Buzz of the Orient

Memories of Childhood and Youth 

By:  Buzz of the Orient  •  History and Geography  •  8 months ago  •  20 comments

Memories of Childhood and Youth 

Memories of Childhood and Youth 

Sometimes my thoughts return to the days when I was a kid, a teenager, a young man, thinking back to where I was and remembering the home I grew up in, the neighbourhood, the schools I went to, the movie theatre, the stores.  I was born in St. Joseph Hospital, Hamilton, Ontario.


When I was born, my parents lived above my maternal grandparents' shop.  It was a drygoods store, selling work clothes and caps, on York Street in Hamilton, and it looked a little like one of these:


Predicting hippie days, I had long blond locks:


Thinking - what's the next trouble I can get myself into?


My brother was 4 years older than me, and when i was one year old we moved to a neighbourhood called Westdale.  We had a three bedroom house, but in order to afford the mortgage, one bedroom was rented to an older man named Mr. Bloom.  My brother and I shared a bedroom, with me on the top bunk and my brother below.  Those were the days before TV, and we would listen to the radio shows at night, always looking forward to Saturday night which was known throughout the country as "Hockey Night in Canada".   This is a picture of that home.  There was a back yard and a walk through a vine-covered arbour to a second back yard that was lower down, and it led to a ravine.  We used to flood that lower back yard to make a skating rink in winter.  That's a big Silver Maple tree in front - the roots screwed up our sewage pipe.


My older brother and me (with the feminine collar - LOL).  My brother is wearing a V for Victory sweater with the Morse code - it was during WW2.


When I was 4, I went to kindergarten at George R. Allen Public School.  It was only 1 short block away.  It went up to grade 7.  I've been told that it was demolished a few years ago.


During those early years, sometimes my mother would drop me off at my grandparents' shop.  One time, when I was about 6 years old, I got into a kind of fight with my grandfather and I ran away.  Down the street was Dundurn Castle, which was the original home of an important person in the history of the city, now made into a museum.  


I ran down the street and sat on the hillside behind the castle to watch the trains down below.


A few decades later, in the 1970s, when I was living in Toronto, I went back to that very spot where I sat, and took this photo with my then new Canon F1 SLR.  


Then, continuing on my 6 year old runaway venture, I walked all the way back to our home in Westdale.  I walked past this cathedral which was built by a family company named Piggot Construction that also built Hamilton's skyscraper called the Piggot Building (more about that later) and since nobody was home I visited with neighbours across the road who were an elderly couple who treated me to milk and cookies.  After a while I looked over to my house and there was a police car sitting in front of it.  So I went home, and I leave it up to your imagination what happened to me then. 


Back in those days, my mother used to walk me to a park near McMaster University, called the Sunken Garden, and we would enjoy the flowers and ponds. 


My grandparents had a cottage on the beach strip that divides the most westerly tip of Lake Ontario from Hamilton Bay, also known as Burlington Bay.  It faced south-westerly on the bay side and one of my most favourite things to do was to sit on in the screened porch and watch the sunsets over the bay.  I had great memories of the summers I spent there as a kid - listening to the rustle of the leaves on the tall poplar trees as a storm approached, running with friends through the bushes behind the lakeside beach, putting pennies on the railroad track to flatten them, fishing with my favourite uncle off the canal pier while watching the huge iron ore ships go through to unload at the Steel Company of Canada on the city side of the bay.  In this picture the lake and beach are on the right and the bay on the left. That is a swing railway bridge crossing the canal.  Back then the two-lane highway on the left was part of the Queen Elizabeth Way that went from Toronto to Niagara Falls, and it crossed the canal with a bascule bridge.  Since that time a lift bridge was constructed for the rail line, and a high bridge was built for the highway, so there would not be either road or marine delays.  The cottage was near where you see points jutting out into the bay on the left.  On the other side of the canal was an amusement park. 

After grade seven I went to a senior public school that was farther away but I rode my bicycle to school.  A house on the way really fascinated me - it was so different than any other houses in the neighbourhood. 


The senior public school was known as Dalewood School, and I only went to grade 8 there as it had just opened.  The best thing about it was that it had an auditorium with a regular theatre stage, and a Drama Teacher.  I was the only student that he allowed to actually direct a play.  It was called The Bishop's Candlesticks, and was an excerpt from Les Miserables.  The play went really well, but at the end all the scenery fell over onto the stage and the audience was hysterical.  What an ending that was. 


Then I went to Westdale High School, which was only 2 blocks away from home, where I learned to shoot marksman targets, touch type, do simple bookkeeping, and a lot of less important things like English, French, Science, Math, History and Latin.  Well, I didn't do well in History and Flunked Latin.  


