West End Girls
I still live in the house that I was raised in. The neighbourhood is called “Old South”. I live very close to Wortley Village where I can walk to a bank, grocery store, pharmacy, library, gift shop (where I have bought unique gifts for friends), coffee shop and hardware store on the corner. It’s actually Home Hardware but everyone just calls it “Tuckey’s” after the owners. Growing up we lived 5 mins away from our public school and high school. Our neighbourhood for the most part had single working parents. The father went out to work and the mother stayed home to look after the kids. The street next to us had lots of kids around the same age as us. They all moved in around the same time so on weekends we would all hang out on the street (it dead ended). Parents never had to worry where we were. It’s different now because all the kids are grown. Most of the parents still live in the same houses. I live in a 4 bedroom house. The bedrooms are only big enough for a twin bed. We have a finished basement with powder room. Convenient if Dad was working outside so he could clean up before coming up stairs. We have a HUGE backyard where we had a swing set and monkey bars. We had a slight hill where we would sled in the winter time. It was a wonderful house for a child to grow up in.
My Dad was a letter carrier. Growing up I didn’t know what “class” we were in. I knew we weren’t rich but I knew we always had enough. My grandparents would spoil us and we would get treats once in a while. My grandmother made our clothes. My brother was always the one who wanted all the latest fads. He had to have a roots sweatshirt, levi jeans and they had to be the right colour. Dad put his foot down when he wanted to spend money on Nike running shoes. “No son of mine is going to spend more money on a pair of shoes than I spend on dress shoes.”
My father was one of 7 children and grew up on a farm in Elora, ON and moved to London when he was 13. I didn’t realize quite how poor they were until after he died. My Dad had to go to work as a teenager along with his brother just to provide food for the family. My Dad was the only one who really remembered his roots. His sister was a nurse and married a professor, his other sister married someone who earned his wealth in construction (real estate), his brother was a teacher and his other brother was a self made millionaire. It was hard at times because I would see that they thought Dad didn’t do as well as them because he didn’t have as much money. Most of my cousins are professionals…lawyers, teachers, financial advisors.
I used to attend a bible study where most of the people were what society would call “working poor”. They lived pay cheque to pay cheque. But they were the most selfless people you would ever want to meet. If someone was in need they would give them their last dollar.
West End Girls