Hagersville, Yamaha Midnight Special, Toronto Indy Car Series, Algonquin College, University of Ottawa Lowertown East
Landing on the ground in another Canadian city and Province takes a little time to find your feet. In October 1988, I began working for Union Auto Parts as a contract worker cleaning up a huge tire problem. I had been told by Labor Ready told me to take care of Ivan, a new Polish immigrant fresh from a European refuge camp. In Saskatchewan, the Poles claimed refuge status in Canada well before my time, and I did my best to help Ivan find his feet on the ground during my time in Ottawa. Our job was to remove the wheel rims from a huge pile of used tires neglected over the last 50 years.
For 3 months, we loaded the tires into open top shipping containers. Don dragged the containers filled with tires to the main shop with the Case Loader. Ivan carried the tires into the shop to the tire machine, and I removed the tires from the rims. Ivan carried the rims outside to another open top container to be melted down into new steel products. Ivan also carried the tires to another container outside to be sent to an imminent environmental disaster which would be another international story for Canadians and the rest of the world. This was after all the 1980's, when the tobacco industry was fighting over the cause of lung Cancer, and the auto industry in eastern Canada was storing their dirty old rubber tires in Hagersville.
Hagersville is a community in Haldimand County, Ontario which gained international notoriety in 1990 for a gigantic uncontrolled tire fire which spewed toxic smoke for seventeen days. The fire itself actually occurred in Townsend, a neighbouring community, but media labelled it as Hagersville due to Townsend's relatively unknown status in the area. The so-called "Hagersville Tire Fire" has nonetheless been reportedly linked to long-term health issues, including some "rare, aggressive cancers," among area firefighters who experienced the event first-hand.
Eventually, Ivan moved on to another job because the money was not good enough. Ivan was right about the money, yard dogs don't make a lot of money. I stayed on to drive a forklift as a Yard Dog with Union Auto Parts. I justified this to myself, as many before me. I would move on when something else came along. Union Auto Parts eventually bought out my contract from Labor Ready, and I started working directly for Union Auto Parts. While working for Union Auto Parts during Christmas and New Years, I kept myself entertained on the strip in Hull QC. I drank, stoically at the Bijou on the strip during the holiday season, while I dated my french girlfriend June with the help of my little weekly pay check.
I struggled under the blue collar paycheck to paycheck endurance test. The Canadian blue collar worker is gradually worn down and churned out by society, as are his tires. Without a litany of luck, most blue collar laborers find themselves half broken and / or half crippled as they try to hang on to their jobs in their mid 50's. It's more difficult for older employees which cannot make the transition from manual labor to bench pressing stress in supervision, sales, office work, or small business. I had to make changes. I needed a career. First, I moved to Bells Corners in Nepean ON in 1989 during the winter to make the blue collar endurance test a little more proximate.
I saved on the considerable commute time and costs from Hull QC to Nepean ON. I rented a room in a house shared with 2 other Ottawa Valley boys on Hadley Circle known as Bells Corners. The rest of the winter and spring flew by as my job held me down to the weekly pay routine at Union Auto Parts. The weekly paychecks locked me into my routine. I never enough cash on hand to quit. I had no time to find a better job. In the spring, I started riding my bicycle to work, and I bought a crashed 750 Yamaha Midnight Special from the Motorcycle bone yard at Union Auto Parts. The boys on the flatbed tow truck dropped the Midnight Special off at the house on Hadley Circle, while they were doing "cash for your junk car picks".
I found a wiring harness for the Midnight Special at Ottawa Motorcycle Salvage, and I fixed the gas tank with body filer from Canadian Tire. I bought a transfer case cover, hand levers, shift lever, handle bars, and a front rim from Ottawa Yamaha. I disassembled the front end and straightened the forks. I put it all back together and started the engine in the garage at Hadley Circle. This became my third street bike with my ownership papers in hand from Union Auto Parts. I planned to give the Midnight Special a street test once I got plates and insurance. Speed enthusiasts in the valley watched the annual Indy Car Series Race early, in June, that year from Toronto.
