Down Memory Lane – the Third Decade – 1963-1973 (Henry)

Henry Olders Speech at 50th Anniversary Dinner

At the outset, a disclaimer: Peter is the last to talk, and he’s already told me that he will deny everything I say. I know that he’s a politician, so this is just ordinary behaviour for him, but as a responsible citizen, I feel it’s my duty to warn you.

Just before coming here, Bill, Peter, and I were sitting around the dining room table at Peter’s house, each working on our little speeches. Very reminiscent of our school years at 12 Kenmark, when lack of space meant that we all sat around the dining room table every evening to do our homework.

Of course, living the farthest away, I was given the last choice of which decade I would have the privilege of talking about – the one nobody else wanted, the third decade. These were the years of the great diaspora, when most of the children left home to start families of their own.

Peter was the smart one, though. With the rest of us out, he had the run of the house. I always marvelled when I came home to visit, how Peter had managed to talk my parents into letting him paint his room (OUR room, the boys’ room!) black. Not brown, not charcoal, solid black!. With his ultraviolet “black lights” making his posters glow in the dark, it was quite an experience, listening to Jimi Hendrix wailing away on his guitar at top volume. How did he manage to get away with all this? I can only conclude that he had somehow discovered my mom’s “guilt button”. Ah, how we envied him, being waited on hand and foot. Bill and I got our share of mothering, though: we both went off to Waterloo to study engineering, and we would hitchhike home every weekend so that Mom could do our laundry. While Bill ran up hundreds of dollars in long distance telephone charges calling his lady, I would brave blinding snowstorms to get to a convenience store to buy cigarettes. And now I wonder why my son Michael has a hard time giving up smoking!

All the really interesting stuff at the beginning of the ’63-’73 decade, it seems, had to do with Bill and various modes of transportation. One year, the whole family went to a cottage up north, leaving Bill home as he had a summer job at Canada Malting. I think Andy Zijlstra who is here with us tonight may remember this. When the family came back home after two weeks away, we were very surprised to see the entire living room turned into a carpenter’s workshop. Bill had decided he needed a kayak, and what better place to build one than in the middle of the living room? It did get built, eventually, and one time Bill paddled from Frenchman’s Bay to Ashbridge’s Bay, which is certainly a good long distance. We were so worried that we called the police and the coast guard to try to find him, when the agreed-upon time for Bill to call had passed. Bill related a story of being towed into port by the coast guard, but he says now that it really didn’t happen. Not only did Bill take the old ’53 Dodge back and forth to work downtown without a licence

  • Henry dismantled his Triumph – all over basement one summer
  • Henry rolled VW
  • all five graduated from high school during decade – all received MPTA award
  • Hannie to Zambia 1969-71
  • arrival of BOKO
  • Bill’s long-distance bills from Waterloo to Krys
  • Bill’s marriage – check w/ him
  • my marriage – Bill was best man – check with Sue
  • find out re mom’s hospitalization(s)
  • arrival of Fred
  • court case over speeding on Kenmark – Bill & Henry went to court – gave complainant (a neighbour) a ride home after court case
  • birth & adoption of first 4 grandchildren
  • Boffa’s move back to Toronto – spent 2 months at the Holiday Inn on Eglinton – Michael, fed up with hotel food, asked ‚ “Can we go to Oma’s restaurant today?”
  • Peter painting his room black, with ultraviolet lights
  • ideas for others:
  • my concussion after Bill wanted to use the bus money for a candy bar
  • the electric eye which was set up to shut off the power in the bedroom
  • the explosion of the peanut butter jar in the school yard
  • feeding the frog to the snakes
  • burning the toast in the basement
  • Ine’s career as a folk singer

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