To not lose a year I transferred to Hillfield School for Boys, where I continued my studies at that private boys' day school modelled after English schools like the one in the movie Goodbye Mr. Chips, except it was a day school and we attended from 8 a.m. until 5 pm Monday to Friday.  It had all the English things like cricket, Masters and Headmaster, the kids divided into 4 "houses" named after trees. I was a Cedar.  Because I had been trained at the high school to shoot, I was the school's champion marksman, which made many points for my "house" and gained me respect, because I was a disgrace as a boxer - they put me up against a guy nicknamed "Moose" so maybe you can imagine what it was like for me in the ring.   My favourite teacher of all time, my "Mr. Chips", taught us English and Math.  He had just arrived from England, and he got into trouble when he drove down the left side of the road.  He threw the chalk at us if we did something wrong.  He was also the Drama teacher, and for our performance for the parents I played Sir Toby Belch in our presentation of the Shakespeare play, Twelfth Night.  About 40 years after I graduated, never returning to the school, my Mr. Chips retired and there was a banquet in his honour which one of my classmates from those days who was also living in Toronto and I went to.  When I saw my old favourite teacher I walked over to him and before I could open my mouth he shouted at me:  "Sir Toby Belch"!   After that we exchanged postal letters - his were hand written as he had never learned how to use a computer.  This is me on Games Day receiving the Frances Malloch Gibson Memorial Trophy for Marksmanship from Mr. Gibson's widow, with the headmaster, Col. John P. Page looking on.


Westdale was its own little community, and had a central commercial area.  Here is the Westdale Theatre, which is still standing.  I went to Saturday matinees there, to see the featured movie, the Movietone News, the cartoon, and my favourite, the weekly continuing serial.  When I returned to Canada 12 years ago to attend my son's wedding, I got together with my brother and sister-in-law and we went to see A Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy in that theatre, for old times sake.  Although this is a vintage photo, the theatre is still there, and across the road you will see a hardware store, and behind it the bakery that is more recently the modernized one in the next photo.


At the right in the above photo, across a road, you can see a hardware store, and behind it Wheel's Bakery, now renamed.  They made the most fantastic marble birthday cakes that have never had competition.  My mouth still waters when I think about how delicious their cakes were.


Downtown Hamilton was the City Hall, and behind it the farmer's market:



The public library was near there, where my mother used to take me so I could read the "Freddy the Pig" books.  I describe them in the archives of the Books group, here on NT.   They were about talking animals, a kind of community like in Animal Farm, but Freddy is the leader, and he had many adventures. 


And Hamilton's "sky scraper" was the Piggot Buiding, which I mentioned before, all of 18 stories tall.  I can recall going up the to the top observation floor, where the windows were floor to ceiling, looking down and getting down on my hands and knees.   Ever since then I've always been somewhat queezy about heights.  


Although I spent my first year at University of Western Ontario in London, Ontario, in pre-meds, I switched to second year Arts at McMaster University, which was on the other side of Westdale from where we lived, so I usually took the bus there.   There I majored in English Literature, for almost two years was the editor-in-chief of the university's weekly newspaper and was President of the Sociology Club.  Back in those days you could graduate in three years of university, which I did, because back then high school in the Province of Ontario was 5 years rather than four, the fifth year being the equivalent of first year university.    And that is where I will stop boring everybody.


Now, it would be fascinating to read, and see photos of, the early history of other members of TheNewsTalkers.  


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Buzz of the Orient
1  author  Buzz of the Orient    8 months ago

Now you know a LITTLE about the first quarter of my life - Do any of you have a story to tell?

It Is ME
1.1  It Is ME  replied to  Buzz of the Orient @1    8 months ago

LIFE is really GRAND , if one actually sits down every once-in-awhile alone, and THINKS about it ! There is so much out there and available to ALL, if one wants it bad enough ! jrSmiley_34_smiley_image.gif

Buzz of the Orient
1.1.1  author  Buzz of the Orient  replied to  It Is ME @1.1    8 months ago

I would appreciate if you, or someone, would explain what the YouTube video is about - I'm unable to open it.

Buzz of the Orient
1.1.2  author  Buzz of the Orient  replied to  Buzz of the Orient @1.1.1    8 months ago

As I am required to moderate my articles, if nobody explains the video I cannot open, I will delete it. 

It Is ME
1.1.3  It Is ME  replied to  Buzz of the Orient @1.1.1    8 months ago

The Song "Cool Change" by the Little River Band !

It Is ME
2  It Is ME    8 months ago

"Memories of Childhood and Youth"

Just a Quick Memory snippet of Life ! jrSmiley_79_smiley_image.gif



Rusty Swing sets

Metal Pedal Cars

Metal Toys

Bumps and Bruises

School yard fights

First Kiss

First Date


Scary Fair rides




Swimming lessons

Swimming competition

Chess Club




Alter boy


First Car

First Home built Drag Race Car

R.C. Warships



Real World Business





Restoring a family boat


charger 383
3  charger 383    8 months ago

cool life history

Buzz of the Orient
3.1  author  Buzz of the Orient  replied to  charger 383 @3    8 months ago

That was not even the icing on the cake.  There still are huge spaces that have not been filled in, like lighting fire to a dry field that brought the fire trucks, using a hammer on the neighbour's stucco wall to get the jewels out like the 7 dwarfs did, putting sand in the car's gas tank cause I was mad at my dad, collecting salamanders and putting snakes under my t-shirt, carving my initials in the neighbour's freshly poured new sidewalk (Who did it?), letting the air out of car tires the night before Hallowe'en, playing "doctor" with a neighbourhood girl, and more and more and more.......

