Sunday, November 18, 2007



Wednesday, November 14, 2007

What not to do

My father was a smoker. He smoked all his life and finally got lung cancer and throat cancer. He had to have his voice box removed and breathed thru a hole in his throat. He had a miserable painful last two years of his life. As a child I used to watch him as he rolled his own cigaretts. His fingers were quite adept. I tried and failed miserably. It takes a bit of practise. He had a friend who smoked a pipe. They would talk in the kichen and smoke. The room was full of tobaco smoke. Its a wonder we did not all get lung cancer.. Back then there was not too much known regarding cigaretts and lung cancer
The six of us lived in a small house with two bedrooms. Before we moved I slept with my father in a double bed and my brother Frank slept in a double with my mother. There was very little space in that bedroom. When we went to sleep my father wound up the alarm clock and I remember falling asleep to the tic toc of the clock. And to this day the tic toc of the clock will put me to sleep. The tic toc will drive some people crazy. There was a family living upstairs and sometimes there was a lot of yelling and banging and my mother would take the broom and beat the ceiling in an effort to quiet them down.
There was a large house next door with several room to rent on the first floor. After a while the first floor was converted to a pool room with two tables and card gambling in the back. They got raided by the local police. Some arrests were made and the owner fined. It was then converted to a church a small sect of some kind. I was always awakened on Sunday morning by the singing of hyms. This did not bother me.
Next door, on the other side, lived on of my best friends. He had an older brother and an older sister. Their father was a tyrant and would beat them when things did not go his way. I could hear a lot of yelling screaming and crying many times. My friends name was Stan, his brtother was Alex and his sister was Lillian. Alex got into the wrong crowd and stole a car , was arrested and jailed. His sister Lillian got pregnant at about 17 and was kicked out of the house. I never found out what eventualy happened with those two. Stan was lucky. He and a couple of other friends who lived two houses down were my best friends and we were busy all summer long. There was a confectionary store on the corner just down the road run bt two old sisters. We often stopped there when we had some change got an ice cream cone 3 cents for one dip and 5 cents for a double. The sisters and the store are long gone.
Lester was on of the brothers of my friend. He was 5 years older than I and had undergone numerous operation on his hip to repair damage due to an accident and was on crutches for many years. He always walked with a severe limp. One cold winter night while he was still on crutches we broke into the back of a hardware store and we were able to steal an electric motor. It was priced about $50.00. Lester new a fence and we managed to sell it for $10.00. Five dollars a piece. We also stole a can of flat fifties ( a flat can with 50 cigaretts) from a confectionary store whle the clerks back was turned. That is when I started to smoke at about age 16. I felt big and important. I feel pretty stupid now. The teen across the street also stole a car and was jailed. I manged to avoid any serious trouble with the police. I participated in a few other nasty things. When we moved away and after I graduated from vocational school my friends and I drifted apart. I started going to collage and saw very little of my boyhood friends after that.
My father and mother met in Windsor, Ontario and married there. The first born was a brother I believe his name was also Stefan but he died very young from phuemonia I was told. My sister Annie was born next followed by ny sister Helen. I came next and then my brother Frank was born four years later. When I was 18 we moved a few blocks away to a slightly larger house with three bedrooms. That was the year 1950. I recall that year clearly because a newscaster on the radio stated "we are now in the middle of the century" and this was followed by a jingle sung by Dina Shore " I drove my Chevrolet in the U.S.A. "
While living on Marion Street from age four or five to eighteen my friends and I did the usual things kids do while growing up. We played baseball, soccer, hockey, climbing trees in the park, snowball fights in the winter and building snowmen. When the season was right and the pears were juicy on the tree of a neighbour a few houses down we were up there picking without permission. We did not bother asking because he was a grouchy old man and not liked by the kids in the neighbourhood. Once he caught us in the act of stealing his precious pears and he came running out of his house yelling at us. We half climbed and half fell out of the tree and hit the ground in terror. We tore thru the gate and ran down the alley with him running and cursing after us. Rocks flew past our heads and bounced on the concrete. We got away unscathed and never went back. Fun times in retrospect.
We played a lot in the streets. The cars parked on both sides limited the playing of baseball somewhat. There was the occassional broken window or dented hood. Of course we were long gone befor the owner found out. One day I ran out from between two parked cars without stopping to look and was hit. I do not remember much but my mother said she came out screaming as I lay on the pavement with blood coming from my ears. I spent some time in the hospital but I guess I came out OK.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Back a Few Years

