In which Henry visits the corner named just for him

Henry on the front porch

Henry, who is almost 2½, takes in the view from the Manse’s front porch along with his proud Pépère, Raymond. Come and see us again soon, Henry!

This past weekend was a landmark one at the Manse. Why? Because Raymond’s little grandson, Henry, paid his first visit!

Henry and his parents live in the Eastern Townships of Quebec, which is a long way from Queensborough. And his parents are busy people, working six and sometimes seven days a week. So it’s not often they get a chance for a long road trip, and we’re just so delighted that it finally came.

Vintage Fisher-Price toys

Some of the vintage Fisher-Price toys that live in Henry’s Corner of the Manse.

For me, the best part – aside from getting to spend time with Henry and his folks, of course – was introducing Henry to the part of the Manse that is named for him. That would of course be Henry’s Corner, the sunny nook outside one of the upstairs bedrooms that, when I was a kid growing up at this same Manse, housed the toybox and toys of my siblings and me. In a bit of an hommage to those long-ago days, I’ve devoted the corner to our ever-growing collection of midcentury toys and games, the very things that Melanie, John, Ken and I played with back in the 1960s and ’70s. I am especially proud of the vintage Fisher-Price collection; those toys are hard to beat, especially – as I’ve noted before, in a post here that was devoted to the topic – the original Fisher-Price garage, the absolute best toy ever, in my humble opinion.

Henry took great delight in grabbing my hand several times over the course of his visit and asking me to accompany him upstairs to Henry’s Corner. There he would examine the various vintage toys on display and choose one to bring downstairs for some quality playtime. What a good boy! He helped me relive my own childhood!

Henry and Teddy with the bus

Henry and Teddy the cat with the vintage Fisher-Price school bus. I like the fact that Henry is a bit of a blur in this photo; as a human perpetual-motion machine (like most kids his age), that’s just about right.

Henry and the Fisher-Price Garage

Henry investigating our early-’70s Fisher-Price garage – way cuter and more fun than the modern version. Gotta love that pinging elevator!

With the Fisher-Price garage

And you have to get the newly elevated cars out of that elevator! (Hey: why don’t real parking garages have car elevators? That would make them a lot more fun.)

In addition to playing with the fun stuff in Henry’s Corner, Henry also enjoyed a walk around Queensborough on Saturday morning – a crystal-clear, crisp, sunny fall day. It was a joy to show him and his family around our pretty little hamlet, and share its history and our own stories about Queensborough life. I thought I’d show you some photos of our tour:

Down at the dam

Henry, his dad Sean, and Raymond at Queensborough’s most scenic spot, the waterfall and the historic mill on the Black River. The plaque you see is one erected by the kayakers who enjoy travelling down the river when the water is high in springtime, coming right over the dam, and then enjoying the homemade pie and hot coffee that Queensborough volunteers have to offer. The kayakers used the plaque to pay tribute to the owners of the property, Elaine and Lud Kapusta, who organize the Treats on the Black River event every spring.

Henry and his mum down by the river

Henry and his mum, Justine (Raymond’s daughter), down by the scenic Black River.

Coming back from St. Andrew's

Henry and Sean on their way back from our visit to St. Andrew’s United Church.

Henry and Pépère on the swings

Pépère (grampa Raymond) and Henry enjoy the swings at the Queensborough Community Centre, the village’s historic former one-room schoolhouse.

Checking out the checkerboard

Henry and his dad check out the checkerboard/chessboard that’s carved into a rustic bench at the Queensborough Community Centre.

Checkerboard at the QCC

A closeup of the checkerboard (or chessboard, if you want to get all cerebral). I’ll confess that until this visit with Henry I hadn’t even realized that this cool thing was a part of the bench.

Having fun on the swings

If that isn’t an image of pure joy, I don’t know what is.

The visit was wonderful, but brief; by midafternoon Saturday, Henry and his folks had to head eastward for another family visit in Ottawa on their way back home. But I want to tell you about the lovely thing that happened just as they were getting into their car to leave.

Our neighbours Chuck and Ruth were coming around the corner in their white pickup truck, heading off for a dump run. They pulled over, of course knowing (having heard many stories from his proud grandfather) that this little boy must be Henry, and Ruth jumped out. And she had a present for Henry! It was a little Matchbox white pickup truck – “just like mine,” she told him. Now, Henry loves trucks, and especially pickup trucks; the fact that there are so many full-size ones in the Queensborough area made the visit especially memorable for him. And to be given one of his own just as he was leaving – what a thrill!

His parents were tickled too. “People are so friendly here!” his dad commented as they were pulling out.

They sure are. Ruth and Chuck weren’t the only ones to go out of their way to make Henry feel at home; our friends Elaine and Lud had also come to greet us on our walk around town and invite us all in for coffee.

I think Henry (and his parents) left with a good impression – as well they should have. Queensborough is a beautiful, friendly place. Come back soon, Henry! Your corner awaits.

6 thoughts on “In which Henry visits the corner named just for him

  1. So great to read about Henry’s visit. You and Raymond are lucky to have family come to visit. We have our seven-year-old, Alexandre with us from Ottawa this week so we know something of your feelings of joy. Great to read your story.

    • Thank you so much, gng! Judging by how worn out Raymond and I were after 24 hours of a visit by Henry the Human Perpetual Motion Machine, I imagine you folks are sleeping very well at night thanks to Alexandre’s visit. But what fun it is!

  2. Hj I am glad you had a visit with family. I enjoy your blogs. Thanks for posting pictures of Henry. Heard a lot about him,and finally got to see him. What a handsome little man.They sure are busy at that age.Looks like everyone had a fun time.

    • Thanks for your kind comments, Betty! Henry really is a handsome little man, and yes, it was a great visit. I hope he’ll be able to come back in the summertime, when Queensborough is at its best and most beautiful!

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