Michael Andretti won the race for Newman / Hass Racing. The race was held earlier than usual because the 1989 Toronto Pan American Games were slated to be in Toronto in July. Little did I know that I would soon have visitors drop by after the race. In June 1989, my brother Leo and his friend Tony arrived in Toronto ON all the way from St. Brieux SK in Leo's 52 Mercury half ton truck. After they watched the races in Toronto, Leo and Tony traveled up the 401 to Ottawa. They expected to find me at my old address on the strip in Hull QC.
They found one of my old roommates above the restaurant in Hull QC. He did not know my new address, however he told them I was working at Union Auto Parts in Nepean. They drove to Union Auto Parts on Old Richmond Rd to find me on my forklift. These first ever visitors to Ottawa were more than reason enough for a unscheduled leave of absence. I was going to show the westerners a good time in the Ottawa Valley. We went on a 3 day tour of my old haunts on the strip in Hull QC, The ByWard Market in Lowertown Ottawa, and Parliament Hill. Did I say strippers in Hull? The somewhat misty foggy guided tour flew through Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. I had a Monday thru Friday blue collar job.
Somewhere in that misty fog, we tested my Midnight Special on Hadley Circle. Beer definitely does not make a person smarter. I sold the Midnight Special to Leo for $225.00 which was the price of the parts I bought to get it back on the road. I guess it was good to have friends. Leo and Tony drove out of town with the Midnight Special on the truck. I returned to work on Friday to be harassed by Don the rising star "yard dog" promoted to impetuous sales counter jockey at Union Auto Parts. I heard part of his rant. I studied my boots in the middle of his rant. I ignored the end of his rant. I went for the door while he was catching his breath, saying "I'll be back to pick up my holiday pay next week".
Suddenly James Brown had speakers in my head as I was riding my bike out of Dodge. I Feel Good played loud and clear as I picked up a case of beer. I went home to wet nurse my way off a three day party with a 2 day 2 six pack weekend. Mark, one of my friends at work dropped in to say I should come back on Monday. He said Don was out of line. However, I stuck to my impulsive decision, and I picked up my last check the next Friday to find out that Don "the impetuous" had overstepped his nonexistent authority in the matter. I was told I needed to apologize for missing the days! I still quit. That was one of those fuzzy, did I quit or get fired jobs? Did you have one of those? Got Ya.
It doesn't take a brain surgeon to know that lifting 55 kilo Turbo 400 transmissions onto pallets was just begging to be a washed up, backless, blue collar worker at 55 years of age. I could carry a Firefly engine block like a six pack with one hand. My back was already talking to my brain. I knew it was time to stretch out my brain a little, again. I decided to take a course at Algonquin College on Woodroffe Ave in Nepean ON in Accounting. The world always needs another bean counter stretching out their budget, right? In July of 1989, I managed to convince Unemployment Insurance to sponsor me for an Accounting Course beginning in September.
I gave my notice for my room at the end of July, and I rented another room on Chesterton Drive near the Algonquin College for September 1st. I believed I was making a move towards a profession. Suddenly, I had access to the computers at Algonquin College and an IBM PC in the house where I rented a room on Chesterton Drive where I rented the room. I spent all of my time on these computers, and I didn't find time to count beans. I had lost access to computers since 1978 at the University of Saskatchewan.
The IBM PC's or the early PC Clones which worked better for less were finally becoming affordable to the general population. Monochrome monitors were already being upgraded to teary eyed CGA monitors. 640 K memory was being extended to a preposterous 1 MB of System Memory. Those were heady days, indeed. I spent every waking moment on the Algonquin PC's and Home IBM PC. These heavy hitters had move computing power than the on board systems which went to the moon. Indeed. I wished I could compute non stop. I tried to sleep as little as possible. There was so much to learn, I wished for more endurance. I found the promised land.
