July 23 • 06:17 AM

An old Standard B notebook jogs the memory

June 03, 2009
It is Sunday afternoon. A beautiful, sunny day...on the inside looking out. I decided to take some reading material out to my yard swing and enjoy the day. I found it a little chilly and didn't stay too long. What I decided to take out to read was a raunchy looking "STANDARD B No. 4875"notebook with "A Vacation at Port Franks" written in pencil across the top. The kind of notebook popular back in the '20s and '30s with the back cover containing a Ready Reference of Measures and Weights and the Multiplication Table. It was the story of a vacation with Doris Jean McLaren D'Arcy at her Grandfather and Grand-mother Williams' cottage in Port Franks, Canada in 1930 or perhaps 1931.

On the title page I have written A Vacation at Port Franks by Gertrude Park. I was named Carrol Gertrude Park but, along the way it became Carol. The next page are the chapters. A Letter l, On Their Way...5, Exploring 9. The first chapter, A Letter, is missing. I wonder why?

The second chapter, "On Their Way.'' "Goodbye Mama, Grandpa and Grandma,'' cried Carrol as she and her father started out with the milk to town. Carrol was going up to McLarens and then McLarens were going to take Carrol and Doris Jean to Port Huron and the rest you will hear of in the last of the chapter. "Goodbye Roy," cried Carrol

again to brother Roy who was standing on the corner putting the cows in the pasture. "Goodbye" came the answer. "Goodbye Daddy." And she kissed him goodbye. "Hello Carrol," said Doris Jean, "Just got here in time, we're ready to start. I have got to get my camera fixed, it's stuck."

After they got outside of Almont a little ways, the machine stopped and Mr. McLaren got out and was going to go to the garage. "Well, I am going to try and start it," said Mrs. McLaren. She stepped on the starter twice and it started. We met Grandfather and Grandmother Williams in Port Huron.

That was before the Bluewater Bridge was built and we took the ferry, "City of Sarnia" across the river. Grandmother Williams had packed a lunch for us and we stopped at a tourist camp to eat. After we started on, a big storm came up and we had to stop because it was raining so hard. We finally went on to the cottage. "The girls changed their clothes and then fixed a playhouse in the ice house. After supper they went picking wild strawberries." We also picked red lilies and orchids while there.

The chapter, "Exploring" had many interesting tales. "They went fishing and after they had fished awhile and no one had caught anything, Mrs. Williams felt her line tug, 'Oh I have one!' cried Mrs. Williams. After a long while of work they got him. He weighed 5-1/2 pounds.''

Doris Jean and I loved playing in our playhouse. One time we made mud pies, cookies, candy, cake and meat loaves. I remember Grandma Williams wasn't too happy.

One time we spied a pigeon on top of a vacant cottage. "Oh look at the pigeon,"cried Carrol. "He looks half starved." "Oh look, he is a thoroughbred," cried Grandma Williams. They tried to catch the pigeon but couldn't. "Cu-koo, cu-koo," cried Carrol. "Cu-koo, cu-koo" came the answer, "Oh, that's the echo," said Grandma Williams. "I don't believe it is," said Carrol. "How are you?" said Carrol. "Just fine," came the strange voice. "See, it isn't our echo," said Carrol. After they got in the boat, a boy came down the side of the bank and rowed his boat over to us. "How did you like your echo?" he said. "Oh fine," they answered.

"That night it looked like rain, so they pulled their curtains down so they could not see the lightning." It seemed we had a lot of thunder storms. One night we went to bed but got up again and read the Bible.

On a Friday Doris Jean got a letter from her folks saying that her uncle was driving her parents to pick us up on Saturday. I also got a letter from my 'big' brother Floyd, including a dollar bill. I was getting a good case of homesickness about that time also. I didn't have it written in my story but, I remember thinking that as much as I hated them I would gladly eat my 'warmed-over potatoes' and side dish of lettuce from the garden. We had our main meal at noon but Mom would cook enough potatoes for supper, slicing them in a frying pan with bacon grease and merely warm them up. Yuk! She would tear up lettuce from the garden and make us each a bowl then pour a concoction of vinegar and sugar over the top. Yuk again! They sounded good to me now and I would never complain again. I have had several cases of homesickness since then, the last being about a year ago when I was living in back to dear ol' Almont I came.

— Country Cousin

Castle Creek
07 - 23 - 19
Site Search


Thanks for visiting Tri City Times