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.

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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??   😯

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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.   😯

 

WOW #5

Dictionary

The Word Of this Week is;
Shivoo

Look out! There’s been a mudslide.  The mundane mumble-tongues couldn’t understand, remember or pronounce the EYEtalian word Charivari, so it slid down the linguistic hill, and entered the English language as

shivaree

noun (US & Canadian)
a discordant mock serenade to newlyweds, made with pans, kettles, etc.
a confused noise; din

Also (esp. dialect) charivari  

Then it made its way by tramp steamer to Australia, land of kangaroos, platypuses, and Diggers who can’t handle three-syllable words, where it ended its ignominious tumble, as the Abo word

shivoo

noun, plural shivoos. Australian.
a boisterous party or celebration.

Origin of shivoo – origin uncertain

This is like the story from several years ago, where a Florida woman had been brain-dead from an accident for five years. Her husband wanted to pull the plug on the life-support machine and achieve closure, but her Catholic parents fought him in the courts.

His/their family name was Chiavo, and even the more intelligent of the TV talking heads insisted on pronouncing it Shy-voe, when any good Italian made three syllables of it, and pronounced it Shee-ah-voe.

Out among the street trash, one could get kicked in the nuts, or the balls. Some tried to describe being mugged with a more upscale word.  Whether it was too intellectual, or simply too long to say, gonads quickly shrank to ‘nads.  The mud has slud even further.  Now, ‘nad’ is (mis)pronounced nard, a word which used to mean ‘an ointment used by the ancients.’

Jimmy Cliff sang I Can See Clearly Now. If we could get more of the great unwashed to hear and pronounce clearly, communication and comprehension would benefit greatly.   😯

Things That Make You Go –WTF?!

A woman, duck-hunting in Indiana, shot a duck, set down her 12 gauge shotgun and urged her retriever to fetch the bird. He galloped over the gun, shooting her in the foot. The dog’s name was Trigger.

Locally, a car pulled out of a side street in front of another car, which swerved to the left, sideswiping an oncoming car, forcing it over the curb. That car violently struck a Canada Post mailbox, driving it into a 76 year old man, out for a walk, and killed him. The man killed was a retired Postal worker.

A letter to the Editor complained of waiting till the last minute and not being able to get tickets to an Oktoberfest hall. It was so personal and trivial, I don’t know why The Record even printed it. When I read the writer’s name, it was Steve Whines. Will Rogers said, You don’t have to make things up, just read the newspapers.

Searching for an image of a rainbow, I found a nice one, captioned – Niagara Falls, Toronto, Canada – Zou Zheng.  Apparently it’s been moved over next to Canada’s Wonderland, to make it more easily accessible by tourists like Zou.  If this was one of the Chinese picture-takers from Batavia, I’m surprised he didn’t just move it to Buffalo.

I recently received an email from a bookstore, that a book I’d ordered, had come in. I went to the store, and handed a male clerk my order receipt, indicating that it was paid for, and giving my name and address, the name of the author, and the name of the book.

He glanced at it, handed it back, and said, “I’ll get it from the storeroom. I’ll be right back.”  I waved the receipt and asked, “Won’t you need this?”  “Oh no, I’ve seen it.”  “What?  You have eidetic memory?”  (Big smile)  “Yes, I have eidetic memory!”  You’re lucky.  I have to look at it just to remember my name.

A couple of minutes later he showed up with an oversized Trade Paperback. I had time to say, “I wanted the regular size, but if that’s what was ordered, I’ll take it.”  When I looked at it, it was a kids’ book, like ‘The Bobbsey Twins Do Carnival In Rio.’  Mr. Eidetic Memory had brought me the wrong title, by the wrong author, for the wrong customer.

When he returned a second time, he brought a CD Audio Book Version, but that’s a complaint about a different clerk.

Celine weddingCeline wedding 2

Celine wedding 3Above are a couple of photos from the wedding album of Empress Chanteuse, Celine Dion, and her pet monkey Consort, René.  Somewhere, Katherine the Great, of Russia was looking down (or was it up?) in envy.  Not bad for the youngest of 14 children of a poor redneck Quebecois sharecropper butcher.

Now that she has her children, her fame, her hand firmly clutching her considerable fortune and ‘Uncle René’ busy dying of cancer, she’s more than willing to divorce him and drop him by the side of the road. If Disney/Pixar ever does Frozen II, I know who can do the part of The Ice Queen.  This woman is colder than a Quebec winter.

