CPR Section House

CPR Section House

Monday, May 2, 2011

Dad's First Car

The girls , Dad and friends
  In 1953 , Dad purchased an old Chrysler- '39 I think but I wouldn't know . It was his first car-one of many used vehicles that would pass through our yard - and each one a 'great deal' . This car cost a whopping $50.oo . That was two weeks take home pay and took him nearly a year to pay off at $5.oo a month.

Who knows how much it had cost in upkeep ? But I vaguely remember that Dad spent most weekends fixing something to keep it going . Short trips into Sudbury to visit relatives ( about 20 miles) were always taken on faith that the car would make it there and back to Larchwood ...

In late summer , 1955 , after Sis had finished her kindergarten year and money enough was saved for gasoline , preparations were made for the move to Mattawa . Nowadays , that trip could be done in three hours , but then it was an all-day trip .

 All my parents belongings were loaded onto a CPR freight train for shipment to Mattawa . Luckily , there was no cost for this . It was a perk for employees who were transferring to new locations .

 All the clothing was packed into the car trunk in the two red suitcases , the laundry basket and cardboard boxes . Foodstuffs in cans and Mason jars added to the load along with the necessary tools that Dad would need to keep the car going . This included the pail to top off the leaking radiator with water .

Many stops at river , creeks and lake would give Dad that opportunity while Mum and the kids took fresh air . Exhaust fumes meant travelling in the car with a window down would be essential . That was always covered by the fact that Dad's window couldn't close anyway . He only shut it in the winter by 'jimmying' it up and shoving a wood chip between the glass and the frame to hold it in place . But it was the 'dog days of August' so the window was down to " Let the wind blow ."

Once all preparations were made , we bid farewell to the Kachuks . They had been true friends to our family , like Grandparents to the children . Sis and Mrs. Kachuk had a long and tearful goodbye and it took some persuasion to pry my sister off her side .

 As Mum took a last look at her flower garden , Lily's mother rushed over and tearfully hugged and kissed her . This was quite a feat for a woman who when Mum had first met her was in mortal fear of her husband and her eldest son . Mum had encouraged her to stand up for herself . After a defensive manouver with a broom , her husband had a healthy respect for his wife . But Mum always worried that after our family left , things would get tough for her again .

 Finally , Sis and I were put into the backseat .  With a packed lunch of Klik sandwiches wrapped in waxed paper on the front seat beside her , Mum settled in for the journey with baby brother held fast on her knees . Dad persuaded the car to start with a few well placed , colourful expletives (which seemed to work on all his cars ). As we slowly rolled away from the station and section houses at Larchwood , everyone waved the last goodbye .

"Don't worry ," Dad reassured , " I told him that if he got up to his antics , I'd hear about it soon enough and come looking for him ."

By the way...
On other trips , the back seat was removed and a blanket was spread over the area . The children were put in the back with food , toys and other occupiers . Since it was a large space with a high roof , we could stand up and move around . When we were tired , we simply lay down and slept .

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