Hanke sued the
zamboni maker for negligence (design defect), arguing that the gas and water tanks were similar in appearance and close together on the machine, making it easy to confuse the two.

English rules of construction insist on the word ‘a’ before another word beginning with a consonant.  It should be ‘a Zamboni,’ with a capital Z – except, it wasn’t a ‘Zamboni’, it was a Resurfice Olympia.  The genius operator pumped water into the gasoline tank in an area with open flame.  His genius brother (cousin?) writes, in a court brief, of an ‘overhead heather’, and repeats the incorrect, uncapitalized ‘zamboni’ again.

If I have poked fun at places like Newfoundland, or Alabama, I humbly apologise, and acknowledge the existence of local possessors of ‘a glorious lack of sophistication.’

AtoZ Survivor

I thank all of you who have followed me through the alphabet. I’m trying to decide if it’s worthwhile or possible to do it again this/next year.  This free-style, pick-and-choose method didn’t work out as well as I’d hoped.  Perhaps next time I could do a themed version, possibly A to Z wild life, from Ants to Zebras. Wild life could include C for College dorm parties.  Or A to Z in musical groups, from AC/DC to ZZ Top.  In the meantime, I’m going to take a copy of that ‘Survivor’ image, and go have (another) nap.  I suggest you all do the same.  We’ve all earned some ZZZZZZs.   😀

Defence Of Purity

Mennonite

A recent entertainment article in the newspaper described an upcoming series on CBC-TV, titled ‘Pure’, where some Mexican Mennonites, travelling through the US and into Canada, smuggled drugs. The usual suspects were horrified – aghast, and complained. I replied, with information taken from A World Lit Only By Fire!

a world lit only by fire

In his Jan. 25th letter, Social Injustice, Harold Robertson tries to defend Mennonites from an accusation of drug smuggling, in the upcoming CBC-TV show Pure.

He naively asked, ”What next, a brothel full of nuns?” In Martin Luther’s time, that was only one of the sins of the Church and its leaders that he nailed to the door. While still called convents, there were many brothels full of nuns. They funnelled an immense amount of wealth to the Church.

There were also lots of brothels without nuns. The Vatican alone supported three, nearby. People with the surname Pope had ancestors who were illegitimate Papal offspring.

Despite what we like to believe, there are many times when not all religious figures are Holy and Pure.

***

In another paper the same week, there were two articles, one in Lifestyle, and one in the Religion section, both bemoaning the fact that attendance at almost all Christian Churches continues to decline. The only exceptions seem to be the Fundamentalist, Westboro Baptist-type churches, where they preach Hell-Fire and Brimstone, Biblical Literalism.

Some of the Protestant leaders got together and discussed the advisability of trying to attract more followers, by ‘giving the people what they want’, and abandoning the open, loving, acceptant type of Christianity.

I see at least two things wrong with this approach. First, there is hopefully, only a small percentage of intolerant, redneck-type church-goers who want this inflammatory rhetoric, to buttress their bigotry.  The pie is only so big.  Few new ‘believers’ would be created.  The slices would just get smaller, and it would drive away the few moderates still attending.

Secondly, if you truly believed in logic and science, and a loving, caring God, and populace, but are willing to so radically change your stance, you are doing so for hypocritical power and wealth reasons.

You don’t care about the soul salvation, or social support of your parishioners. You only care about bums in the pews, and a continued flow of money into your church, and your paycheck.

At least, that’s what this old non-believer believes!   😯

I Am A Challenge Too….Two

challenge

Now then, what was I saying writing, when I so rudely interrupted myself??  Ah yes, the 31-Day Challenge Magic Act, where I sawed a woman blog in half.

Why and when did you start blogging? My first post went out on November 21, 2011.  As to why, read my ‘About’ page, which includes the text to the post ‘If’.  Anything that doesn’t include, feel free to ask.

Advice on your area of expertise Since I am now successfully retired, my advice consists of, “Sleep in, have a snack, take a nap.  Rinse, and repeat if necessary.  Wage slaves, apply only on weekends.”