 

Flash Fiction #58

White wedding

PHOTO PROMPT © Dee Lovering

BILLY IDOL

Today was the most exciting, important and defiant day in Jenn and Tony’s lives. They had been thrilled that the city had granted them exclusive use of this big gazebo in the park.

After taking care of City Hall paperwork, they had joined their friends here. The non-traditional caterers were set up outside, and inside, they had TUNES. The thing about Canadian weather was, if you didn’t like it, wait five minutes and it would change, but it was only Sept. 21, the equinox.

“Well Jenn, you did say you would also have liked a white wedding. You got one!”

***

Got to Rochelle’s Addicted to Purple site and use her Wednesday photo as a prompt to write a complete 100 word story.

#484

I Do

Wedding rings

I guess I could put this post under ‘Old Stuff ’.  The wife is 65, and I’ve had her for over 47 years but, discretion being the better part of waking up tomorrow without a pillow over my face, I’ll just recount the fateful day.

I was raised as a Christmas/Easter kind of Baptist.  Churches and religion meant little to me.  The wife was raised in a strict Catholic family, but like two older sisters before her, had started ‘questioning’, and soon also left “The Church.”

We had met at an Adult Education retraining course in February, and hit it off right away.  We were thinking of waiting till we both graduated and had jobs.  We spoke of waiting till Sept. 21 the following year – not only my birthday, but also her parents’ anniversary.

I got out, and got a job, and she would soon follow.  We saw no point in waiting.  I told my Mom that we planned to just go to City Hall, but she insisted that we both should have a day to remember.  We talked the Anglican minister in my home town into marrying us.  The guest list was only about 25 people.  All the ‘Good Catholics’ in her family boycotted, although the two ex-Catholic sisters and their husbands showed up.

We chose Dec. 2, 1967, as a mutually agreeable date.  My sister was living directly across the street from Mom and Dad, in the ex-Presbyterian Manse, which had a huge living room/drawing room combo.  She and Mom cooked like crazy, and that’s where the reception was held.

The wedding ceremony was held after the regular 11 AM service, once the minister shooed the parishioners home.  We had bought a wedding license at City Hall, but the church issued another one, so we are twice married.  Perhaps that’s why it’s lasted so long.

The brunch reception started around 1 PM.  We gave the camera to my brother to take a few pictures for posterity.  He quickly got loaded at the open bar.  He remembered to take the shots; it’s just that people have the tops of their heads cut off, or one arm.

Long before the internet, and without phoning ahead, I had hoped to get us to Niagara Falls for a bit of a honeymoon.  About four o’clock, Mom strongly suggested that we get underway.  A freezing rain storm had blown in off Lake Huron.

I checked the car over before we left.  There was some soap on the windows that was easily removed, but no tin cans dragging from strings at the back.  We took the highway south, out of town, and turned off onto the secondary road that headed easterly towards The Falls.  Within a mile we were sliding off the crown of the road on a half-inch of ice.

Do we continue slowly, hugging the gravel shoulder, or take a different route??!  I elected to turn around.  Just as we got back to the main highway, a sander/salter truck rolled past.  Follow Him!!!  He went 30 miles southwest, down the lakeshore, and then turned southeast.

At some point, we began to notice a smell, a definite aroma.  I stopped and raised the hood.  One or more of ‘my friends’ had jammed three small whitefish between the engine block and the exhaust manifold.  Heated up with 30 miles of driving, the hot exhaust was cooking the fish, and burning off the fish-oil.  I managed to remove them with very few burns, but the smell lingered with the car for a week or more.

All plans definitely out the window, the best we could hope for were roads not too icy to prevent us from at least getting back to Kitchener.  Such was not to be.  As the freezing rain abated, it changed to wet, slippery, clingy snow.  The Ontario Works truck ahead stopped seasoning the road, and put his plow blade down and pushed the accumulating white stuff back.

We followed him to the small town of Listowel, which was barely bigger than my stage-coach stop burg.  We hoped that he would continue on through, towards Kitchener, but, just at the outskirts of town, he pulled into his home base, apparently done for the day, or at least his shift.  Now where??!

The town of Listowel was known only for The Blue Barn Inn, a motel with a couple of dozen rooms, an in-house restaurant with food famous for miles, and an entertainment room where B-acts and wannabes played.  Could we get a room?  Since no-one else drove in over the ice, there were rooms to spare.

After settling in the room, we now wondered about supper.  What little we had eaten, was 7 hours ago.  I went downstairs to the dining room and asked if I could get something to take back to the room.  On Sunday nights there was no a la carte – service was only from a giant buffet.

