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Monday, 21 May 2012

Chateauguay, Quebec

Chateauguay is a small town across the Pont Mercier Bridge on the other side of the St. Lawrence River just south of Montreal. The Chateuguay river, which is a tributary of the St. Larence River, flows through the middle of the village. From what I understand, today, a lot of people make the daily commute to jobs in Montreal. Back around 1950 it was a sleepy little country town.

I'm not quite sure if we stayed out in Chateauguay one summer or two summers. I was about two or three years of age and the time would have been around 1949 or 1950. The house we stayed at was loaned to my parents by a couple with the last name of Yost. They were friend's of my grandfather's.

There were a few unique things about the house. There was a front room with large screens that had a ships's steering wheel that I was fascinated with. Outside, on the front lawn, there was a goldfish pond with a lighthouse in the middle of it.

I was just a toddler at the time and like every small child I was curious. Somehow, I managed to climb a ladder that was resting against the back of the house. I spotted a grey round object and reached out to grab it. It might just be the first really dumb thing I did in life. The grey round thing turned out to be a wasp's nest. I am sure there was a lot a shreiking going on that day.I
David, Me, Sandra
My father, David, Sandra
My mother
David and Sandra
My father and me

My father stayed in town during the week and only came out Chateauguay on the weekends. A friend of my mother’s, who she grew up with and went to Montreal High with, rented a house up the street a bit. We called her Aunt Airdrie. For some reason an image of her house has always stuck with me. I remember the curtains blowing in the summer breeze in a window at the landing of the steps to the second floor. I have no idea why I can recall this.
On the other side of the street behind a row of trees was a monastery, complete with monks in brown robes like Friar Tuck. Rumour has it that my older brother and sister stole a few apples from their orchard now and then.

My grandparents owned a house nearby to the Yosts. I have no memory of their house at all. My grandfather's name was Edwyn Wayte and he was involved in many amateur theatrical productions in Montreal from the 1930s into the 1950s. He directed a number of plays and musicals for the Chidren's Repetory Theatre at Victoria Hall in Westmount.
IIn the few years that I knew my grandfather I always had the impression that he knew a wide range of people. Back around 1950 the way to get to Chateauguay was through a short one lane tunnel that went under railway tracks near what used to be called Caugnawaga but is now called Kanawake. My grandfather knew the guy at the nearby gas station and the guy that gave people the high sign that it was OK to drive into the tunnel.
About the only other thing I can remember from our time in Chateauguay was the time my grandfather took me for a long walk. We walked over a railway bridge that crossed the river and found ourselves at a little country store where my grandfather bought me an ice cream cone and a pack of baseball cards. One of the cards was of the baseball pitcher of Bob Lemon who played for the Cleveland Indians at the time. The smiling Indian with the big teeth on the card remains forever embedded in my brain.

My father and grandfather in front of my father's Hudson

1 comment:

  1. Châteauguay was part of my childhood, my grandparents (on my late dad's side) lived there as well as my aunt's. Still remember they had a boarder which was a pizza man at Chateauguay's pizzeria on St-Jean Baptiste. There was the Towers department store with Spot (today, with Zellers gone, might be torn down for something else...) and also the Sun K chinese restaurant. Boul d'Anjou with this commercial strip with the Regional Shopping Center (the big C on the sign) with Steinberg's with a giant "S" on the store front, Zellers, Woolworth, etc... Later Miracle Mart would add across St-Joseph boulevard. A&P and IGA were in small shopping malls... And lately, what was "Maple Food Fair" is now gone to ashes, a fire destroyed the supermarket turned into a bowling...

    Other things I have too much to tell here. My grandparents lived in Park avenue, then on Marcel street, in what was at the time "Châteauguay Centre"...

    And of course lots of memories about this area, both my grandparents were exposed when they passed away at Reid's funeral parlour...

    Each time I hear this "Beau Dommage" song about "Harmonie du soir à Châteauguay", it brings me back cool memories...