This week's Comeback prompt has to do with summertime memories. As I wrote (below) about the single memory that came to mind, my mind was led to a chain of like memories. It's funny how that works. There is nothing deep and introspective about this post — just a string of memories unleashed by the first one.
Nelson was my buddy from about grade 3 through grade 9 although we went to different schools in the last two years. After about grade 5, he no longer lived around the corner but several blocks away, but we were both on our bikes a lot back then so going back and forth was easy peasey, despite the increased distance.
For several summers, we would jump on those bikes and cycle another distance in a direction away from both our houses to a public pool — at Barrie Park. In my memory at least, we did this almost every weekday afternoon for a few summers, but possibly not in the last one or two that I lived in Montreal as we grew into teenagers and our interests evolved, or perhaps mutated is a better word.
The pool was always crowded on those hot, summer days, but that didn't bother us as splashing, cavorting and jumping in were more important than swimming.
Back in the late fifties and very early sixties, I am thinking that admission was probably anywhere from 10 to 25 cents per session, so it was a pretty reasonable rate for an hour or two of fun under the hot summer sun.
With that, I spin off into another memory, but it also links with swimming and another best friend. This aquatic memory has nothing much to do with summer, and it occurred not in childhood but in my teenage years, and it was in Toronto and not Montreal.
Once again, I'd go swimming regularly, once or twice per week with my then best friend, Stuart. I am pretty certain about Tuesday evenings and seem to recollect that we also went on most or at least some Thursday evenings as well. After swimming, we would almost invariably head to a burger joint, Sony's, on our way home where we didn't have burgers but did order fries — with vinegar. We both doused our fries with vinegar (it's a Canadian thing), and the first few inhalations, tended to induce a bit of coughing having just been breathing chlorine infested air.
Those are two good memories with different best friends in different places at different times. I am no longer in contact with Stuart but am still somewhat in touch with Nelson. We went for decades without seeing each other and even lost touch. One day before the internet really took off, yet another friend brought a CD database of phone numbers etc to a PD Day meeting. I looked up Nelson. found his address, wrote, and he wrote back.
A few years after that, in 2000, Sue and I motored across Canada and we met up with Nelson and Shirley in Jasper National Park where we had another pool-related activity when they took us to Miette Hot Spings. What a delight to enjoy the hot springs rimmed by the Canadian Rockies in the lingering evening dusk of the north. I absolutely loved being in the Rockies that, for me, topped even the Grand Canyon.
Sixteen years later, Nelson and I remain in contact: not frequently, but we send birthday and Christmas cards and exchange the occasional note at other times. Perhaps we will meet up once more before our times on earth are up. That remains to be seen.