Patricia Ross

I have been reading all the stories from Old Cabbagetowners and thought I might as well share some of my memories. I was born Patricia Ross in 1937 and lived all of my single life on Mark St. off river, first street below Dundas, with my two older brothers, Gordon & Kenny, and my younger sister Arlene, and the large Francey Family that were just like brothers & sisters to us. At 25 I married Joe Partridge who lived on Parliament just below Queen in a wartime house with one brother Jim and two sisters, Maxine & Barbara. We will be married 40 years in April.

I remember the hot summer days when the ice had all melted in our ice box, and we would look forward to the ice truck to come so we could pinch some pieces to cool us off. Back then everything was delivered to the house.

I remember the baker delivering bread and we would all run to the door and beg our mother to get some Cream buns (real Whipped cream) that we could not afford and mom usually gave in and put herself in debt to buy them for us. Then the tea man would come (Ocean Blend), I still have the tea canister I keep buttons in it. He also would have some candies, bags of peppermints, Humbugs etc.

The milk man came early, and in the winter the milk would freeze in the vestibule and the cream would be sticking out the top of the bottle. Mom would get so mad if we took the cream for our cereal which usually was shredded wheat or Newport Fluffs. The cereal came out of a gigantic bag that also included a free glass. And if we could, we'd talk mom into a bottle of chocolate milk which was not very often.

The vegetable man came around on Saturdays. I can't recall the name but it was a father and his twin boys they were all very nice and everyone on the street would be at the truck picking over the corn etc.

The next person to arrive at our door was Metropolitan Life insurance man who was a real sweetheart and Mom paid him something like 25 cents a week for insurance on us all.

And at least once a month the Watkins man would be around with everything from salve for your burns, to cans of hot chocolate and anything else you could think of. I have bought Watkins products from the flea market in the past few years and they always bring back a lot of good memories.

We also had the clothing man who brought coats, dresses. and everything from soup to nuts an he would be paid something like 50 cents a week. His store was on Parliment St. But new cloths were few and far between. Usually our clothes came from Snowden's the second hand store on Sumach St. at the corner of Wyatt, Until the laundrymat moved in.

Mom and my Aunt would come home with bundles of old clothes and throw them on the dining room table and we would all jump and fight over the nicest clothes, Then we would put them on and think we were movie stars.

I remember taking two milk bottles or a few pop bottles up to Pete & Rose's store on River St. right across from Mark St on the corner of Wyatt Ave to get 10 cents worth of bologna. And if mom had extra we would have to get a pack of Black Cat Cork Tip Cigs for her, but if she didn't have enough Pete would open a pack and sell us two or three. He was a real nice man. And he would always sell us something on a Sunday if we knocked on his side door.

I will never forget when they paved River street and everyone was out with there roller skates. It was the biggest thrill for us after trying to skate on the brick roads that we still had on Mark St. for years to come.

And we could never forget the sheenie men. Old Harry used to have a cart that he would wheel down the street shouting but but but beep but but but beep any old rags today. or the two that used to come around on a wagon with long gray beards don't know their names. Or the Wino's that used to line Lovett Place or what we called the cat's hole. We used to take that way to school sometimes. They never bothered anyone, but we knew at the other end there would be 30 or 40 kids hanging out at Pete's delicatessen. They were usually the older kids including my brother Ken & his girl Marguerite.

We usually walked along Wyatt and down Sumach to get to Park School and if we had a nickle we could get the biggest taffy apples sometimes dipped in coconut at the corner of St David's. If we didn't have enough we would go across the road and get molasses apples for 2 cents. We would hide them in our desk and when the teacher wasn't looking we would sneak a bite.

Mr. McKay was principal then and I remember when he left we were all out in the field. I think everyone liked him I am not sure but I think it was Mr. Sager took his place, but I could be wrong.

When I was a teenager I looked forward to Park School Dances every Thurs. night. And dance to Bonaparte's Retreat, Rumba Boogie. We danced the dirty boogie to that. And even looked forward to the square dance they had. We would run outside for a smoke during intermission. We wore Eisenhower Jackets, be-bop sweaters & strides. Mine were usually my brothers that had shrunk when he had them cleaned, and the guys wore big wide oxblood shoes before the staightlace shoe came out. And the girls either wore Oxblood Balmey shoes or a ballerina type shoe with sling backs, Nylon blouses you could see through, but they wore very pretty lace camisoles under them, that is if your family could afford them. I also remember St Bartholomew's dances later.

We used to pick coke from the back of the factories were they would drop it when delivered to the factories that backed onto the don roadway. Dad was in the Navy and the coal we bought didn't always last until the next pay came in. Our house was the closest to the Don River so we got all the hobos looking for a handout and mom always obliged because her mother had done it before her.

We were not poor. Maybe we didn't have a lot of material things but we had our mother's & father's love and that more than made up for it. Dad always had tricks to show us and would play games with us. And we had a lot of fun with the Francey family we would go to each other's house and play bingo etc. Then when we got older we always had pools on the horse races, hockey games and anything else we could.

We even got pleasure from taking a piece of tar from the man who used to tar the roof tops and chewing it like gum. (Now that took a lot of guts.) I also remember yelling in the door of the Shamrock hotel at the corner of River & Gerrard then running like hell, or knocking on houses and doing the same thing I think they called it knicky knicky nine doors. I Will never forget Cabbagetown and I will always be proud I was a Cabbagetowner. It was the only place I have ever lived that I would feel safe knocking on anyone's door if I were in trouble, and they would let you in and try to give you a helping hand.

Spent a lot of time at the Bluebell show and remember when I was very young paying a 3 cents or a nickle to get in, but you got a picture of Roy Rogers or Gene Autry and a grab bag of candy usually as hard as the hubs of hell, but we didn't care it tasted great. Well I guess that's all, everything else has already been said. Hope this brings back a few different memories for some of you.

Patricia Ross -