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The APSLEY VOICE
Some thoughts on my youth by Arnie Brown
I was born in January 1942 and I lived at the Browns store (now Hunter’s) facing south over the “Apsley Hill” until I was 15 years old. I lived there with my Grandfather Duncan, Grandmother Louise, my Mother and Father Mildred and Stewart, my sister Elaine and my Aunt Ida.
Three vivid memories were the death of King George VI near the end of the war, when funeral dirges played all day on the radio; another is my mother filling out butter ration stamps for customers at the counter of the store; and finally on a Sunday afternoon watching Victor McFadden walking down Burleigh Street after stepping off the bus, returning in full uniform from WW II.
My childhood friends included Murray McCormack, Allan Trotter, Gordon and Gary Graham, Bob Hales, Harry Reynolds, Doug Reynolds, Jim McDonald, Joan McCauley and Shirley Reynolds.
My Grandfather bought me a pair of skates when I was four and took me to the outdoor rink behind the current Cottage Wear Store, where I learned to skate. There was a small slab sided shack with a homemade barrel stove between the two “dressing rooms”. Rich Watson, Walter Tucker, Herb Tucker, Harold Tucker, Mel Tucker, Roy Hammond, and George Baker kept the strings of lights operating and a blazing fire in the stove. This was the second location of the rink; the first rink was built on the marsh behind the Shell Station operated by Newt Stephens and Ron McDonald.
Unknown year - try to find Arnie
ALSO IN THIS ISSUE:
Bert Hawden, the first permanent OPP Officer, and Dr. Fetterly organized the first kids’ hockey team. Cyrill Hilker, Bob Hales, Harry Everret, Harry Reynolds, Glen Earnshaw, Gord Ayotte, David Lean, Vaughn Dafoe, Glenn Tucker, Gary and Wayne Halle are some of the remembered participants.
Mrs. Mac Tucker began the first kindergarten class in Apsley at the old Town Hall (on the same site as the municipal office; with a lock up underneath). I attended early grades at the Clydesdale School for 3 years where my Aunt Mrs. Wm Church taught; it was located on the old Apsley Road, just before the Balmer Road turn. I then went into grade 5 at the Old Apsley School that was located where the municipal cetnre (rink) is now located. That same year 1954, at Christmas we moved to the newly constructed Apsley Central School as we currently know it today.
Mr. Wm Haule of Deseronto was the teacher, who came via the Glen Alda School. Mr. Haule was a great motivator of youth by arranging many sporting activities that everyone participated in.
The “new” arena was constructed shortly thereafter, with the help from donations, fundraising by the Lion’s Club, and a Mr. Clarence McCormack who was the owner of the GM Dealership and garage, (located where the Watson’s Gas Bar now stands).
During the summer dry periods, Jim Scott of the Lands and Forests (now the MNR) would hire youth as extra fire fighters. He along with Bill Wilson, Geo Carr, and Buster Blakely kept us busy mainly sharpening old axes on a antiquated grindstone for 0.50$ per hour.
Elwood Nesbett was the first custodian of the “new” rink with natural ice. He made sure the door was always left open after school so we could hurry to play shinny hockey before dark.
In the spring of 1957 the Lion’s senior team won the east Peterborough Hockey League Championship. The final games were played in the Peterborough Civic Arena due to the soft ice condition in late March. The Apsley boys on the team were Stanley Jeff, Jack McKendry, Bob Hales, David Lean, Murray McCormacks, Gerald Watson, and myself.
During the summer, Mr. Gunter of Coe Hill would show recent movies at the Old Parish Hall that stood just south of the current Cottage Wear Store. Many attended, however I would have to leave early if monster movies were shown.
My parents worked 6 days a week at the store from 7:00 am to 11:00 pm. They also answered calls at the back door on Sundays if someone was in need. The Apsley telephone central was at the back of the building. I remember distinctly the fire flying out of the connections holes during any lightening storms.
Some people who worked the store over the years were Glenn Nichols, Elmer Lean, Victor McFadden, Herb James, Rena and Rhoda Earnshaw, Eva Fitzgerald, and Sylvia Whitmore, and Elmer Lean.
Summer would always find a group of young friends swimming at the deep hole on Eels Creek over the hill from the old rink. Many summer days would be spend swimming and waterskiing at Jack Lake with Murray McCormack, David Lean or trout fishing with Bill Wilson.
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