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Archive for October, 2012

Here’s our second home in Leaside. We had already moved in when my baby sister Margaret was born in the winter of 1953.

There was lots of space in this house! It faces north, and the garden at the rear faces south to the park at Bayview and Eglinton. This house also had the wonderful advantage of being one block from the high school. I could leave the front door at 8:50 a.m., walk to school, go to my locker, and be in class before the 9 a.m. bell rang. Also, our high school had long lunch hours, 1 hour and 40 minutes, so I could go home for lunch, and be back for choir practice, which was always held in the second half of the lunch hour. My brother Ken did the same, except he went back mid-lunch hour to take his German class. German was taught only in the lunch hour.

But back to the house: the big front window on the left was our dining room window, and the small window on the right is in the main floor den. As you can see, the house is a centre hall plan. The living room is across the hall from the dining room, but it faces south and has a walkout door to the back garden. Upstairs, the left window is in baby Margaret’s room, and the right window is in the parents’ room. Ken and I had our bedrooms on the south side, facing out over the Sunnybrook Shopping Centre, the first outdoor plaza in Toronto, and long-rumoured to be the first one in Canada. (How ironic is it that Ken would grow up to be a highly successful developer of shopping centres?)

In summer, the lights in the park to the south would be on late, to light the minor league baseball games held in the ball diamond there. Closer to the high school, there were two ice rinks in winter, one a hockey rink, the other a simple skating rink (with no music, as we had had in Millwood Park.)

19 Craig Crescent was a very comfortable family home. The main floor den and the guest lavatory next to it made all the difference in the world to our family. (Sure was helpful for a mother with a new baby in the house!) My piano (I was still taking lessons at this time) was located in the den, which also held a framed futon, which turned into a guest bed whenever we needed one.  This house was really big for its time and place. Just the fact that it had 4 bedrooms on the second floor made it bigger than the average Leaside house of the 50’s. The recreation room in the basement was actually quite large and had a vinyl tiled floor. We usually had our Christmas tree down there. Eventually my parents renovated the kitchen of 19 Craig Cres. I’d bet a bundle that it’s been renovated again, probably more than once.

It was from this house that I learned to drive. My dad was good enough to let me drive the car from here over to Station Toronto on Avenue Rd. north of Eglinton. I got lots of practice, because it became a pretty regular deal – every Wednesday night I could have the car. What a great dad, to let me do that!

My mother loved the garden at 19 Craig Cres. She had her family’s talent for gardening and enjoyed puttering around out the back, where she grew flowers, but not vegetables. One day when digging a new flower bed, she turned over some soil and turned up an ancient horseshoe. It seemed to prove that in earlier days the property had been part of a farm. Next door to us in a home on the west side (but not seen in my photo) lived my best friend, Helen. Her dad was a unique gentleman, an artist by trade, who took a serious dislike to my brother Ken, as he felt Ken had cropped some of his bushes when Ken was helping our dad by doing a little pruning. This man was the only person in my brother’s entire life who really, really did not like him. Ken steered clear of him and tried to be a gentleman if he encountered the neighbour.

I have many happy memories of this house, not the least of which are all the family dinners in our dining room. It was big enough to accommodate extended family. Mom and dad bought a dining suite at auction, big enough to hold our family of 5 plus guests, up to 8 seats around the table. That meant grandparents and aunt could all be at table with us, something that we could not have done back at 154 Hanna Rd.

I left 19 Craig Crescent on the day that I got married, and never slept another night in it afterwards. But as you can tell, I remember family life in this house very fondly and it is heartwarming to see the house still standing today.

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I happened to drop into the residence’s pub this afternoon and stayed to have a glass of wine with friends. I was shocked to see this bandaged arm on the resident, D, who was sitting next to me, with her husband beside her. They are both in their 90’s. Take a look at this photo I snapped with my iPhone as we sat there together. I soon discovered how this injury happened. D was assaulted by another resident, M.

Shocked, and curious, I asked a few questions. This event happened 2 days ago. D was sitting with her hubby, and had a hand on his leg. It was just a familiar gesture between a long-married husband and wife. But M had to stick her nose in it, and ordered D to take her hand off her hubby’s leg. D is no wimp, and her immediate reaction was to move her hand a little bit higher on her hubby’s leg!

M was infuriated and struck out with her cane, smashing it across D’s arm. D was so hurt and bruised that she had to take her injury to the nurse, and the result of that visit was the bandage you see in the photo to the left.                          On the right is a photo of  the perpetrator.

But the worst thing is that the perpetrator, M, seems to have gotten away with this assault. Now, I have been told that she has scared other people with the cane when in the elevator, putting the tip of the cane down on people’s feet, not lightly. One could call it “threatening.” Also it was reported to me that M had kicked my dog Spike at a moment when my attention was elsewhere, not on the dog. This was some time ago (earlier this year.) Since I didn’t see her at it, I have let it go. Tonight a resident told me they had seen M trying (but failing) to trip a resident with her cane. I have given M a wide berth for some time, and don’t want to share the elevator with her (and especially if Spike is with me, which is usually.) She hates my dog, and that’s plain to me.