I read computer software books. I spent every dime I had on computer books, not counting beans. I could count binary in my head, instead. I bought or read every book Algonquin College offered in all their computer courses. I studied writing my own programs. I wrote my own ASCII screens. Basic, Fortran, Cobol, and the hot new language Perl. She was a real gem. I dreamed code, compilers, and circuit boards. I studied P and N type silicon in memory fabrication. I tried to learn how to make and operate a computer. I hit the Delete key on the holiday season in exchange for Perl. I was to poor to be an Apple. I was not a IBM, though I would be an IBM before an Apple. I calculated I could get more done for each cent on a Clone.
I was determined to be something in the Computer Industry. Officially, I completed 8 months of a 12 month course in Accounting focused on Generally Accepted Accounting Principles and ACCPAC. Unofficially, I majored in the Computer Lab and skipping classes. I quit the Accounting course after completing the second term at the end of April 1990. I would get a summer job and take more courses at the University of Ottawa in the fall. Move' n on! I moved from Nepean ON to Ottawa ON in May when I took a part time job and a place as assistant manager at the Augusta Apartment building on 161 Augusta in Ottawa ON.
I would be close to the University of Ottawa while living in Lowertown East for the fall session. I had free rent as assistant caretaker which would put beans on the table for the winter. I helped the female Manager doing repairs, garbage, painting, fixing lights, and running the building. I started working in June 1990, and I eventually settled into the East LowerTown lifestyle in Ottawa. After 10 months of self induced binary isolation, I came out.
I came out for a beer. I fell into a social network around Angelo's Restaurant at on Rideau Street, a full two block expedition from the Augusta Apartment building. I fell into a group of friends at the neighborhood bar / restaurant. I was new in the area, and my social life resolved around Angelo's. I made new friends, and I came to know the owners, as well. Our circle of characters were the final cuts from the script of "Cheers". I would eventually be encouraged by my friends to rent a vacant suite upstairs above the restaurant.
Eventually, I did move out of the Augusta Apartment building to my bachelor above Angelo's. I left my assistant manager job at the Augusta Apartments, as well. I began computer courses at the University of Ottawa in Computer Science in September. I played Dungeons and Dragons with Rhonda, Mike, Andre, Mark, Doug, and Dan at one house or the other each Sunday. I like learning new things so D & D had it's appeal, and I enjoyed Lowertown East in Ottawa ON. The area has a good mix of people. These were real people who are often overlooked when Canadians think of the Capital City of Canada.
The real people are not at all like the Conservative Party which stole so many houses in the 1980's with Government Dictated high interest rates. We played D & D each week, and we dressed as our characters as a group for Halloween that fall. We did a little bar hop hop hop, before ending up at Angelo's. It was on Halloween Night that one of my D & D group told me about about rumors someone was spreading at Angelo's. Someone had come to the bar talking about my past in Saskatoon SK. I was stunned. The group talked about The Little Whore from Clavet.
Star Trailer Court in the fall of 1980 in Saskatoon and the The Clan from Clavet sparked my curiosity? Flashback? Was the Little Whore from Clavet still trading her underage white girls to her brothers? Was Becky back on hooker row in Saskatoon with BJ and his blonde with new hooker boots? Was the Clan from Clavet still selling drugs on 20th street? Did they get caught ratting out the Saskatoon Rebels on Idylwyld Drive? Could the Clan from Clavet be expanding to Ottawa ON? My friends wanted answers about my past, and that was going to happen the next day after the Halloween Party.
The next day I sat down at the table with Rhonda and Dan while Christine listened in while waiting on our table. The place was empty in the quiet of the morning at a front table in Angelo's. They were going to grab the bull by the Horns, so to speak. Je me souviens. They told me the Clan from Clavet was claiming that I kidnapped and raped the Little Whore from Clavet. Furthermore, I beat the hell out of her. Apparently, I damn near killed her. Finally, I threw her outside for dead in -30 below Saskatchewan weather. She somehow miraculously survived, and the Clan from Clavet was suggesting that I was on the run from the law in Saskatoon.
