Except for a few months, I lived the first eighteen years of my life across the road from Georgian Bay at the edge of a small town built at the mouth of a river, a town called Meaford. Among its amusements were three bridges, a swimming hole, rock bass, fishing boats, an apple house, a woolen mill, an old dam, a stone dock, a lighthouse, a suicide hill, river trails, The Sisters*, the clay banks, ball teams, hockey teams, pool halls, soda fountains, a movie theatre, a library, a market square, auction sales, band concerts, dances, fall fairs, a downtown-Saturday-night, no computers and, for the most part, no television. Few are so fortunate.  (*a favourite stretch of beach, named for the two big rocks offshore)


childhood1 (40s)

childhood2 (50s)



childhood1 (40s)

childhood2 (50s)


Fishing had

never been better

and Meaford was boasting the world’s largest fresh-water fishing fleet.

Early photo of Laurel

and Hardy—or so I always think of it. Laurel, in fact,

is me. Hardy is Doug Anderson. Behind Doug,

are his parents, Paul and Pearl, and beside them,

Paul’s father, Hugh.

Doug’s cousin, Jamie

Hepple (striped toque),

lived just up the street.

Of the partiers below, I can identify only  three by name—Vivian Snell, tucked in behind, and my next-door neighbours, Joan and Lois McAfee, who are second and third from the left. I’m front right. The other three

boys, I think, are Junipers.

... was somewhere in western Canada maneuvering a large yellow Cadillac through Indian territory.

Mom waited tables

for most of her adult

life,  for many years

in the Rainbow Room

in Niagara Falls, but

mostly in Toronto.

Her visits to Meaford

were big occasions.

She was attractive and stylishly-dressed—a

big-city woman—and

I loved showing her off

to my friends. Only

in recent years did

I learn she was gay.

I hadn’t suspected it

but wasn’t surprised.

When she learned,

I’ll never know.

Penny Sturgeon and I (from the right) are celebrating our first birthday. I remember Penny only by name and circumstance—she was the doctor’s daughter and we were born just hours apart on the same day. The other two, Cynthia Bennett and Jim Gower, would be my classmates from grade one through thirteen.  (Trowbridge Street, Meaford, July 24, 1941)

My parents’ marriage was short-lived. I don’t recall meeting my father till I was a teenager. We stayed in touch after that, but less and less.

They married in Nov 1943

and I was the best man.

Gram and Hugh did the parenting.

Meanwhile, my mother's father, Bert, had remarried and with Ernice by his side ...


With Jamie Hepple & Ronald Noble.

with Gram

Mom and I

For reasons

unknown, Hugh changed the name of his boat from Juanita to Wahneeta.

Between the cabins and next to the creek were a rope swing, a pile of sand, and a hammock.

Chores were plentiful, dress was casual,

and Lois and Joan McAfee lived right next door.

Mom and I (Toronto)