Boileaus recalled for boisterous laughter

The young widow with two growing boys who offered me a seat at lunch turned out to be not merely a close neighbour, but the daughter of our 2004 Citizen of the Year, Lin Boileau, whom I have known slightly almost all my life.
So, Mary Boileau was easy to visit with, but her family has known too much sadness!
Her husband, his brothers and sisters as well as Lin’s brother, Louie, and sister Rose (Busch), our former postmaster’s wife, have passed away, and knowing the main family before, I was shocked.
Every family suffers losses, but this was just too much!
So I made her boys laugh with memory of the Boileaus’ turtle at the time my family also lived on Third Street East, and that huge turtle could walk around the front lawn with two or three of us little guys riding.
I would have been about eight years old, but I never forgot the Boileaus!
Lin’s efforts were much appreciated while he served the community so well as a volunteer, and I remember his parents from very long ago, with their boisterous tones ringing out in laughter!
I had not heard about losing his brother and sister, but my cheerful memories are now beclouded by all the tragedy Mary told about.
I knew little of their background except these were French people who came from the states and different from the Quebeckers I met later.
One widow married popular Hugh Fleming and raised a son, Greg, and daughter Maxine, who joined the permanent RCAF and wore her uniform here. Greg Boileau, settled in Atikokan, practised producing electricity from creeks around this region.
It seems wherever you found a Boileau there was something interesting going on, but cheerfully. I’ll have to get more up to date on their careers! Such a great bunch.
• • •
Mike and Carolyn Conners found their retirement home on Vancouver Island, at Campbell River, where prices are considerably lower for condos, and they bought one for $88,000. There is a separate house whereas we have an apartment-style building here, but this may not be a fair comparison, our’s being very new. Mike was the CFOB music director.
Rarely do I meet anyone so well acquainted with all the eastern communities I knew during my university and wartime years, but the youthful looking fellow with snow white hair from Vancouver Island had grown up in the east.
We met over coffee at McDonald’s for the get-acquainted session during his visit here checking instruments for the papermill.
James Powell is only 53 and grew up at Napanee, Ont. He knew my mother’s old neighbourhood in the same area, around Arden and Henderson.
Then it turns out he had also visited around my old RCAF Stations at Toronto, Trenton and Kingston as well as Ottawa where I attended Carleton college after the war for a journalism degree.
When I said I learned about moonshine-making around Henderson where Kentucky hillbillies left descendants, Powell was again with me because that is close to Kingston and Arden.
I expect we’ll meet again on his next swing from B.C. Maybe by that time, I can remember being somewhere else he knows and we can discuss that neighbourhood also.
My memory may not always be great for people’s names some days, but I can always talk about places I have known and the more we talked, the more places we reviewed. And that was fun!
No, I was never overseas, something I regret now when so many around us can bring up their war stories, but I seemed to have developed a great education on eastern North America, much of it simply by hitch-hiking.
Then there were some memorable trips into famous holiday areas such as Hawaii, the Bahamas, and central U.S., as well as Vancouver.
I cannot sing that Hank Snow song with much conviction yet; you know, “I’ve Been Everywhere Man.” But maybe I’ll still learn about other places.
• • •
A pair of our more popular old movie stars who appeared recently on TV’s Lone Star, where many show up eventually, were Kirk Douglas and Marlon Brando and it’s good to see them again.
• • •
Some wonderful people left us very recently. I’m beginning to put off meeting our paperboy who brings us news on all the deaths occurring here this sunny spring time. I learned about the passing of Reta Kielczewski, wife of old friend, Allan, and wondered how he can ever manage without her because Reta must have been depended upon greatly during his prolonged illnesses.
Then there were Irvine Dick, with whom I attended Robert Moore school so many years ago, and later became a friend of his older brother, “Dutch,” who was on our Canadians’ hockey committee in some hard-working years.
And the latest to leave I noticed was Mary Andrusco our former bandmaster, Walter’s wife.
• • •
I am somewhat timidly eyeing the used car market since learning about a TV report the other day concerning all the rackets practised by Canadian dealers, not that Fort Frances was mentioned, just several places across the west.
If you have driven for years, you have heard all those stories before, yet the swindling goes on and on.
It’s so long since I looked into the local market that I cannot even come up with local dealers names like we used to. The last time I dealt on anything was my blue Ford truck my son drives and that’s a 1992 model. My late wife’s Cadillac was a 1985 deal. Why, I accumulated four farm tractors, including a “caterpillar” since then! So the open road was not my top priority.
But I was once a used car salesman myself, when I needed extra income and Allan Avis, then our mayor, took me into his West End business where I promptly snared a car sale that same day.
My first customer was Clara Toole who, with husband Harry, had started into hotels here while a daughter attended Winnipeg University and needed a car for weekend visits here.
In those days we had McVey’s garage selling the GM’s, while Mel Newman handled the Ford deals and Allan kept the Chrysler products rolling. All three dealers got our votes whenever they ran for election.
• • •
Yes! You can avoid all those nuisance commercials on TV becoming more time-consuming daily to the point you feel like walking away from even your most popular programs.
Of course, it will cost you more but expect that. You’ll get a small break on the first few commercial-free days, but it seems best to remember that TV cannot operate financially without giving you too many ads!
• • •
Neil McQuarrie’s two fine books have not yet been followed by a third, and his brother Jim has no word on Neil’s next effort. But his readers here are ready for more of his work. Ian’s Fort Frances history and “Allan Cup” are treasured.
In a lot of local collections here, along with the Devlin history by homesteaders there and the Pochailo book, also locally written, about a career in the Dutch Underground during the Second War.
There are other local writers, including a Kielczewski girl now in Alaska whose book I have lost on loan I believe, but I’d say we don’t lack for such literary skill locally.
• • •
Hopefully, the rains and snows have at last backed off to let us enjoy the summer before everyone has to jump into our boats to survive–or even start copying Noah’s example and decorate our years with arks. Mind you, we’ve weathered plenty wet years before this, but we should start praying for more moderation in our weather patterns.

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