When I was 11 back in 1944, I lived in the small northern Ontario town of Cochrane. My heroes were Franklin Roosevelt, Eleanor Roosevelt, Winston Churchill and Princess Elizabeth.
The survivors of that group, Queen Elizabeth and I, shared the thrill two nights ago of watching the heroic planes of World War II, a Lancaster, four Spitfires and a Hurricane, fly past to salute her on her Diamond Jubilee.
It is D Day once more and what strong memories and emotions are stirred!
What I recall is that wartime rationing was in force and some things, like soap and sugar, could be bought only with coupons. Mother sent me uptown with a coupon for laundry powder. I went from store to store and finally got the only kind I could get, Rinso. As I went down the Main Street, hugging it, a big railway worker three times my size and five times my age confronted me. My momentary fear dissolved when I saw he had what seemed like a very tiny box of Ivory Snow in his hand, making him look vulnerable.
He asked me if I would trade, since his wife needed a stronger product to get his greasy overalls clean. I wasn’t sure it was a good deal, but who was I to argue? We just had three girls and a minister in our house it was true, and we weren’t greasy. Mother would never know and something about the man’s friendly, concerned face assured me I was being patriotic.
On the home front, my most vivid 1944 memory is of someone who was not an icon then but is now. My older sister, Enid Mary, was chosen for the girls’ hockey team and her boyfriend let her use his hockey stick. She was the envy of all of us other girls because he was our star and surely the stick was magic. Our team beat all the out-of-town teams, thanks to his amazing breakaways down the length of the ice. We cheered him on at the top of our lungs.
Enid had met him in grade seven at Cochrane Public school when Miles sat in the desk in front of hers. He told her he didn’t like his name and asked her if she would call him Tim instead. She did, and got her friends to do the same. “He was very determined,” she recalls. “When the grade ten teacher called him Miles, he wouldn’t answer.”
We all knew Timmy would be an NHL star but never dreamt he would one day become the iconic name attached to a coffee and fast-food franchise, Tim Hortons.
Thank you for dropping by. This blog for all lovers of life and language aims to be useful and entertain. Topics vary from how to build a canoe to how my mom moved from “prince to preacher and fog to bog” as a war bride after world war one. Writing advice is squeezed in between. Find out more about A Book of Kells: Growing Up in an Ego Void, Kathleen’s Cariole Ride and Eating at Church on Amazon, Goodreads or my website.
I will be at Britton’s Glebe, 846 Bank St., Ottawa on Sat., Aug. 9, 10
a.m. to 2 p.m. to honor the WWI 100th anniversary. Please drop in if you would like to chat and pick up a signed copy of my book.
Happy Reading from Cozy Book Basics!