If the Eden Pit years were the salad days, and the brief stint on Chapman was the amuse bouche, then the years we spent on Noake Cresc were the full main course. We had already gone through the new house, dirt for the front and back yard, new deck building, etc etc etc on Chapman, but this…this was to be our last move, into the house of our dreams, four big bedrooms, a huge family room, a wide greenbelt behind us so there were no neighbours peering into the back yard, a feeling of openness with a creek, on a quiet crescent. So we endured the dirt and mud for a year before the sod was laid, and we endured the construction dust. The houses seemed to get finished in an orderly fashion so that one household would move in, then next door, then next door all the way around the crescent, allowing time to meet each new couple/family as they moved in. I think that’s where the tailgate parties started. We would haul out chairs and watch the moving trucks, then invite the new people over to pull up a chair and have a drink. Of course, that took two couples to start the process rolling, and that was us and the Griswalds. They were two doors away and had moved in just about the same time as us and we met them when Stupid had to go help Mike get his truck out of the mud. Across the street were the Fardys, and next to them the Big Souvlaki, and further down the street, almost *gasp* in South Noake, were the Foxes, Yarwoods, and the Rosedale Princess who eventually sold and moved 8 or so houses to be in North Noake proper. Next to the Griswalds were the Cleavers, June and Ward who had the House of Perpetual Snacks. Those early years, June had decided it was time to start a family and, being a nurse, knew how to time certain things to achieve certain results, so any hour of the day or night you could hear a voice ringing out down the street…”Rob…come home…now.” That would go on for several days and evenings, then the poor lad would have a few weeks of peaceful tailgating, then boom…the window would slide open and June’s voice would echo down the street… “Rob…come home…now.”
Carrying on down the street were Heather and Al, and next to them the Cannons. The Cannons’ boys were Matt (who still bowls and sees the Clone all the time) and Luc…who was blond, chunky, and looked and acted exactly like the comic book Dennis the Menace
Next to the Cleavers, the memory is dim as to who moved into that house first, but it was beside the walkway that cut through to the greenbelt and park out back. Those people moved out after a year or two and the Frenchies moved in, both of them as miserable as miserable could be. They didn’t make an effort to meet anyone or join into any of the gatherings, even their kids were miserable. I recall a knock on my door one day and it was the husband complaining that my dog peed on his boulevard. Well, duh. Dogs pee. And because they were beside the walkway, where everyone turned in to take their dogs for a walk on the greenbelt, guess what…dogs were going to pee on his boulevard. I sent him away with a few choice words and the next day, another knock on my door…from a bylaw officer. Frenchie had called to complain that my dog wasn’t on a leash AND it was peeing on his boulevard. At that time, I had Walter, my beautiful little lhaso apso. Walt was getting up in years at that time, probably around ten or so, so a leash was redundant. He never moved more than five feet away from me at any time, and would actually stop and sit when I said “sit” (unlike the two psychos I have now who never did more than look at me with that ‘yeah, right’ expression whenever I said ‘sit’) The officer apologized profusely for the “nonsense” call, but as he explained, if a complaint is lodged, he has to follow it through. It was sometime around there that Lynda Cannon and I decided she had pissed us all off enough (she complained about Dennis the Menace all the time) and, knowing how much Mrs Frenchie hated cats, we skulked around to their backyard and planted a ton of catnip in her gardens. Ahh, those fine summer evenings hearing Frenchie screech at the cats and chase after them with a broom…
The annual regatta has already been mentioned in a previous blog, but we had Trick or Drink night too, on Halloween, and Drunken Caroling at Christmas. We also gave out Goofy Gifts that started out being under 5, but we decided that allowed for too many actual nice things, so we lowered the limit to a dollar, which invited more creativity. No one could quite match June Cleaver, however, who not only baked fresh cookies and muffins every morning, but was also Mrs Craftmatic. We also closed off the street one evening each summer, with pilons and pails and boards to cut off traffic. Almost every house on the street joined into a massive street sale during the day, and once the junk…er, valuable household possessions were cleared away, the street was blocked off and the party started. One of the guys was a DJ, so we had muzak. Chairs and tables were hauled into the street and the revelry lasted well into the late late (or early early) hours of the morning. Imports were allowed, so every household invited friends. It was around this time that someone noticed an ad in the real estate section of the paper, touting a house on Noake Crescent as being in a “highly desirable location, very people friendly”
Guess they weren’t around for the SWAT team incident.
