No place like home? Maybe!

Now don’t feel badly when I tell you this week, I’m now staying in one of the classiest apartments around (first floor in Aspen House, no less).
It’s a bit far out, located in the northeast part of town (the lady in charge, Linda Skirten, reports seeing a bear come out of the front yard trees). As well, the railroad runs practically right next door—convenient for hopping on box-cars if you can’t pay your rent.
In fact, the trains run so close to my bedroom, you might guess they were in the next apartment when the whistle blows and thundering begins, sometimes at night (but I grew up next to the CN subway, so trains don’t really bother me).
I’m convinced I’ve got it good here, even though I have to remember to carry keys in case I miss Dial-a-Ride and can’t leave my room.
No, this is not merely a one-bedroom flat. I’ve got space enough for six to 10 people to live in these spacious rooms (but sorry folks, only one bed!)
We gained a new fridge and stove, but after several days the telephone is no yet connected because Bell does not understand that newspaper people would die without phones. So they are looking out for one, I guess, after first giving me a dud.
I don’t cook, either, so my kitchen full of new equipment just sits there waiting for my daughter, Carolyn, who has too much to look after already. She and my son, Earl, and his wife, Laureen, have given so generously of their time since I started moving.
I’m sure they wish I’d quit moving. First into their neat home on River Road for several nights and now over here, but they are game to keep on trying to fit me in while l looking after my many arrangements.
As for this new home, well, there are a few other problems, such as my insecurity on the smooth bathroom floor (here comes another train about 50 feet away, but rolling quietly because it’s now daytime).
So on to my bathroom duties and showering, which I have learned to avoid as dangerous. My equilibrium is threatened and with no real hand holds, I’ve put showers on hold while still attempting to stay clean.
But as Lorraine Bannon, our DBA nurse says, there’s nothing wrong with a good swab bath. Just remember to go between your toes, she advises.
Daughter Carolyn advises there are care-givers available for bathing help, but not yet, ladies! Meanwhile my main cane, a character for sure, stands grinning in the corner—knowing I can’t get along without him and his young partner because it takes two for me on the streets.
After two days of coming and going, I’ve meet only one lady tenant, Margaret Cousineau, a granddaughter of my old friend, lumberman J.A. Mathieu. She made and brought over some wild rice soup, which is delicious, but also gives me something for my new fridge.
Hopefully, that fridge will come in handy, along with a new stove and toaster and other appliances my daughter finds. So wish me luck because I’ll need it all alone here for the first time since my college rooming days.
Saturday’s yard sales became important for good deals on a table and other items. Carolyn keeps on shopping for me while her chum, Judy Coomber, worked wonders in decorating my living room with photos and flowers.
Moving like this can be a grand occasion to bring families close and without son, Earl and wife, Laureen, added to busy Carolyn, I’m sure I could never have made this far.
Now, if only Bell can tune in with service after this week of waiting, I’m beginning to believe my move succeeded.
• • •
I’ve been determined to put together the bare facts on bears, and believe me, this is no easy assignment! Partially because bears don’t seem to have telephones, perhaps because they don’t seem to stay long in one place in summertime, and sleep too soundly all winter when apparently they choose not to be disturbed.
So I have to go on reports by humans—and they are not always reliable. For instance: While the fellow who saw a mother bear with four cubs undoubtedly believes there were that many young, he could have been excited and seeing double because one or two cubs will do for most bear mothers (although another witness insists she saw three cubs together with big momma).
If either of those reports is the bare truth, right now I should issue a warning like the hurricane watchers down south: let’s evacuate!
This trend towards larger families may be okay for some species but not for bears, who were proving here earlier this fall they would prefer to come among us—and maybe to do some cuddling.
Now, I’m not averse to eating bear meat, having tasted it once and enjoyed it, but if bears have the idea they can turn the tables by becoming much more numerous and enjoying Fort Frances so much they want to move in (and maybe sleep with us this winter)—well, that certainly will not be appreciated!
Bears already have proven, right in town here, that they have absolutely bad manners. The fellow whose home they messed up when he tried to chase one out with a broomstick will vouch for that statement.
I hope he has managed to clean up his home by now, ceiling and all. And I’m sure there will be very few other doors left open invitingly—at his place.!
Our bylaws presently allow very few animals other than dogs and cats to roam among us, and definitely none weighing over 600 pounds, such as horses and cows, to wander in and out of town. So forget about raising your own bearskin coats.
Besides, nobody lately has chosen to warm or adorn himself in bearskin, welcome as it could be winter time.
• • •
Recently, the mail brought me two wartime medals but perhaps not for bravery! My daughter wondered, so I gave her this explanation. One medal was for capturing the North Pole and the other medal for also bringing home the South Pole!
But after Nov. 11 every year as winter arrives, I realize how badly I blundered! Heroics like mine never should bring medals!
Actually, my wartime career involved our Japanese enemy—poles apart from the journalistic fabrication above, but those medals back me up!
• • •
Local prospector Jack Bolen, who stole one of my former star reporters, Teresa, several years ago, is in the forefront of the gold hunting going on again right now at Mine Centre, his dad reports.
The latter still is recovering from a broken neck he suffered after falling from a ladder while fixing his eavestrough at his Stratton home.
• • •
Remember the Winnipeg Tribune which was very popular here years ago? I was the local agent for years and always interested yet in my carriers, such as Roger Skirten, who later moved to the States.
He was the only Skirten I knew before meeting his brother, Ray, who now manages Aspen House.

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