Thrills of a lifetime

Allan Cup memories of 1952 are still very strong for many of our fans like Les Helliar of Nestor Falls, who calls me the “editor of nostalgia” and sends in the following notes—along with his disbelief that 50 years have gone by so quickly!
He writes:
Those of us lucky enough to be there will never forget seeing Walter Christiansen, Mike Hupchuk, and Ike Eisenzoph bust up the ice trying to get around big Harold Brayshaw of the Fort William Beavers.
How about Doc Johnson killing a rare penalty? They couldn’t seem to get the puck away from him. Ric Ricard’s hair was always bouncing when he was skating for all he was worth and our own rocket, Eddie Kliner, kept Ricard streaking towards the goal.
Or how about the kid line with my schoolmate, big Mike Pearson, who could play with the best of them at 17 years of age between speedsters Gudge Gosselin and Gordie Calder?
Sambo Fedoruk was very fast and always seemed to have the angle to cut off the opposing forward before he got his shot away. Dun Sampson specialized in the bone-crunching body check while Alex Kurceba was a great puck blocker.
Can you imagine how much Sambo or Mike would make if they were 25 today? How about MNR forester/goalie Bill Cleavely, who happened on the scene at the opportune time?
Others who contributed included Percy Robertson, who scored the winning goal in overtime to beat the second best senior team in Canada, the Fort William Beavers.
It was a great team that just happened to come together at the right time. If you see any of them around, tell them they provided some of the best thrills of my lifetime.
• • •
Keith Watson Jr., son of Mel in Crozier, has been visiting from northern New York up around Buffalo, and still digging into genealogy or ancestral research. Several years ago here, he started a local club that should have proved fascinating.
Next, he expects to travel to England in order to interview a great aunt concerning her relatives.
• • •
Don McFee sat in the Sister Kennedy Centre one afternoon wondering how many members of the 17th Forestry Corps, the only World War Two unit organized in Fort Frances, could be brought together again for a reunion here—and the sooner, the better because very few of those soldiers are still with us.
Right now, the gathering might include Don Ross, Virgil and Jerome Cousineau, Emil Morneau, and Claude McFarland as well as Don, the gunsmith and airplane builder.
When their service record began in August, 1940, there were around 200 names on the roll call, Morneau recalls.
The McFees are remembered for Saturday night barn dances at their Miscampbell farm.
• • •
From Oshawa, Calvin Muckle stays in touch here concerning hometown memories, especially around the old and vanished Pither’s Point Park pavilion that his parents managed.
Right away, after noticing Tony Bolzan’s name in this column a week ago, Cal recalls Tony with Shorty Langford as Point lifeguards. He also reports lunching with a former local lawyer, Theo Wolder and wife, Betty, who is Cal’s cousin.
• • •
Just say “welcome back” to Robert and Linda Sletmoen, then stop to listen while they tell about New Zealand, where their son’s wedding took place amidst about 20 relatives and friends who also made the big trip from here.
Bob reports that Kiwi currency is roughly our own in value, while Linda tells about the cleanliness there and the great climate.
Loaded with their own camera shots, they are now awaiting the wedding photos. They were away five weeks.
• • •
Rainycrest can now boast about being home for two of the best talkers in town, having been occupied recently by both Sophie Boyda and Leona Armit, either of who can keep everyone around speechless.
This is, indeed, a compliment because both are widely admired. By coincidence, it seems, they are reported in adjoining rooms, where their conversations should be regularly recorded.
• • •
Bill Adair, the chef at Rainy Lake, says retirement from high school teaching has been a sociable experience, having encountered many students who remember him.
He drove busloads of students down to his former Florida home during March Breaks a few years ago. There, his parents would have everyone out for shore lunches.
Later, his mother moved here and into Rainycrest before she passed on, and some of her attendants remembered her from down south, too.
• • •
Mel Wilson goes into local history here very easily because two of his uncles came here to help build on the papermill canal. It was to be part of a water transportation system across western Canada.
The railroad builders soon replaced it with tracks, however, when the short-lived McKenzie-Mann line was created. Mel’s relatives were a stone mason and a machinist during their canal days, about 100 years back.
• • •
For many years, a farm beyond the highway bend past Barwick has been known as the old “prison farm,” but a former Rainy River resident started asking about it and discovered long-term residents cannot remember any connection with either prisoners of war or others having stayed there at all.
Anyone else in that neighbourhood care to comment on this mystery?
• • •
And Gordie Calder, probably the friendliest guy around, has to be among the busiest. As an Allan Cup veteran, he is up to his ears in preparations going ahead for the local June 7 celebration of the 50-year old hockey event, but wait!
Gordie also is a senator of the Métis Associatio, which can involve quite a bit, and a dedicated volunteer for Sister Kennedy Centre, which means a lot, too.
Then think about this: As a local Calder, he claims the clan now number 1,647 immediate relatives who have their own Web site and can go back to shake thousands more hands in their original Red River settlement around Selkirk, Man.
Christmas giving could be a fascinating experience for the Calders! But, slow down Gordie!

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