Part 8

My dad was living in Brandon but never earning enough to support a family. We visited him on Saturdays at his boarding place and he always scraped up enough to send us to the Olympia Café where 25 cents bought an enormous banana split. We felt that heaven had nothing more to offer, though, just in case, we did trudge with Mom from our house on 26th Street to the Polish church on 11th every Sunday of our lives. The Mass was in Latin and the sermon in Polish but we must have absorbed the faith through our pores as we never understood a word.

I loved school and when I learned to read it opened up a whole new world for me. Harold showed an artistic flair at an early age and we were so proud of him when his plasticine models were exhibited at Brandon fair. That fair was one of the two highlights of my life. The other was the school Christmas concert. Living in Brandon was a wonderful time for us kids. Barbara and I went to the matinee on Saturdays, joining hands and running past a huge empty house on Rosser Avenue which we were sure was haunted. I simply gobbled up books and if Horatio Alger or Zane Grey ever wrote a book I didn't read, it was because Fleming School library didn't have it. We had scrap books of every movie star and followed the fortunes of Bebe Daniels, my favourite, Clara Bow (the "It" girl), the nation's favourite, Mary Pickford and all the other exciting stars of the day. And the whole neighbourhood was up at 5 AM the Saturday morning the fair came to town. The train tracks were near our home and the excitement of seeing all the cars loaded with animals, and imagining the new rides we could make ourselves sick on was almost more than we could bear. We could hardly eat or sleep until Children's Day opened on the Monday.

Mom continued as a housekeeper for Mr. Kirkby until March of 1927. When she realized she was pregnant again she knew we would have to leave as there was no room in that little house for a baby and an invalid grandmother. Friends of Mom's told her of a postmaster in Dunrea whose wife had left him and who needed a housekeeper to look after him and his 16 year old son Harry. He was willing to take Harold and me and knew that a baby was due in September. Our teacher Miss McCartney, cried when we left school as she said that she was losing her two best pupils. Harold probably had the better mind but I was more anxious to do well so we always topped the class. Leaving Brandon was difficult for all of us, and although we were only moving 45 miles away it seemed like another country.

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