The Streets of Leamington – circa 1910
My grandmother’s book “Memories of Lake Erie Shores” contained mostly the stories written by her cousin Earl Robson. There are a few original stories by Grandma too.
One of the things she did was a story where she described the streets of Leamington, where she lived, where the neighbours lived and also all the businesses up and down the street.
Here are just a few paragraphs, starting with Jackson’s China Shop (because I think it’s still in the same location .. so a good place to get our bearings). The date she’s referring to must be around 1908-1910 because it sounds like she’s remembering he life as a very little girl.
“West across Erie Street, my Uncle George Jackson had his china shop. At Christmas time he set up long tables with articles from a dime to fifty cents each. What a time we had, spending our meagre money on these articles after the momentous time we had in choosing the right thing for our little gifts. Today they are collectables and cost a good deal more.
Around the corner was Bob Cole’s blacksmith shop where Dad had his horses shod. Bob had little black Scotch terriers then.
Going up on Clark Street, and across from the Selkirks was a bit of cold and damp looking bush. But we were afraid to go exploring there. An old man, Joe Munger, lived in a little shack in the middle of the trees. He was called a hermit and that is probably why we were afraid of him. He never hurt anyone, just minded his business and had a lovely garden. We should have minded ours.
On the north east corner of Talbot and Erie was the big store owned by Johnny Davis. His children, Chester and Mamie, helped him. Cater-corner from the south west corner was the Busy Big Store owned by S.G. Morse and his wife Ruby Evans who was the clerk. West of this was John Balady’s Shoe and Dry Goods Store, which he and his sister Mrs. Abdo managed. I remember him because he sold my dad shoes with bull dog toes (highly built toes) for me to wear. I hated them but in those days children did what they were told, so I wore them. But I did take the hammer and flatten those toes.
Going back to Talbot East to where John A. Campbell lived on the southwest corner. This was originally the Ralph Foster home. Mr. Campbell had an onion farm in the Marsh. When the onions needed weeding — by hand — he would bring his old jalopy to the high school, fill it with students and take us to the field. We would work three hours on our knees, pulling the weeds from the loose earth. And then he would bring us home, singing and enjoying the change.
I don’t remember whether we had a chance to swim in the lake or not, but we did enjoy the dollar he paid us. He was well liked by all — even throughout the county – where he was always called “John A”
(ed note: the article goes on but best not to make blog postings too long …