It's amazing how far we have come in my lifetime. There are so many things taken for granted today that I could never have dreamed of as a child.
I remember so many events that really indicate my age. I remember the ice man coming to deliver ice to my grandmother for her ice box. All the kids would gather around the truck and snatch up the broken pieces while the delivery man was in the house.
Then there was the milk man ( made famous by the TD/Canada Trust commercial). He would have arrived before any of us got up in the morning and left the day's supply on the doorstep. The cream always rose to the top and in the winter it would freeze and pop the cardboard cap about 2 inches above the bottle.
The bread man came at noon when we were home for lunch. My mother made wonderful butter tarts but we begged her on a daily basis to buy the run-of-the-mill pastries offered on the tray. On very special occasions she would buy raisin bread... oh, my, what a treat!
Galt Dairy was about three blocks from our house and the barn where the horses were kept was just down the street. It was on Mr. Moffatt's property, a large house (compared to ours) and a huge barn in the back yard. Around three in the afternoon the horses were walked down to the barn from the dairy. The lucky kids who noticed them first often got to ride them. I couldn't wait until I was old enough but by the time I was, the dairy had gone to trucks.
My brother and two sisters and I had a magnetic attraction to the barn. Along with the other kids in the neighbourhood, we would sneak in, with a lookout watching for |Mr. Moffatt, and play hide and seek in the hay loft. More times than not, we were caught by MR. MOFFATT and sent packing with a stern scolding. We always went back. One of my mother's pat phrases was , "...and don't go to the barn!"
One Thanksgiving we had invited friends from Toronto to join us for dinner. Mom had us all spit and polished and sent us outside to play while she finished the dinner preparations. She gave us the usual warning and we all headed straight for the barn. The hay was in for the winter and we had such fun rearranging the bales to create little bunkers where we could hide if Mr. Moffatt showed up ...which he did. The lookout whispered here he comes and we all scrambled for the bunker. I ran like mad from the far side of the hayloft, right into the tension bar that stretched from the one side of the roof to the other. I saw a million stars and the goose egg immediately emerged on my forehead. We were caught. Mean old Mr. Moffatt escorted us out of the barn and we headed home. There was no use trying to create a story for Mom. I'm sure she could smell where we had been. I had the goose egg to remind me of my indiscretions. I don't remember being disciplined. Mom was sort of like that. If we were alive, she overlooked a lot.
Since then I've realized that mean old Mr. Moffatt was really quite a tolerant fellow. He certainly allowed a lot of activity in his barn and I'm convinced he knew we were there many more times than he acknowledged.
That's the way it was then. Kids made their own fun and adults didn't make a big deal of everything. You didn't have to worry about where your kids were or if they were safe. Everyone on the street looked out for us. It was a happy time.