Okay, this isn’t really going to be about the entire land of my birth. That would actually be Canada! No, I’m just going to share a few memories of our apartment at 5998 Park Avenue where I was brought home from the hospital at one week of age, and lived until the age of four, when we moved further west.
These days, whenever I have the occasion to go past that Park Ave. address (now called av du Parc, en français), I notice how awfully narrow the front courtyard of the apartment building is. What used to seem gigantic to my little-girl self, now seems like a dark, dank passageway, leading up to the front door. Take a look:
Yes, that was our entrance, right in the centre of the photo, at the far end of what looks like an alley.
Since I was so young when we lived there, my parents, big brother and I – this was in the late 1940s, I’ll spell it out, I’m not so vain 😀 – I can only recall brief snatches of that era. The ice man (for the icebox; we didn’t have a real fridge until we moved). He’d schlep it up the back fire-escape stairs and into our apartment, a huge cube of ice, gripped in big black tongs. That guy must’ve had well-developed muscles!
Playing in the snow in front, in winter. Mom first dressing me up in layers: pants, shirt, sweater, navy-blue wool leggings with feet, tied in front, red river coat over all, hat, scarf, mittens, and boots. Then, me, in my itty-bitty-girl voice: “I have to make a wee-wee.”
Mom: “Arghhh!” Well, she didn’t say that, but she probably thought it! Most likely she said those time-honoured words, “Why didn’t you tell me before?!”
Measles. Chicken pox, suffering and itching on the chesterfield in the living room. The bedroom I shared with my brother, in the rear, mom reading me bedtime stories on the bed – Winnie-the-Pooh was my big favourite. I think my brother rolled his eyes and retreated to his comic books.
This is a floor plan of our apartment. I found it online in a “For Rent” ad for the same address!
Sixty-plus years ago, but my memories, though few, remain crystal-clear. They still make me smile…and realize how very lucky I am.