The cooks had worked all day to prepare for the usual huge crowd, and the ice storm had prevented almost all of them from showing up.  When the host found out that we were newly-weds, stranded there, he asked for a couple of dollars, and told me to take as much food and drink as I could carry on a cafeteria tray.  We remembered the place with nostalgic fondness for years, but, about 30 years later, it burned to the ground.

Very little of the day was as we had hoped or planned, and none of it elegant or impressive like a Hawaiian location wedding/honeymoon. It was an adventure, where all eventually turned out well, and set a sort of pattern for the marriage.  If we could survive this, we could survive each other.  We’ve passed 47 years, and are heading for the Golden 50.

Even as a second marriage for my Mom, and a war-delayed first for my Dad, they celebrated their 60th anniversary just before they died.  While we increasingly complain about aches and pains, and various medical problems, I think we’re strong and healthy enough to reach that mark also!     😀

#467

Old Stuff – Part 3

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So I’m back to posting about sharp/pointy things.  This lovely little letter opener was a gift, about 45 years ago.

The wife’s next-oldest brother was always interested in cooking.  He worked at a large snack bar of a local department store through high school.  He earned a scholarship to a chefs’ college in Huntsville Ontario, and after graduating, spent three years training in the prestigious restaurant of a snooty department store in London, England.

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He’s a couple of months older than me.  We married while he was away.  During his sojourn in Old Blighty, The Who became famous, far more so there, than here in Canada.  While he was gone, the Canadian band, The Guess Who, became famous here, but were unknown over there.  When he returned, he experienced some confusion during his radio listening.

We got along well, and he eventually became the manager of the in-store restaurant of a local Hudson’s Bay store.  He met a new girlfriend, who soon became a fiancée.  He was living in a small basement apartment, and, as the wedding day approached, he located a flat suitable for them both.  We needed to move out of the lower half of a rented house, and, as luck would have it, both moves happened on the same end-of-month Saturday.

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I was at work on the Friday afternoon, when my phone rang.  It was him.  “You’re moving tomorrow?”  “Yes.”  “Do you have a moving truck reserved?”  “Yes.”  “Do you have an appliance dolly rented?”  “Yes.”  “Do you have guys lined up to help you?”  “Yes.”  All yes, two weeks ago!

“I just called U-Haul, and they don’t have any trucks available tomorrow.  I asked about a dolly, and they said they’re all committed.  I phoned a cousin and a couple of brothers-in-law, and they told me they’ll be helping you.  Do you think we could move two lots of furniture tomorrow?”  He’s still a great chef, and has become a much better organizer.

I picked up the rental truck when U-Haul opened at 8 AM, and drove to my old place.  With his added help, we stuffed our belongings in, drove to the new place and quickly unloaded it, at least in the proper rooms.

Leaving the wife and kids to deal with it as best they could, we all drove to his old apartment, loaded his things, drove to his new domicile and unloaded, where everybody stayed, to help him unpack.  I returned the truck to U-Haul before noon, all done in four hours.  Well, perhaps not done.  I returned to a home piled high with boxes, no-one to assist, an unhappy wife, and 24 bottles of a brand of beer I didn’t like.  Maybe I should have organized that better??!

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At my place, I used the dolly to move the refrigerator with ease – in, out, on the truck.  The bachelor had a tiny fridge, a foot shorter, and a foot narrower than ours.  I went to rock it back, to put the dolly under it – and it wouldn’t move.  Probably stuck to a waxed floor!  So I pushed again – and it moved a tiny bit.  I looked inside – empty! – closed the door and body-checked it.  Finally got the dolly slipped under it.

Where most fridges were aluminum and plastic, he had one that had been built in the late ‘40s, sheet steel, with copper and LEAD piping.  Half the size of ours, it weighed twice as much.  It took three of us young, healthy lads, straining and wheezing, to get it up the half-flight of stairs.

While we were loading things, I noticed that the professional chef had some high-quality knives in his kitchen.  We discussed them, and he asked what kinds of knives I liked.  I never suspected an ulterior motive, but a month later, when I served as an usher at his wedding, he presented me with this vaguely Scottish broadsword-looking tool, as a thank-you gift.

 

BTW, FYI, and a bunch of other meaningless, random letters, the wife has worked too hard over the years to become too good a cook to be able to claim that she poisoned me accidentally, so today, Dec. 2, 2014, we celebrate our 47th wedding anniversary.  I get an extra cup of Geritol, and a shot of Lipitor with dinner.  If she’s lucky, it’ll be like Remembrance Day, and she’ll get two minutes of silence.    😀