Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Hasso and Bobby

Here's a blast from the past.

Back in the day when I was DP trash coming up, we lived on the wrong side of the tracks in the tidy puritan village of Elora.

I remember this shit like it went down last week.

Charlie Hill lived on the wrong side of the tracks too. Not that Charlie was the sort to give a shit.

I enjoyed the celebrity that went along with being the only kid in grade one who couldn't speak the english language.

Try that in a puritan english-speaking village.

Celebrity may not be the right word.

But Charlie's daughter Donna didn't seem to mind walking me to school every day.

I got beat up later.

By grade three or so I'd got a bit bigger and was able to turn the tables on some of the local boys who thought kicking the shit out of a DP was the honourable thing to do. After all, their Daddys had too often come home missing a limb or two, and would spend the rest of their truncated lives selling pencils and apples from their perch on a mechanic's creeper in front of the Iroquois Hotel.

There came a point where I never got beat up again, and in fact I can't even remember the last whuppin.

So the years rolled by, and Charlie Hill, the one-legged well-driller, became one of the earliest and most loyal clients when my dear DP daddy got out of the factory and into the real estate business.

Ya, sounds crazy now, but that kind of mobility was possible back in the day.

Donna Hill married a guy named Modesto, who came from another branch of the extended DP family. Me and Modesto actually made the front page of the Guelph Daily Mercury, all smiles as we were tinkering under the hood of an Edsel that was destined for a charity auction.

It was auctioned off to raise funds for our high school shop.

As it turned out, our shop teacher's brother won that Edsel in the auction that followed our restoration.

That's the sort of coincidence that would raise eyebrows today, if not make headlines.

But back to Hasso and Bobby.

We had that big yellow brick house just south of where the Gorge Family Restaurant is today in Elora. That, by the way, is another DP success story, but not one I'll get into now.

My family lived in the downstairs. My uncle Horst and his family lived in the upstairs. Horst had a millwright ticket that he'd earned in Switzerland. That made him a shoe-in for a welding inspector job at the General Electric plant that opened up in Guelph in the middle fifties.

Horst's family had a dog named Bobby. It was almost always chained to a tree between the chicken houses and the barn.

Bobby's tree.

Our family had a dog named Hasso that almost always ran free.

Times changed, and the dogs had to go. Horst gave Bobby to a work mate who lived a few miles away, and we never saw him again.

Our free-range Hasso was fobbed off on a work-mate of my Daddy who lived 50 miles away.

A few days later, Hasso had found his way back home.

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