The front-yard hockey rink, long, long ago

Larry, John and Ken on the rink

The place: the Manse’s front yard. The time: winter (obviously) 1971 or ’72. The hockey players: (from left) Larry Parks of the Boston Bruins, John Sedgwick of the Montreal Canadiens, and Ken Sedgwick of no fixed team and, like a real hockey player, missing a few front teeth.

People, I am no weather forecaster, but I’m going to venture this: I think we may have finally broken the back of this brutal winter. Yes, I know the windchill is supposed to be down at some ridiculous double-digit-below-zero number – again – overnight tonight; but have you noticed how in the daytime for the past couple of days, the air has felt a tad less bitter? That there has seemed to be a tiny bit of warmth in the sun when it shines? And that the sun has, in fact, been shining a fair bit recently? I do believe we will come out of this thing yet. And that there will be spring, and that the bulbs I planted late last fall on the south lawn of the Manse will come up.

But before winter gets away from us, I want to share a happy winter memory from long ago at this same Manse. The photo that you see at the top of this post was taken on the makeshift ice rink that my family had in the front yard for several winters in the years when I was growing up here. And the young hockey players are none other than my brothers John (centre) and Ken (right) and their great friend (and all-round excellent guy) Larry Parks, whose family lived at the other end of Queensborough. (Which is all of about 300 yards away from the Manse.)

Isn’t it a great photo?

Don’t you love the low-tech hockey uniforms and equipment, the less-than-fancy skates, the missing front teeth in Ken’s big smile, and the chipped, uneven ice under those skates? Does it bring back memories of the days when a makeshift rink in the front yard was all kids needed for endless hours of fun?

The photo (which comes to me courtesy of grown-up John) does all that for me, and in addition provides still more useful evidence of how our corner of Queensborough looked back then – which I’m guessing would be about 1971 or ’72. Maybe you won’t be surprised to hear that this corner of Queensborough doesn’t look very much different even now, 40-some years later.

Which cheers me almost as much as does this delightful photo of three boys having fun on our front-yard rink, in simpler times. Good old times.

6 thoughts on “The front-yard hockey rink, long, long ago

    • I think so too, Nicole! And since you are someone who has actually visited the Manse and Queensborough recently, perhaps you can see from the picture how little our village has changed – even if those young hockey players (one of whom later became a pal of your husband, and how amazing is that?) have long since grown out of their Bruins and Canadiens jerseys.

      • I was attempting to see if I could figure out which direction that was looking by your other photos. The Bruins Jersey is amazing. The Habs Jersey….well… at least it’s not a Leafs Jersey 😉

      • I’d better not say anything about the Leafs lest I incriminate myself here at the heart of Leafs Nation (or maybe more accurately, the place where loyalties are pretty much equally divided between the Leafs and the Senators), but I do think John’s Habs jersey, a little too small for him though it may be, is pretty great. He was a goalie (obviously), and his hero was Ken Dryden. (A very fine hero to have.) The photographer (probably my grandfather, J.A.S. Keay) is looking northeast, so just to the left as you come out the front door of the Manse. Every building in the background is still there today except for the fine brick house off in the right rear distance (behind Ken), which, very sadly, was destroyed by fire three years ago.

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