It was all quite innocent. My father had passed away and left the Clone two of his most prized possessions…his silver dollar collection, and his two shotguns. I wanted no part of the guns, but my mother was moving and she certainly didn’t want them, so she wrapped them in green garbage bags and shoved them into my hands…whereupon I shoved them into Stupid’s hands, who tucked them in the rafters in the basement and basically forgot about them for a couple of years. Then came the time when he started working on finishing the basement and he reminded me they were there. Neither one of us thought it would be a great idea to simply seal them up in the ceiling, and it’s not like you can walk into a police station with two shotguns and say “hey, I have a problem”. So we consulted the cop down the street, who told us to just call the station, explain the situation and tell them we have the guns and want to turn them over. Fine. Made the call. Within…oh, ten minutes…there were four cop cars on the street, lights blazing, and a large black SWAT truck. Guys with helmets and kevlar flak jackets and Very Big Guns surrounded the house while two big bruisers came to the front door. Apparently they have been fooled once or twice when people say they just want to hand in guns, so they were taking no chances. Plus, as I was told, it was a good training exercise. Thank you very much, glad to be of help, please fetch my heart down off the ceiling.
These were also the Baseball Years. The Clone had been 15 when we made the move to the East end, and had left behind a budding career as a first baseman in Bramalea. He had made the all star team his final season there, and so, on a whim, decided to try out for the Rep team in Ajax. It was a very tight knit group, with most of the kids having been together since they were pee wees, but because he had a good arm and he was already 6ft tall, the coach took him onto the team. I had been used to going and watching the games in the summer, being one of maybe a handful of parents who politely cheered their kids on between reading pages of a book. The Spartan parents, however, were totally committed to the game. All the parents were there, husbands and wives, brothers, uncles, aunts, grandparents. And there was no such thing as sitting quietly apart in the bleachers to watch. Newwwwwwwwww. Newbies were dragged around, introductions made, a chair provided if you foolishly didn’t bring one, and you joined the long line of lawn chairs that flanked the diamond. Hot weather, cold weather, rainy weather, everyone showed up. The rep team travelled around the southern half of the province, and so did all the parents. We even convoyed down to Indiana one weekend for a tournament. Ten of our boys went and twenty-five supporters. It was the hottest weekend of the summer and the boys had to soldier through five games carrying only one substitute versus the Indiana teams that had 20 and 30 kids on the bench. Hah. We still won the whole show. So many stories. So little space. There was the One F**king Pitch game. The fake pregnancy–the assistant coach’s wife pretended to be pregnant for nine months..wearing bigger sized pillows every month…just so they could throw a surprise party and actually surprise the intended victim…me. It was as you might gather, a party team, and a prerequisite for every motel/hotel we invaded for the weekend games was a party room. They were a wonderful bunch of people who, because the team parties and the Noake Crescent parties sometimes overlapped, often ended up attending the regattas and the street dances.
A lot of those boys are still friends, most are family men now and, like the Clone, have started coaching their own kids. Austin tried out for and made the local rep team last year, and it was like deja vu, hauling my lawn chair around to the various baseball diamonds, watching him play, watching Jefferson coach. Even more shivery because Austin is the exact spitting image of Jefferson at that age…at every age, in fact. I have pics of the Clone and held them up with pics of Austin through the various ages and the two could have been twins. So it’s a bit spooky, kind of like reliving the years watching Jefferson grow up. All good, however. My only hope for next summer is that Payton’s soccer games fall on a different night of the week. This past summer, they both played home games on Tuesday nights, so it was one week baseball, one week soccer.
But back to Noake. I was cleaning out my office this past summer and came across an envelope that contained several editions of the “Noake Crescent Review”, an annual report of events that took place on the street. I sat there for a couple of hours reading through them, laughing my head off, remembering all the wonderful silliness.
Oddly enough, we lived on Eden Pit for 13 years, and we lived on Noake Crescent for 13 years.