Monday, December 28, 2009

Letter to My Dad II

December 28, 2009

Probably my first clear picture of you was in Trenton. We moved there sometime after Rob was born in September of 1945. After some time at RCAF headquarters in Ottawa, you were posted to CFB Trenton as station adjutant. I remember the house, the marsh, the car, your model airplanes, chickenpox and some of the neighbours. I also remember you teaching me to swim in the officer’s pool one summer. The PMQs (personnel married quarters) were pre-war and as you were an officer, we got one that actually had maid’s quarters complete with a series of buttons that rang bells somewhere in the house to summon the maid – imagine. I think they were disconnected because I’m sure I would remember ringing them just for the devilment. We didn’t have much money then so the house was rather sparsely furnished. I do remember a black huge dining room table that was heavy as all-get-out. I can still see Mom folding laundry on it. She told me later that you went to either the town of Trenton or Belleville and rented-to-own the furniture when you first moved there.

The marsh was a wonderful place for kids to wander around in. I’m quite certain we weren’t supposed to be there and I’m quite certain it was a bit dangerous but we did go there in the summer. I lost a rubber boot in there once – the mud just sucked it away and I came home with one boot and a one very wet sock. The redwing blackbirds were everywhere in there.

The Car – I’ve tried to figure out what make it was from pictures but have been unsuccessful. It was black with lots of chrome and kind of bullet-shaped. Since you were the station adjutant, they gave you a car! But it was pretty classy and I remember it parked in front of the house. I went back there a number of years ago and I couldn’t believe how small the house was and how many more houses were built there. There is a picture of me somewhere in my new red coat with a black velvet collar and a lovely Robin Hood type hat complete with a feather on the side. I suspect that might have been Easter since that’s what we got for Easter – new clothes to go to church in.

You built all kinds of model planes over the years and I remember you trying them out in the field behind that house in Trenton. The last model story that I remember was when we were in St. Hubert when you moved into radio-controlled models. I can’t remember offhand who it was with but you had a radio-controlled boat which, I think, sank in the officer’s pool and that was the end of that one. I know there were other radio-controlled planes but by that time, I wasn’t really much interested – it was the late 1950s and I was much more interested in “other things”, as I’m sure you remember with some degree of ire.

Although Mom was really good at keeping track of the various childhood ailments on the back of my birth certificate, it was the chickenpox that comes to mind in Trenton. I came downstairs one morning (June 1948) and showed Mom what I thought was another nipple on my chest! So I got to stay home from school and she bought me some seeds to plant in a garden of my own beside the house. Those seeds got swirled around so much in the following weeks that I often wonder what the next people in that house got in the summer. We moved back to Ottawa before they came up.

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