Ages old and young in the news

Our eldest Fort Frances citizen probably by a few years is now Ivy Russell of Rainycrest.
Her name came up since we started looking around when Walter Andrusco turned the century here recently.
Ivy has now topped 105 years, I am advised.h
Frequently, the hockey committee met and coffeed at the Russell home on Nelson Street and the Russell’s daughter, Shirley, later a school teacher, would be present.
Hitting into that same age league is Hubert Medhurst. He once managed the Cornell apartments behind the old liquor store when first we returned from Mine Centre to live with my late aunt there. Hubert is now reported to be 99 and moves around town regularly.
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It’s the high school girls getting most attention this warm and sunny weather with their bare legs as they hit the streets!
Yes, Fort Frances is a great place to live for both young and old.
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The truth of that old saying “them that has, gets” was demonstrated than with California winning the Stanley Cup! Hockey like everything else valued in Canada simply means money!
Where else but California can money be piled so high? You might expect Ottawa as Canada’s home of our biggest tax collectors to withstand the U.S. pressure but money talks in sports as elsewhere and hockey players are always going for bigger salaries. Anyone wanting the next Stanley Cup better be prepared to match Anaheim or some other California team dollar for dollar but I doubt whether any of our old established NHL teams are prepared to do that–not until there is a limit set on salaries–that limit not likely will be met in Canada anymore!
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As an “only child” among many large families as I remember here I was continually impressed and can still name several containing at least ten more children (an incredible fact today with prices being what they are).
Largest families along my first Fort Frances street included the Corans and Fichuks and later I met the more numerous Chernaskes and Dumneys among others. I can imagine as the one and only child in my home, the others must had had more fun.
That accounts for my interest in helping start a birthday club in old Robert Moore School. Members included Brian Hunt, Frank Izzard, Mike Hupchuk and Raymond Dolk.
Now I am almost alone again compared to those days although I managed to contact Frank out on the west coast. Frank had married into the large McEvoy family I wrote about here.
Two fellows who lived at my own home, Allan Kielczewsky and Donald Paccito of Mine Centre both no longer with us.
A third was my cousin, Claude McFarland, who still resides here. A third Allan and Donald both went to Mine Centre School with me.
I trust my former loneliness has not changed me because my late wife and our fine family of four have been great company.
And then along comes Nutty as much as to tell me “Cheer up gramps because you’ve got us also!” (As long as those peanuts last!)
And could you believe that little guy and his own family have brought me more company daily because readers want to know how they are doing while lately friends like Jean on my Handi-van run contribute more peanuts!
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The early summer’s bright sun is keeping those red flowers in front of the corner home at Crowe and Second, looking bright and cheerful! And the leaves on most trees are gradually reviving for summer although the trees first budded out here April 20.
Hang on everybody, we’ve got another great summer coming on!
Only, besides our fishing, let’s get on the map of the world with something to really celebrate–like inviting people here for what is still the best drinking water in the world. You’d be surprised at their response.
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For those forgetting about Elvis Presley, last a recent Gospel singing program on TV was much appreciated as well as surprising because apparently few had realized Elvis got his start with church music and now they’ll be after his gospel records.
Told he was the King, Elvis had this reply: “Christ is the King!”
He could sing “Amazing Grace” and “There is Peace in the Valley” like few others.
Gospel comes to Channel 75 every Friday evening and few will want to miss it!
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As I look around, more and more of my old hometown becomes foreign territory to me as the familiar faces and scenes disappear.
Anyone here over half a century will know what I mean. Thinking back, I can appreciate our river below Crowe Ave. where we learned to swim and maybe roll logs (or maybe drown) while the Point Park beach was too far away unless we owned bikes and not everyone did.
But block by block the changes are coming at us, progress or not. Our old Scott Street is not the only area disappearing–and I’m not the only one afflicted by nostalgia, but we know now we should not be discouraged by what now passes for progress.
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As a young fellow was telling me, he was “lucky to obtain a bank recall,” (as the second owner of a mortgaged home). Now we pay $80,000 for a small house that is the best he could do. And that 80 might have given him four small houses a very few years ago!
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Concerning residential development, I am astonished at how my old home neighbourhood on River Road in McIrvine has blossomed out!
Look down “Old Shambles Road” as Mike Pearson called his area and prepare to be surprised!
I lived close there before moving further west down River Road to Crozier and had not returned before last week.
We neighboured with the Brockies, Busbys, Gadds and Eides and Doupes in those days, 35 years ago!
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When I start musing on the numerous places I’ve called home since growing up and later through marriage–and eventually into my one-bedroom apartment here, I wonder about the total of all spots where I have hung my hat, and believe that probably would have exceeded 50!
West Fort William and Crilley came up in memory as among earliest homes, both because my father worked in those places while following construction jobs. I have vivid memories of both sites which I wonder about, being only a pre-schooler then.
When we arrived here to start me in old Robert Moore School, Dad rented a $5 monthly cottage on Third Street East for only five years before we rushed off again for Mine Centre where gold mining was still an industry!
Then we returned here after two years to stop briefly in the Canal Apartments on Mowat. Then my father built his second new home across the railroad before the CNR underpass on nearby Portage was created.
My parents occupied that home until their deaths and now my daughter owns it. I moved to my beautiful farm on River Road with my wife Emily, to raise a family of four, my son now being next door there.
After 35 years farming, I returned to town to try apartment living and that about completes my explorations so far (without including a dozen different places in the east and Winnipeg during my college and RCAF years.
Winnipeg came up repeatedly for me until I started feeling at home there although Toronto, Kingston, Ottawa and Trenton also knew me.
I was never overseas but while in uniform you went where you were sent. Our holiday spots including Bermuda and Hawaii and Vancouver also offered hospitality.
Which place pleased me most? Well, home is always where the heart is–and I must confess it’s still right here where I learned most of everything I know and I fully expect to remain along with my family. (I have not heard those still here threatening to leave for any reason yet either!
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While I seem to have taken my own mind off driving, I’m feeling rather justified considering how the gasoline price is sky-rocketing! Five dollars a gallon is the price being discussed and now I’m wondering where I stowed away my bicycle which got me around so well for years with hardly even a change of tires.
Of course, with most of our year being winter, that alternative transportation is not always for me although more hardy riders continue pedaling!
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It’s little wonder everyone is searching for alternatives to cars to purchase, including the proposed new library. Then there are always the hold-outs who say town money should be spent on roadwork here first because all those bumps are stealing what little fun is left in driving.
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Roller skates or bicycles? We were always okay at both but never dreamed of being forced to rely entirely on one or the other. Then there’s always hitch-hiking! And good luck!

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