List 5 blogs you read on a regular basis, and why Many of the blogs I used to read ‘regularly’, are now dormant, or episodic.  One that I read regularly is Cordelia’s Mom because, as her tagline says, it’s ‘just good reading’.  Another we perhaps should all read regularly, is You’ve Been Hooked, tales from a bellman at a ritzy hotel in Niagara Falls.  (Caution, Humorous Adult Content)

What do you collect? Bills(notes/money – not utility), coins, knives, books, aches, pains, medical specialists, prescription drugs

What’s your greatest fear? I like to think that I keep my life well-ordered enough, that I don’t put me or mine in any position where I need fear anything.  I have no …phobias.  Fear/worry are counterproductive.  Either stay away from that which causes fear, or learn to face and defeat it.

Provide 5 easy steps to anything From my living-room chair, to the kitchen fridge/snack.  One….two….three….four….five – a pickled egg and some cheddar.  That was easy.

What do you do to save money? Not spend it.  While there are many who have less than us, I am/was a child of poverty.  Raised by a Depression-trained Scottish mother, I learned early to make a buck go a long way.  Once, while on an extended period of unemployment benefits, the Government office sent me home with a booklet on how to get the most from the least.  [Put soap bar ends in a mesh bag, and use it like a puff for hand and face washing, or soak and swish it in hot dishwater to produce suds.]  I took it back with 5 or 6 suggestions that they hadn’t thought of.

Describe your most embarrassing moment Like ‘fear’ above; I am careful/lucky enough, not to place myself in embarrassing situations.  Mostly, I just don’t give a shit – almost impossible to embarrass.  I could be a nudist.  I don’t wear clothing for my own modesty, but to protect the eyes and sanity of those around me.

Describe your city Germanic, and organic.  The entire area was settled 200+ years ago by Pennsylvania Dutch immigrants.  Waterloo, our twin-city to the north, has flowed to join my Kitchener, renamed a century ago from Berlin.  To our south, the small cities of Preston, Hespeler and Galt were merged in 1973, into Cambridge.  We have continued to flow together to produce a city of half a million, 5 miles wide, by 20 miles long, straddling Ontario’s major highway.  Streets and roads run hither and yon, confusing tourists, as told in my ‘You Can’t Get There From Here’ post.

What’s your favorite restaurant? With a Cordon Bleu chef/wife on staff, and wallets full of moths, we eat very well at home.  The occasional treat meal out is limited to the Golden Arches and its cousins.  Like the ‘favorite recipe’ in part 1, my love of Tex-Mex is so well known that, “What is your favorite restaurant?/Taco Bell” is a security question/answer on a website.

What’s your guilty pleasure show? With satellite TV costs soaring, we cancelled our subscription a year ago.  We moved the television from the basement den up to the living room, and linked to Netflix.  TV watching might be 2 hours a week.  It has led to a large increase in reading.

What’s your favorite season? As I wrote in ‘Location, location, location’, we live in a Goldilocks area.  It gets warm, but not too hot in the summer.  It gets cold, but not too frigid and snowy in the winter.  I wouldn’t want to live in Winnipeg or Atlanta.  Spring is great, with its burgeoning greenery and promise of rebirth, but, my birthday is in the autumn, and I love the harvested crops, and the colorful foliage.

Talk about your idea of a prefect date Wellll….it would have to be one that the wife is unaware of.  More and more, I get ones with people with MD after their name.

How do you normally spend your weekend? Ah, the joys of being retired.  If it weren’t for reading newspapers, I wouldn’t know what day it is – or month.  Weekends differ from weekdays in that, instead of going out to pick up a Toronto Sun newspaper, I might drive the wife to the Farmers’ Market, or the daughter to a Pow-Wow for fun and profit.

Explain what you liked most about this challenge It’s finished!  It gave me yet another chance to drop some (more) smart-ass comments that you’re still shaking your head about, and wondering if they’re really true.  And of course, it helps my stat numbers of published posts.

Thanx for visiting Crazyville Archon’s Den.  I hope to see you again in a couple of days.