Down Memory Lane – the Fourth Decade 1973-1983 (Ine)

During this time, 12 Kenmark Blvd. in Scarborough was still the heart of clan life. From here, Mom could worry about her children and their spouses, even as long distance bills grew. At least when Peter married Cindy, he stayed in Scarborough. To this day, Peter continues his intimate relationship with Mom’s and Dad’s washing machine and any other devilish appliances. Hannie and Peter, with Mike and Chris, were living in Oakville, on Caesar Ave. and enjoying the garden, barbecuing and hockey. Bill was living it up in Ottawa, building his computer business and remodelling his house on Arthur St. Henry was busy being an engineer in Kitchener-Waterloo and chasing after little Michael and baby Jennifer. Ine was living downtown with Fred.

This was the time of family growth and change. Seven new grandchildren were born: Neil 1973, Gerard 1974, Daniel 1976, Andrea 1977, and Caroline 1978. That year also saw the wedding of Henry and Ann in Montreal. Lisa was born in 1980 and Becky in 1983. With seven baptisms and two weddings to celebrate in this ten years, you would think the Olders clan had gotten together in joy sufficiently. But no. Mom retired from teaching in 1975, with a major party, and , five years later, Dad left the Toronto Police with an equally grand farewell. Both were well honoured for years of dedicated service by friends and co-workers. In 1983 we celebrated the Silver Wedding Anniversary of Mom and Dad with a pretty big party, because Dad was sure he wouldn’t be here for the Golden!!!! Father Veltri celebrated a mass at St. Augustine’s on Kingston Rd. and we had a festive dinner at the Guildwood Inn. Another wonderful occasion to enjoy fun, food, and music.

It must have seemed to Mom and Dad that they would never be rid of their kids. Taking the example from Hannie and Peter in previous years, Henry left his family in the ancestral home while he took officer training in British Columbia, and then Fred and Ine moved in for a length of time while their house was being built in Odessa. Scarborough was a great place anyway for a family holiday in March Break or summer, with ready access to the Science Centre, the Museum, the Ex, lots of parks, and later, the Zoo. Any visit was enough to cause a FAMILY PICNIC. Lots of funny reminiscing happened in those parks.

It was very important to get together at Christmas. Due to decreasing room in everyone’s cars for the hometrips, we decided to draw names for gifts. The total haul was less, but we must have given up quantity for quality. Were we growing up? If you could have spied as at the table on the weekend immediately after Christmas, you’d think not. The chatter, the laughter, the sometimes raucous singing continued for several hours after the hearty dinners communally prepared. (Re. the raucous singing – our carol singing always began decorously enough but always ended with a spirited rendition of The Twelve Days of Christmas, with Dad’s line “Three French hens” bringing down the house.)            When we made Odessa our Christmas headquarters, we borrowed movies and a projector from the library, and showed cartoons to all the kids in the unfinished bowling alley basement. At night, each family got one room for its use, and bunked down camping style. In Ottawa, camping was always a surprise. One year a talented chef prepared a gourmet feast, and all the women hung around the kitchen, enjoying the novel experience of someone else doing the cooking. That night many of us slept in the loft.

Every Sunday, Mom would phone each of us wherever we’d moved to, to catch up on the news. “Oma’s restaurant” was always the favourite place to eat, followed by a turn with Opa in the garden. Oma and Opa were never too busy to babysit, in Oakville, Odessa, North Bay, Montreal or Scarborough. They were always quick, in those years, to help with time, money, or a supportive ear. The love just kept on coming.

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