Marsha Canham's Blog

November 13, 2010

A few memories as the countdown begins…

Filed under: Caesars Through the Fence — marshacanham @ 6:16 pm

A week to go and I hit the big Six Oh.  Ohhhhhhhhhhh.  Yeah. Something about the sound of the SSSSSS in the Six sends a shiver right down my spine.  Fifty didn’t bother me all that much, even though the thought, when converted to Half a Century, was a bit mind-numbing.  Forty was a bit of a bummer, but I was engrossed in writing, lived in a great neighborhood, travelled a lot, still had a husband who I believed wasn’t a cheating lying son of a bitch piece of day old snot.  So forty wasn’t bad.  Thirty, as I recall, gave some pause because to me it meant turning into an adult.  In your twenties, you still feel able to do all the goofy things you did when you were in your teens and get away with it.  I credit the fact I lived in another slightly manic neighbourhood, where we had parties every weekend, stayed up through the night to watch the sun come up, had water fights, kid’s days, costume parties, and most moms with little kids stayed home and we’d either have a stroller conga line going to the mall, or we’d sit in the park and gab while the kids tried to break body parts on the swings and rocker horses.  I still smile when I think of Bill and Jeannie, one English, one Scottish, the latter being all of five foot zip.  She enjoyed her rye and there were many an evening in the summer, she would suddenly climb onto the picnic table and belt out Scottish songs at the top of her lungs.  Windows would slam shut, the few miserable people in the block would tell her to put a sock in it, and when the cops inevitably came, they looked at this tiny, half looped, grinning maria callas and usually ended up either singing along with her or having a drink with us. Pop, of course. *wink*

So the twenties were great, the thirties…well…midway through we moved out of the townhouse and into a Strange New Land called East.  We had travelled East a few times, usually to visit friends who had moved out that way, past the Yonge Street divide which sort of divided Toronto into East and West in my mind anyway.  Anything East of Yonge was totally foreign territory.  Places like Whitby, Oshawa, Pickering were so far East we cracked jokes wondering if they took Canadian currency.

So there we were one day, out for a drive, checked out a new subdivision being built and, because East was another country, the prices were less than half what they were in the West.  We were house hunting, so walking into the sales office and seeing that we could get a bigger house for less than half of what we were considering paying in the West…well….we came away clutching a sales slip.  It didn’t really strike us till we got home and told the Clone that we had bought a house…that we had BOUGHT A HOUSE.  And in the EAST.  He actually didn’t believe us for that whole first week until we tossed him in the car the following weekend and took the hour long drive to see what we had done.  I don’t think we believed it ourselves, really, but there it was.  Our patch of dirt.

However.  An odd thing happened ,once building started, when we started driving out every weekend to watch the progress.  They weren’t building our house.  They built the ones on either side and up and down and across the street, but not ours.  Found out it was a “fire break”, aka the seventh house in the row, always left to the last in order to create a gap if the street caught fire while under construction.  I know, gave me a warm feeling too.  Point being, when they finally did start building, we were so excited we went into the wrong house.  Dummy me thought wow, the builder gave us this door off the laundry room that wasn’t in the plans…and…hmmm…I don’t remember the kitchen being this big or… or…

Yeah. Bummer.  And because I liked the layout so much more, we drove by the sales office, saw they opening up a new phase for sale, and slapped down our deposit on the new improved model, backing onto a greenbelt, extra wide lot…the whole nine yards.  We lived in the first house a year and half, didn’t even bother to unpack most of the boxes, and only did a minimal amount of painting and decorating.  Then we moved about 8 streets north, onto a crescent that would make the blissful madness of the townhouse years feel like just a warm-up.  Hard to describe those Noake Crescent years.  It was lovely little crescent, maybe 60 houses in all, but by some unknown quirk, was divided into North and South, with the North end being full of revellers and party people, and the South end full of those who wished they lived in the North end.  One family actually sold their house in South Noake and moved 6 houses up the street into North Noake.  We had tailgate parties every night in the summer…all it took was one person dragging a lawn chair out of the garage and within ten minutes, the driveway was filled.  We had the Cleavers, June and Ward, who had the House of Snacks.  The Griswalds, who turned travelling anywhere, whether to the mall or to Jamaica, into a Chevy Chase adventure.  Lurch lived across the street;  he was so tall he had to duck when he went in and out of his garage.  The Cannons, the Rosedale Princess, the Big Souvlaki…  We held annual street dances and massive garage sales.  We had a regatta every year in the creek that ran through the greenbelt.  Everyone had to build boats out of a hunk of 2 X 4, following all kinds of rules for height, width, thickness etc.  The creek was only about 6 inches deep, so waterguns were allowed to propell them.  The boats remained the same size through the years, but the guns got bigger.  By the seventh or eighth regatta, we all looked like ghosbusters, with extra water packs and large water cannons that shot 100ft.  A newbie, who showed up with his little water pistol, just blinked and commented that he felt like a fart in the wind.

And on that aromatic note…more later…



  1. Oh, man, memory lane. It’s great. I remember the first time I attended a regatta…I never knew a block party could be so much fun. I became an instant fan…a little wet around the edges, cuz no one told me to bring a water gun…but a true fan. LOL

    Comment by Jill Metcalf — November 13, 2010 @ 7:08 pm | Reply

  2. Never visited during regatta time, but experienced the par-tays on several occasions . . . which gave me a read on what the “real” par-tay weekends must have been like. Fun group of people; very accepting of intruding ‘Mericuns, especially if you could match elbow bends. I did . . . once, I think. And won’t likely forget the one time I was there for your birthday . . . only time I ever remember drinking YOU under the table. ROFL

    Comment by SurferG — November 14, 2010 @ 12:11 am | Reply

    • That obviously wasn’t the time you and Becca slipped off the chairs and landed on the kitchen floor? Or the time you landed face down on the bed and spread-eagled? Or the time you ended up doing a face plant in the artichokes and fell asleep at the dinner table? or the time… or the time… BWAHAHAHAHA Yes, we did have some marathon good times. *snort*

      Comment by marshacanham — November 14, 2010 @ 1:28 pm | Reply

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