I had that sinking feeling. No. Not the guilty sinking feeling. That sinking feeling when your going to loose money. Was this extortion? Did the ratting raping Clan from Clavet somehow see a payday in here somewhere? I told my friends that I was never charged by the Saskatoon Police Department because I did nothing wrong. I summarized my experience with the Little Whore from Clavet prior to November 1st 1990. As for running from the law, I told them I was working with the Saskatoon Police Department instituting private ticketing for Imperial Parking. I'm sure the law would have brought that up when were were meeting on official police business.
I suggested that they should get involved. They should check into how many underage girls the Clan from Clavet raped after being served up by the Little Whore from Clavet? I suggested they talk to the parents of a runaway from Nelson BC? These are good people and involved in the community. As a group, they experienced Ottawa's first real insight into the informant / criminal activities of the Clan from Clavet. Does the Saskatoon Police Department (SPD) traffic in people under Criminal Code (section 279.01) providing sex with your daughter for informants? Yes Nelson BC. More on that later . . .
I summarized the events in Star Trailer Court, Clavet, Young, Allen, Saskatoon, Rumors Bar in Saskatoon, and now Angelo's in Ottawa. Does the Clan from Clavet practice incest? Any street support worker will tell you that the home life drives most young girls to street prostitution. For all I know Becky's mom had all her son's taking a ride on Becky. Was this extortion on the part of the Clan from Clavet? I don't know yet. I'm going to find out.
The Little Whore from Clavet was so afraid of me that she moved 2 blocks away from Star Trailer Court with her kid and man Blondie. Yes, that's 2 blocks in a city of 2 hundred thousand people. Was the Little Whore from Clavet running surveillance on the Saskatoon Rebels for the Saskatoon Police Department? Yes. Once again, she is so afraid at 2 blocks from Star Trailer Court. Did the Little Whore from Clavet come by my place at Star Trailer Court with my roommate Donny after all this has transpired? Yes. That was a lot to think about for my friends. Did I try to kill the Little Whore from Clavet? No. I'm sure the Clan from Clavet, would. Digest That.
It was quite by coincidence that later that week we planned a bigger get together at another location in Ottawa's Lowertown East. Arrangements were going to be made for the Clan from Clavet to accuse me personally behind the scenes. We would meet again on Friday November 2nd at another location. We met on Friday at another bar / restaurant in Lowertown which Angelo was considering acquiring. The previous owner could not make a go of the location. The new place lacked the character and patrons of Angelo's. Our table of six had the place to ourselves. Business was very slow, and my initial impression was the new place was a bitter lemon. We ordered a few things to eat, and talked about the Little Whore from Clavet. Would the rumor monger show up?
Eventually, a dark haired man entered with a dark complexion. He was pretty much ignored by our table. We went about talking and ordering our beers. Christine was normally at Angelo's serving tables or the bar, but she was serving us that night in the new location. We sat in the center of the room. The lone dark haired man sat on the other side of the room. He ordered alone. He drank alone. I snuck in a look several times, and he looked eerily familiar from Saskatoon. He be Becky's brother from the Rumors? Maybe the Clan from Clavet was moving their drugs and whores to Ottawa? This was just getting better.
No, that was 8 years ago in Saskatoon. I could be wrong. It wasn't until he started mouthing off towards our table with no one else in the place that I knew he was the Clan from Clavet. He was grunting and groaning out his dribble similar to the monkey in Rumors beaten by the bar patrons in Saskatoon. The rest of the table gave him time to show himself as a candy bar with nuts. I think Mike said say something or shut up. Could this be the brother banging the Little Whore from Clavet? The look seems to work. Was Penny right about that?
