My reading jogged my memory last night. A boy pushed a button in an elevator, and while he was taken up or down, I was whisked across time, back about 60 years. I remembered my own elevator experience way back then. I may have thought about it once or twice over the years, but if I had, it had not been for a long time, but that one little act jogged my memory.
My parents and I had taken a little trip from Montreal to Cornwall, Kingston and Brockville in Eastern Ontario. We visited Old Fort Henry in Kingston, toured the Thousand Islands from Brockville, and visited extended family in Cornwall as well as toured some of the new St Lawrence Seaway.
But the boy in the book, pushed the button in the elevator.
And that hurtled my mind back across the years to the Cornwallis Hotel in Cornwall. At least I think Cornwall was the place and Cornwallis was the name. I don't think it was the Revere Hotel in Brockville, but I suppose it could have been. Whichever it was, the elevator totally fascinated me.
You see, I could push the buttons and ride it myself at will. And I loved it.
Up until that point, my experience with elevators was limited to multi-storied department stores in downtown Montreal, and in those buildings, young ladies piloted the elevators.
But in this hotel, I was the pilot. What a turn-on!
I found every excuse I could to leave our room in order to pilot that elevator.
We moved away from Montreal a few years later, and at some point I am sure that those department store elevators must have been switched over to self-operating models.
Also, department stores as I used to know them eventually disappeared, and if floors did have to be changed in say a two-floor store like Sears, escalators rather than elevators became the norm.
My last experience with department store elevators was in the summer of 1965 or 66 in downtown Toronto. My girlfriend at the time had a summer job at the upscale Eatons Department Store on College Street, and I visited her there once. Guess what? Her job was elevator operator. I had pretty much forgotten that too ... because my elevator may not go all of the way to the top any more.