Update on Murder Most Foul

I have to give the Kitchener Waterloo police their due.  As some of you know I had posted on a torso found way too close to family a few days ago.  At  first it all seemed very exciting.  You know CS I and Gil Grissomish.

The facts are ghoulish – a torso – no head no limbs.  I was not very confident that a resolution would present itself.

But it turned out ‘the torso’ was fairly quickly identified.  She has a name and she is/was only 24 years old.  Kelsey Felker.  Somehow knowing her name makes it all so personal.  Kelsey who cannot be canonized but is recognized as a young lady who faced a life of addictions and it seems did not live life well.  A woman who has two children who did not live with her.  Lots of questions.  Did her children even know about her?

We often laugh at the weirdest things.  Hahaha.  But for some people there is no humor.  And rightfully so.

It was found that the perpetrator, murderer, or what ever we can call it or him actually lived in the building my sister lives in.  This is scary stuff.  We expect this in Toronto, we expect it in New York.  But Kitchener?  There has been an underside in Kitchener’s in life within the city.  I had a glimpse once a few years ago but my Pollyanna attitude chose to ignore it.

I don’t know the answer to anything.  I ask.  I wonder. I want change.  How?

Terramundi and Centennials and Birthdays

Friday June 8th was not only my birthday but also the city of my birth, Kitchener Ontario.  The city was 35 when I was born and I think that is about all I will say of that.  Its original name was Berlin and it was renamed when the first World War took place.  I guess our city fathers felt Berlin was a little Germanic considering so it was named after Lord Kitchener.  It did not change the fact that the largest population was German.  The city apparently boasted a spectacular bust of Kaiser Whilhelm 1 and a few days after war was declared three young Berlin men (Fred Bolton, Alan Smith and John Ferguson) toppled the bust and dumped it into the lake at Victoria Park.  Unfortunately in 1916 there was considerable animosity from the non-German residents.

It has been interesting reading the history pages on line as many of the names we have for parks and streets are linked to the actual people living at the time.

In 1920 Charles How’s Royal Cafe was raided by Kitchener police who seized a large amount of opium and smoking equipment so I guess drugs in the cities have a long history.

In 1922 we were visited by William Lyon Mackenzie King who was then Prime Minister and a native son of our wee town.  Not so wee since 10,000 people came out to meet him .

Canadians are known to be generally a polite tolerable people however 1925 saw a clandestine attempt to oraganize a Kitchener chapter fo the Ku klux Kan that ended through disinterest.  The organizers met in a private home but two Daily Record reporters ‘were able to glimpse a’crowd’ of three around a table.’

In 1927 it seemed there were bootleggers to be caught and in 1928 the city’s Health Department found two gypsy families living in an abandoned store and shooed them out.

The first of the famous Five and Dime stores opened in 1932 by Walter Zeller.  I remember my mom still calling them Five and Dimes.  In 1936 specific mention is made of a shoemaker William Thoms who road his bicycle from home to work every day for a distance of 12 miles.  It was estimated he cycled a total of 131,400 miles.  The distance would have been much greater but during the winters he had to walk and they did not tally up those miles.  He stopped, or retired I guess at the age of 82.

One hanging was detailed in 1940.  Reginal White who was the third and final person to ever be so disposed of for a crime in the city.

1942 mention of note was that the local library reported many strange things found in books used as markers, but none so strange as a slice of bacon.

It was not until 1946, on Devember 24th that Canadian women were given equal status under the new Citizenship Act.

There are many interesting facts listed at kitchener100.ca by decade.

So while my own history did not come close to the city of my birth it was an incredible event.  This was our first Terramundi party.  I had decided I did not want any gifts as I could not think of a single desire.  Terramundi is perfect.

According to the accompanying tag:   (In the picture below mine is the blue and pink). ‘This is an Etruscan Money Amphora. These money pots have been used in Italy for the last 2,000 years and their hand thrown design has remained the same.  Examples can be seen in the British Museum.  TRADITION:  ONce the first coin is dropped the money pot must be fed til full, then smashed whilst making a wish.  It is customary to replace pot and spend money on good things.  Pots bring fortune.  There is a fortune coin in each pot.

The whole idea was that instead of bringing a gift bring a Loonie or Toonie ($1.00 or 2.00 coin) and throw it in the pot and make a wish.  Everyone was way to generous with me but the idea remains pure.

So folks that was my start to an amazing weekend!