My father emigrated from Poland about the same time as my mother. He was 20 years old. He landed in Montreal and worked at menial jobs until he went to Sudbury, Ontario where he worked under ground at the Stobie mine for International Nickel company. Ironically 40 years later after I graduated for Wayne State University in Detroit Michigan with a Bachelor of Science degree in Geology I worked for a while in that very same mine. I was married and had two boys at that time--Steve and Kevin. Sudury, in those days was, a dismal mining town. The smelter spewed sulphur fumes from its smoke stack and, depending on the direction of the wind the fumes caused your eyes to smart. The sulphur laden air killed and stunted the trees and shrubs in the area and blackened the surrounding rocks. A few years ago the company built a new smoke stack which, I believe, is the tallest smoke stack in north america. The sulphur smoke is now much disseminated and lands someplace far to the east and is far less potent.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

growing up

At about age 8 I remember going with my mother on a Saturday morning to the A and P super market. This supermarket originated well over 100 years ago as the Grear Atlantic and Pacific Tea company bringing boat loads of tea from the orient to Britton. This was near the tail end of world war two and many things were difficuly to come by. I remember opening the door of the super market and was suddenly engulfed in the sweet aroma of fresh bananas. This left an indelable mark in my memory. I have never smelt such a wonderful aroma of bananas since. It was rare for us to have such fruit in those times . Every Saturday morning I would go, sometimes with my father , if he was not working on Saturday or with my mother to the farmers market in downtown Windsor. We always went by bus since the family did not have a car until I bot a 1929 Ford jalopy after graduating from high school I learned by driving up and down the alley way. To day allies do not exist in newly developing neighborhoods. My father never had a car but rode his bicycle to work and back. In the winter time he took a bus. We bot fresh friuts, vegetables and meats at the farmers market. We almost always bot a live chiken and my mother made chiken soup every Sunday. We brought the chiken home and it my duty to help my mother with it. I did this by grabbing the chiken by the head and streching the neck as far as I could and with a sawing action of the kichen knife my mother severed the neck. The chiken kicked and scratched for a few seconds . and my mother would quickley put the bleeding chicken into a pot. Sometimes I would have to wipe some blood off the table and floor. Then she put the chicken into pot of boiling water along with some onios, celery. carrots, parsley, salt and pepper and other condiments that I do not recall. My sisters, both older than me thought this was horrific and stayed far away while this was going on. My father did not care for this procedure and he stayed as far away as possible. It became soley my responsibility. After boiling in the pot for a time my mother removed it and we proceded to pull the feathers. With that chore over she split the chiken down the breastbone and removed the entrales. She removed the stomache and peel.ed off the iner lining . This was very tastey when cooked. The heart also was very good when cooked. Sometimes we would find two or three yokes inside the chiken and they were boiled also. I found it all decious. I would make a chiken sandwich using mostley the dark meat and lots of skin with a good dose of salt, pepper and catchup-----wonderful.

history from womb to 5

To the best of my knowledge my mother had a sister and they lived with their parents in a small village in the country of Ukarain. My mother once told me that her father had a little store there and sold vegetables and meats. her father had saved some money and in the way of those years wanted her to go to the "new world" so at the age of 15 she left her little village and disembarked from a steamer full of immigrants in about 1917. She landed in Montreal and took a job in a restaurant washing dishes i think. She never saw her family again. All communication was lost for 40 years. By chance she sent a letter,following two world wars,to her sister and amazingley got a letter in return. At last they could write each other. While working in the restaurant the unsanitary conditions turned her off from eating in reataurants for years to come. Growing up I cannot recall ever eating out. She bought her own food and cooked for us. We moved from the house where I was born when I was about five. I have very little recollection of the years befor 5 We moved to 1123 marion street, a few blocks away and lived there till I was 18 So it was at this address and the friends around that made up my formative years, good and bad.

Monday, November 5, 2007


I was born in a duplex in a poor area of the city of Windsor, Ont., 1933 in the middle of the depression. My father worked for the Ford Motor co.. There were many strikes in those days and money was hard to come by. We lived poorly and had old worn out clothes and shoes, but what did we know in those days around 8 and 10 yrs old we had no standards to measure by and so we had fun. But lets go back a few years.