My point here is that the residence is letting M get away with this “attack by cane.” I told the couple involved that they should have laid a charge of assault. It had never crossed their minds to contact their lawyer. They are thinking about it tonight. My question is, why isn’t the management dealing with this resident who assaulted another?  I think the management is hoping that if they ignore this, maybe it will go away. At least, that is what it looks like from here. If I had been the one struck by the cane, I think I would immediately have called both the cops and my lawyer. I just can’t believe that this woman M is getting away with assaulting a fellow resident so hard that her arm is black and blue from the wrist to the elbow.

Ball’s in your court, Revera.

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Saturday

It was only 3:00 in the afternoon and already I’d really have loved to have a ‘do-over’ of  the day. The day seemed to start OK, but began to run off the rails (my fault here) when I did not want to go to Watts Restaurant for brunch with the family. I hate that place, not least of which is the fact that their washroom is down a steep flight of stairs. The main floor “mall washroom” is far away, near the mall’s east entrance, a long and tiring walk for me. So I opted out of brunch with the gang, minding mainly that I would not be seeing my family.
For solace I was looking forward to lunch here at the residence. Main course was delicious chicken wings, best meal of the week. Yum! The only bright spot of the day.

Right after lunch, the annual flu shot clinic was to start at 1 pm and run to 4 p.m. As if!
The venue for the clinic was the pub. Holds about 20 people. By 1 p.m. the pub was full of seniors there to get their flu shot. I was #1 in line.  No one seemed to be in charge. No doctor, no nurse. They were “on the road,” it seemed. Turns out they both were coming from Hamilton. What?? There are no suitable doctors in East York to engage for a flu clinic?  Who the sam hill organized this mess? The medics arrived a half-hour late. But oh no, they were not nearly ready to give flu shots. First they issued forms to fill out. (These should have been available the day before, so that we could have arrived at the pub with the forms already filled out.) Why weren’t we filling them out during the 30-minute wait for the tardy medics? Why was there only one pen in the room? The clinic went even further downhill from there. The medics had to read and assess each completed form. And then each senior was asked individually, Are you allergic to eggs?

Each senior had to have his or her temperature taken before they could start administering the shots..Temperature was taken by ear, and so naturally, the medics ran out of the tips that are replaced in the thermometer after each new temp is taken. Did no one give them a head count of the number of residents here? Why were they so unprepared?

Finally, sometime after 2 p.m., the administration of the flu shots began. I was first in line. After receiving the shot, I was told to wait for 20 minutes outside the pub door, in the lounge (This was to make sure I didn’t have an adverse reaction.) No problem, I thought.

I moved outside into the lounge, opened my book to pass the time, and then the noise began. What an assault on my ears! The Saturday afternoon “entertainment” performers (senior citizen musicians) began singing ‘golden oldies’ at the top of their lungs, and they and their speakers were only about 10 feet away from me. The lounge was full and there was nowhere else to move. I was close to the elevators, and people kept getting off and joining the crowd. I started to feel agoraphobic. People were jammed in like sardines from the front wall to the back wall.

Right about then I noticed that my cell phone was almost out of juice, and that I couldn’t use it for anything until it was freshly charged. But I couldn’t get up to my suite to the charger until my “20 minute wait” had expired. I had my book with me but couldn’t read it too well, partly because of the noise from the band, but also because I kept getting bumped and crashed by walkers and wheelchairs going by. I had done my best to park out of the line of fire, but no, everyone drove right into me. The lounge was now really crowded. The instant my 20-minute-wait ended, I made for the elevator, and my room. While my cell phone charged, I wrote this story about my very unpleasant afternoon. I had to call  on all my patience, because I’d really wanted to let out a scream of frustration. At this point, I decided to take my dog Spike for an afternoon walk, while I calmed down and regained my equanimity.
It was a really hard week, especially after all the trouble I had over parking. Thankfully, that problem is resolved, for the time being. Here’s hoping next week is better.

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Yes, I have a secret addiction. I love to re-read novels. There’s a simple reason for this addiction. I tend to read really quickly, absorbing whole paragraphs at a gulp. I learned years ago to keep a reading diary, because I devour good books so quickly that sometimes I forget that I have even read them. My bad.

Right now, I am re-reading Wolf Hall, which I read when it was first published. I love it even more the second time through, because this time I am appreciating more than the story. Hilary Mantel’s careful research is obvious on every page, and her skill at recreating Tudor times is breathtaking. This book is even better the second time around. The author transports us into the world of the Tudor court, and chooses an unlikely person for her protagonist. He is Thomas Cromwell (who is not related to Oliver Cromwell), a low-born man who rises through the ranks to become very influential in Henry’s court. The story of Henry’s machinations to get free of Katharine of Aragon so that he can marry Anne Boleyn take up much of the narrative. Once I have finished Wolf Hall, I will reread  Bring Up the Bodies, the second installment of her story about Tudor times. If you like historical fiction, you will love this book. BTW, Hilary Mantel won the Man Booker Prize for this book. I’m hoping she also gets nominated for the sequel.  (See below…)

News flash! October 16, 2012: Hilary Mantel has won her second Man Booker Prize for “Bring Up the Bodies,” which is the second book in Mantel’s Tudor story. It is an incredible achievement to win 2 Man Booker Prizes.

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