4  JohnRussell    8 months ago

Very nice biographical article Buzz. 

Buzz of the Orient
4.1  author  Buzz of the Orient  replied to  JohnRussell @4    8 months ago

Actually, John, it's autobiographical.

5  Kathleen    8 months ago

I enjoyed reading about your early life Buzz....

6  zuksam    8 months ago

The post card of the Grand Trunk Railroad is cool. In my area (northern Rhode Island and central Mass) we have all these half finished railroad bridges and other stuff from a Grand Trunk rail line that was never completed. What happed was the money for the second faze of the project was coming from England but the guy who was bringing it here booked passage on the Titanic and he and all the money went down with the ship.

7  Kavika     8 months ago

Very cool article Buzz.

8  PJ    8 months ago

Buzz - Wonderful stories and what a handsome young man you were.  I can recognize that same mischievous look in your eye now as you had back then.  Sadly my stories don't seem as worthy.

Thanks for sharing.  I really enjoyed the memory and the pictures surrounding them.

Buzz of the Orient
9  author  Buzz of the Orient    8 months ago

I thank all of you who enjoyed reading the autobiography of my childhood, but I am a little disappointed that only one member made an effort to post theirs. It is really getting very boring just reading the negative and positive articles/seeds about Trump.  

9.1  NV-Robin6  replied to  Buzz of the Orient @9    8 months ago

HI Buzz, well I thought you did wonderful here and it was interesting to see a broad spectrum of your life. How quickly it all passes though!

Say, I went to comment on your history the day when you posted it. Unfortunately, I got interrupted, then forgot to go back to write to you. I see it's up and running in the forefront today. I love hearing other's life stories, but I don't believe its a good idea in that most would like to stay anonymous at least this publicly. I don't know about you but I've been stalked online before and doxxed and I won't have it again. I do use my real first name for authenticity but only a handful from NT's know anything about my real life other than what I share with them here now and then. There is just too much identity theft. The more you give out on social media sites, including this one, the more the risks increase. Being in China there, maybe you don't have as many risks as we do here, but I won't even do FB, Instagram, or Twitter professionally due to the nasty nature of the assholes who have nothing better to do than troll or set out to do harm to others they don't agree with. 

Thanks for sharing and I wish it was not this way at all. You see the hate fest here. I wouldn't trust half these RW trolls with in an inch of my life. I see Perrie (maybe TiG) set up an ignore feature. Hallelujah and thanks so much for that! Will be so nice to not have to scroll through the repetitive trolls. Now maybe the adults in the room can actually share what they know and we can see it lighten up here. 

Sending you my best,


Buzz of the Orient
9.1.1  author  Buzz of the Orient  replied to  NV-Robin6 @9.1    8 months ago

Hey Robin, thanks for your comment.  It would take considerable research, most of which would be seeking for facts that are not available, to determine who I really am.  Buzz is merely a nickname and not my real name, nor have I ever posted my birthday anywhere.  Besides Perrie, there are probably only one or two here who know my real name, and they are most trustworthy.

TiG told me that if I use the "ignore" I will not be able to see the perpetrator's comments, and the perpetrator will not know they are being ignored.  I think that's not a good situation, so I will not use it, because the perpetrator will continue with their garbage, such as insulting me, thinking I see the insults even though I can not, and also I will not know to defend myself from them, but everyone else can see them.

9.1.2  NV-Robin6  replied to  Buzz of the Orient @9.1.1    8 months ago

Well I do enjoy reading you. You are quite an educator. Good to hear you have a grasp on sharing too much info. I hope to make China one day. Some of the nicest folks I've ever come across. As we know, governments represent a partial view and why others feel the need to dictate any other country's economic choices is ridiculous. 

I had no doubt about your ability of protecting yourself. I'm speaking from my experience about it for me. There are quite a few wacky people in this world as it is, and I don't need to put myself in harm's way further. As far as the trolls, I have about 10 on it thus far. I can still see enough from others replies that its fairly easy to figure out what they're up to. Frankly, I'm fed up with the Christian Taliban presence. I could care less to read their personal insults or their hell, fire and brimstone rhetoric. Its their threats of using violence that needs to be squashed. It matters not to me what anyone chooses to believe, but when they weaponize it, that should not be tolerated by any polite society.

Thanks for your input! 


9.1.3  JohnRussell  replied to  Buzz of the Orient @9.1.1    8 months ago
TiG told me that if I use the "ignore" I will not be able to see the perpetrator's comments, and the perpetrator will not know they are being ignored.  I think that's not a good situation, so I will not use it, because the perpetrator will continue with their garbage, such as insulting me, thinking I see the insults even though I can not, and also I will not know to defend myself from them, but everyone else can see them.

Good explanation of why "ignore" is a silly feature. 

10  NV-Robin6    8 months ago

HI Buzz, sorry I have been off line for a few days other than a few drive-bys from my phone. I can't find your seed any longer where you asked me to cite where I found the Dershowitz quote. Here you go. Scroll down to about 3" above the bottom of that page. Or you can google search by typing in Dershowitz quotes. The 2nd link is that google search.