Terramundi Money Pots

Imperfect Memories

If you knew you only had a few days or a few months to live, what would you do with that time?  This thought has been on my mind lately and I can’t figure out if it is something to seriously consider or if it is an excuse to not do other things that wait for my attention.  But by devoting time for this one can only hope that one thing will lead to another and I do like to multitask so…

I am a few months short of my sixty-fifth birthday and realize that just having outlived my parents I am not sure of my own longevity.  It’s hard to beat your genes.  Who would I like to read this story?  Certainly my children and the rest of my family but there is a danger in sharing with my brothers and sisters as I have discovered each of us has a different memory of a past event which just goes to prove the old idea of the truth being completely subjective and perhaps nonexistent in its purest form.  I know I have posted on this blog memories of events and my brother and sister have pointed out a different or corrected version (very kindly of course).  This is probably a good thing as they are younger than I so perhaps their minds are a little fresher.

Distant memory in particular is colored by what we think happened and our ensuing experiences and emotions.  And of course we choose to believe or remember a specific thing or occurrence according to our own mind.  One of my brothers believes my grandparents did not own their home because he remembers seeing a box with rent receipts after they died.  He may have forgotten that at least one offspring and family lived in that house with them continually for many years and yes they all paid rent.  That included my parents, two aunts and several others for shorter periods of time.  So he, my brother, would swear on a stack of bibles that they never owned that house even though the family sold it after Grandpa’s death.  Fortunately my one living paternal aunt can verify this and explains that she was fourteen when she had to quit school to stay home and look after her younger brother and sister so my grandmother could get a job to make money to buy the house which they purchased when my dad was overseas.

This is one of the reasons I tend to avoid reading famous people’s autobiographies – just too subjective.  So if you are reading this little story and share memories of the past with me, please understand this is my recollection and while I will strive to be accurate it just can’t be more than my own mind and heart will let it be.

My dad joined the army when he was seventeen, and yes he was underage, but it was 1941 and the Second World War was raging so a lot of youngsters were allowed to enlist as age wasn’t questioned much.  We have a couple of letters  that he sent home when he was posted overseas and one letter from his younger brother who I think was only fourteen at the time.  I will dig them out and scan them for the record and will tell you more about that at a later time.

I think now and then about the sort of things I want my children to know about such as old wood stoves that baked pies and cakes and wonderful homemade stews and soups, old dial black telephones and numbers that began with words or initials.  Our phone number was Sherwood 2—2 and the Sherwood was dialed as SH so the number in fact was 742—-2.  (Naturally I have the exact number in the family version but it would not be a good idea to publish it in the event someone else now has that number).  Everyone in those days was on a party line, so if you wanted to make a call you first picked up the receiver to be sure the line was clear.  Mind you at any time a neighbor could pick up their phone and listen in and if they were skilled at making the click very quiet you would never know.  I suppose if you were of the paraniod persuasion clicks were heard when no one was there.  People did not use the phone unless it was necessary.  There was no idle chatter.  There was also no such thing as cordless, caller ID, or speaker.  Oh, and no such thing as colors.  It was black and very heavy as I remember.

The one below is exactly like ours and everyone else’s for that matter.

 

There were no phone jacks that lines plugged into so if the cord was snapped from the wall you had to call the phone company to come in and repair it.  Now I must qualify the not using the phone unless it was necessary part.  I do recall vaguely the odd Saturday when our parents were out making prank calls that generally went, “Hello, is your refrigerator running? Well you better run after it!”  We just dialed numbers randomly and have no idea who we contacted and they sure could not trace us.

It is my intention not to reveal any family skeletons as such; at least I think I will not, as many of those old bones are not mine to share.  Neither will I necessarily whitewash things but the memories are pretty happy nostalgic ones.  I guess we will just have to wait and see as layers of the dusty past are removed.  I have also decided that I will not try to stay on a chronological path as memories seem to pop up in a rather irregular fashion and that is how they will be recorded.  I’ve tried the chronological thing in the last couple of years and it drives me bonkers.

My folks were married in Scotland and she being a war bride followed him here to Kitchener Ontario a few months after his return.  I have spoken with my aunt who is my mom’s younger sister and the last of that family of siblings and my aunt who is the last remaining member of my dad’s siblings and have asked as many questions as I could about their youth and what they remember.  As both are well into their eighties the memories are very subjective but amazingly detailed.  Besides what are memories if they have to be objective?  The full flavor of life is in the personal bias of it all.  That’s where the fun comes in!

Well now that I have that all straightened out I shall ponder a little more and then get down to some real work.  I won’t share every record of history with you but when the little oddities such as telephones pop up I will keep you in mind.

 

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