We got around the oceans very well

At this time of year, while our lake was still deciding when and whether to re-open, my wife, Emily, and I would both decide to go and find summer somewhere else!
Whichever ocean did not matter much so we had both Pacific and Atlantic experiences before long.
Others would sooner take highway vacations by car, but I had spent too much time on land during my wartime years—hitch-hiking successfully over much of the eastern continent, in both Canada and the U.S., and seeing many of the major cities which after a while all came to resemble each other.
Besides, I guess we were always water people, having lived next to our own river, both in McIrvine and Crozier, through most of our married lives and we yearned for the great openness of the seas.
In the right weather conditions, of course!
So let’s do the Bahamas, Hawaii, or Vancouver Island next and we soon took in all three!
The ocean breezes proved a great break from the harsh winters we used to know. And we found the folks we met everywhere were happy to show us around and make us feel welcome.
At Freeport, in the Bahamas, we met a camera merchant, Ernie Skog and wife, who had been there for years from the U.S. despite rather awkward business regulations. For one thing, your profits must remain in the Bahamas by government decree and Ernie had been embarrassed explaining why he invested in a nearby Florida marina.
We soon realized the Bahamas government was strict in other ways, including its relationship with Las Vegas, which supplied nightclub entertainers. Apparently, the Mafia had become influential there.
None of which concerned us, except in our ignorance. But you have to be careful about your attitude in strange places, we learned.
Anyway, the Skogs helped get us educated in Bahamas ideas and made sure we got lots to eat before we left. And we saw ocean creatures at the beach beside Ernie’s warehouses and hoped the Skogs would return the visit, but they never did.
(Too busy making money, I’d guess!)
Having learned something along the Atlantic side, we ventured next year to Vancouver and Victoria. Our daughter, Marion, was employed there as a travel agent and living close to the mother of the wheelchair hero who recently had crossed Canada raising funds for polio victims and crippled children.
Next door to us was a retired Thunder Bay druggist who said moving to B.C. had suited him very well and he enjoyed the fact that real estate prices had soared since he arrived.
As we looked around, we noticed that ocean-front homes frequently had cement statues of lions out front and learned these were homes of Italian concrete contractors. So we told Cam Belluz here, and he promptly sold us a lion he had made at his own shop.
While at Vancouver, we were driven by the mother of Marion’s girlfriend on a tour of the city and nearby mountains. I tested the hot water in a flowing well that supplied a hotel. Behind it was a Sasquatch statue—one of those giants we used to hear about.
And we marvelled at how high a killer whale could propel itself out of a pool in a Victoria aquarium—then cause such a splash that everyone nearby was soaked (including Emily, who fortunately was wearing her raincoat).
So we learned much as we went along again, and were ready to be educated more on future trips. We always travelled by air so there was no loss of time enroute.
Next time it was off to Hawaii, where we watched our George Mayhew run in a marathon. And went aboard the sunken “Arizona,” which was left full of water in the shallows after being sunk by the Japanese air force during the attack on Pearl Harbor during the Second World War.
A great marble slab contains names of all the American fatalities and we witnessed the Pearl Harbor movie while there.
I guess what we really went to the oceans for—the warmth and sunshine—was the least among our wonderful experiences, too many to be told here but well worth the expense and time involved.
And I learned never to knock ocean travel because our yearning for the sea always paid off in learning—and anticipation for the next trip.
Since Emily has passed on, however, I have not thought much about travel, except for hope of seeing Italy someday because my father came from there and quite recently I received a letter from his relatives at Vesuvius.
I probably won’t get there, but who knows what I’m passing up. This would be an adventure, I’m told, that I should attempt if that’s ever possible.
• • •
The papermill people get to exchange some colourful memories over coffee and bringing up names of characters they knew at work, including Mike VanJura and Dan Callaghan, both old friends of mine.
Mike worked on the pulpwood piles by the river and his associates there never knew what to expect from him. He had ideas such as how to raise travel funds for our Canadians’ hockey team every spring.
Mike would roar his requests at Scott Street storekeepers and had the welfare of his favourite team very much at heart.
I served on the hockey committee with Mike and well remember the night he came over to me in the press box because “Santa Claus just walked into the rink without paying,” as Mike reported (Santa was George Miner, who impersonated him at Christmas parades).
Mike also meant much to ball teams by promoting the new ball park at Pither’s Point, which now bears his name.
Callaghan could raise money also, but differently. Once he raffled off a “washer and dryer” to his fellow workers, who discovered too late the prize was a lead washer and a hand towel!
• • •
And I wonder now whatever happened to the sons of W.G. (Bill) Noden, MPP, who was a favourite Progressive-Conservative despite the fact his business partner, popular Ralph Gillmor, was a well-known Liberal.
Together, they operated the Gillmor-Noden hardware store across Scott Street from the post office. It later became the Don Law store.
Anyway, I have not heard anything about Francis Noden, the older son who moved to California after attending Robert Moore School with me, nor about his younger brother, Bill Jr.
And considering how the Noden name was heard here every day, this seems strange.
• • •
It’s said nobody works harder at regaining his leg strength than Bud Hebert, who told me during the winter that he was doing a mile a day with his two-wheeled walker which, incidentally, is the same as one I own but seldom need.
I don’t walk nearly that much, but should!
• • •
Having seen each other but rarely for years, I had to stop Eddy Zub the other day as he left Wal-Mart. I wondered how many Zubs were at Myers’ Lumber store when I also worked there a half-century ago!
Ed said his older brothers, Mike, who once ran a small grocery across Scott Street from the White Pine Inn, and Elex, the eldest, who was master machinist in the papermill, worked for Myers with us while Ed’s younger brother, Roy, was there at the same time.
But a fifth brother, Harry, whom I knew earlier, then was employed in the Falls.
Mr. Myers had the Zubs sanding floors around town while I helped him making fish-boxes in the store’s backroom.

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