Once upon a time in Queensborough

My brothers Kenneth (left) and John in the shade of the old maple tree that now is no more. (Photo almost certainly by my grandfather, J.A.S. Keay)

I thought I’d share this very sweet photo borrowed from my mum, showing my brothers at the ages of, I’d guess, 5 and 3. They are in the front yard of the Manse, under the big maple tree; the swing that you can see behind John hung from one of its branches. John seems to have got a fair bit of the dirt that he was playing in onto his face, which was par for the course. Also on display is our (very dusty) 1961 Pontiac, a Strato Chief, I believe. That was our second car at the Manse, replacing the ’56 Chev that we arrived in in 1964. (Dad always regretted having got rid of that Chev.) At the time there was a fence along the front of the yard, quite a nice one; I wrote about it here. You can see the gates that opened onto the driveway.

If I’ve guessed John’s and Ken’s ages right, the year would be 1968 or 1969. Aren’t they cute little boys?

Here’s another shot of the lads. In this one you can see St. Andrew’s United Church up the road:

And here’s one from a few weeks ago, showing much the same view. I guess the trees along the road have grown up quite a bit (see: yesterday’s post), because you can now just barely see the steeple of St. Andrew’s.

All that’s missing in the last one are two cute little boys, a big old maple tree, and a very dusty ’61 Strato Chief.

7 thoughts on “Once upon a time in Queensborough

  1. My guess is that John’s face looks the way it does from trying to crawl under the Strato Chief to rescue the soccer ball. Ken is totally smug because he put the ball there.
    A couple of years ago I saw a part of an animated kids movie where the evil Tyrannasauras Rex was trying to eat the protagonist who was stuck in a narrow space. The dinosaur couldn’t reach his tiny arms past his massive cranium. Which is exactly John’s problem with the soccer ball.
    Johns head was forever getting in the way of poles and swings, sticks, baseballs, door frames and pavement.
    Ken is getting ready to pedal like stink before John tries to shove him under the car as soon as Aunt Lorna leaves with the camera.
    Melanie of course is on her way to Bobbies for some Dubble Bubble and a couple of Pixie sticks.
    Katherine was probably seizing the moment her mothers back was turned to paint the kitchen turquoise.

  2. Incidentally I was always under the impression that Ken broke his arm falling out of that maple tree. But I think he put that rumor to rest. Can you corroborate? Was it the trees fault? A dog that bites kids is euthanized. I always suspected that tree was eventually turned into firewood because it was such a hazardous jungle gym.

  3. Hahahahaha!!

    Wasn’t it John who used to go out to the sandbox and actually eat the dirt? I mean, I can’t believe I’m admitting to this; people will think we’re some kind of weird…….What’s that??….Oh. Right.

    That tree was gigantically hugely enormous. At least in my memory it was. It was unclimbable, or I would have been sitting in the top of it every day. Ken broke his arm on a school trip after climbing a tree he was specifically and emphatically told to keep out of. That Ken. What a rebel.

    John’s super-sized head was on the business end of my foot on at least one memorable occasion. How did he survive those days with his faculties intact?….What’s that??…Oh. Right.

    You’ll note in the picture that John is wearing his super-funky Chuck Taylor converse hi-tops, while Ken has on some baby blue horrors with bright orange socks. It’s good that Ken grew up and out of his fashion mis-steps……What’s that??….Oh. Right.

  4. Love the old photos! The boys are darling, especially with the dirty faces, but it is the Chevy that catches my eye and sets me reminiscing. My dad had a Chevy Impala in the late 60’s that was the family car for many years (“the car we drove you home from the hospital in!” he would often exclaim). My dad LOVED cars, and he especially liked that one. His great love and interest in them seems to have been inherited by his grandson MacLaren who could name any car make and model by the time he was 3. Another favorite favorite family car from the early 70’s was my mom’s Katie. Shortly after moving the family to Vancouver, my dad bought my mom a busted up VW beetle (don’t ask me the year…it was old!). All the neighbors knew when we were out and about due to the perpetually faulty muffler, and the passenger door leaked badly so there was always a slosh of water during the winter months (I did mention it was Vancouver!). But the best thing about Katie (named by my mom because the plate started with “KT”) was that she could park it at Ambleside Beach no matter how full the parking lot got because it was nice and tiny. 3 days out of 5 in the summer she would pack a picnic lunch, beach blankets, full kit for my sister who was in diapers at the time, her own 3 kids and a friend each into that beetle and head down Sentinel Hill to the beach. We whiled away the hours hunting for crabs, building castles, walking, giggling at the teenagers and relaxing. The perfect cap to the day would be when my pop would show up after work at The Province newspaper and we would eat hot dogs cooked over a bonfire of the beach. Good times!

    • What wonderful stories, Pam! Those times at the beach must have been heavenly for a small child. And I love the image of your dad joining you at the end of the day for hot dogs. Ah, childhood…

  5. Love the old photos, Katherine. I especially like the bicycle…did they call them handlebars back then??

    • Not sure what you mean by “handlebars.” That little unit that my brother Ken is riding was once mine, when I was a tiny child, and we always called it the kiddie car. Or was that kiddie cart?

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