I wondered to what end the Clan from Clavet would go for The Little Whore from Clavet or for the Clan from Clavet? What could make it worth their while to follow me to Ottawa? I was poor. I was not worth extortion. I wondered just what the ratting raping Clan from Clavet would do? Their accusations were so outlandish it was laughable? What was so important about the Little Whore from Clavet hanging out on 20th Street in Saskatoon with her brothers selling drugs. What? That's rock bottom for Aboriginals selling their women, hookers, and drug dealers working in Saskatoon. Except for winter gear, Saskatoon's 20th street crowd is identical to the Vancouver Downtown East Side crowd.
To what extent was the Clan from Clavet going to go for Becky? Did they actually think there was extortion money for the Little Whore from Clavet? It had never dawned on me that the Clan from Clavet might regularly try to extort money from their daughters "John's". I had to assume that the Saskatoon Police Department also endorsed the extortion for their informants. Suddenly, the lone Clan from Clavet monkey definitely said something about Saskatoon. I though I was going to have to stand up? I was going to get into a fight.
Christine stopped by our table to ask us for help. She said she was going to kick the Clan from Clavet out of the bar. She said, "if there is any trouble she wanted us to help" loudly enough for him to hear. I guess my friends had made their decision about who to believe. I assumed they were supporting me because they were somewhat eager to proceed with the "extraction". Someone suggested face first through the door. Christine went over to the table with all of us watching. When confronted, the Clan from Clavet rat began his slow slithering exit from the premisses. When he walked under the lights, I am quite certain he was leaving with the memory of his last beating at Rumors in Sakatoon. I'm sure that's the Little Whore from Clavet taller, more slender brother. That's the one Penny talked about.
The lone Clan from Clavet from Saskatchewan choose to leave the bar, without air mail damages. He had to continue out the door giving all Aboriginals a bad name by slurring out "This is not over". The monkey couldn't come up with something better than that?
In hindsight, I could easily see the Clan from Clavet doing all of this to hide his incest with his sister. Penny warned me that he had an agenda. In any event, we were all happy to see the ratting, raping Clan from Clavet leave the building. I can still hear the applause. When he left, I told our table, I believed he was from Saskatoon. I told them about his beating at Rumors in Saskatoon. I talked about Becky and Penny. Finally, we called it the night. I walked home to my place above Angelo's.
The next few weeks flew by with University, D & D, and "Cheers" at Angelo's. I quietly gave notice to Angelo at the beginning of December. I would be leaving. Private conversations traveled fast, and soon everyone knew. Later in December, I went to Rhonda's parents in Pembroke ON for Christmas with Mike and Rhonda. I tried to have fun, however I was thinking about making my move to Vancouver. Rhonda's father drove us back to Ottawa on Boxing Day. It was the end of December, and I was restless. I began serious preparations to leave after New Years.
The University of Ottawa was less interesting than the books. I'm not saying education is not the best way to learn many professions. I personally learn best by reading, practice, and repetition. Computer Science can be learned through books and practice with different programing languages. Computer software and hardware were changing by the millisecond, while educational institutions struggled to schedule "relevant" leading edge courses. I would try to teach myself the "leading edge" from this point. I've never sat in a class, again. The enviroment is probably the single most important 'piece' of learning. For example, in the future the hate culture cultivated by extreamists would negatively effect students dropping Isreali students to pitiful world ratings, while even the Muslims among them in the same classes would do markedly better. Hate if you will could lead to developmentally delayed individuals. It was an illness. Isreali hate would be much more than a causal link before the big war. http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4889634,00.html Isreal would littereally effect
People can learn by reading and practicing. Write a "clock" code in 12 programing languages and you will never forget it. The 12th clock will also have at least 12 bells the first lacked. Books are cheap. Inexpensive. Books don't even come on trees anymore. I was tired of being educated. I wanted to live. I wanted to learn instead of being educated. Changes.
I wanted to live. I hate the cold. I just hated Saskatchewan winters. I also hated Ottawa winters. I loved Vancouver BC during Expo 1986 for the sights and sounds. However, the move to Vancouver BC was based on a mild winter. I've had my fill of frozen. Frosty no more . . . If I catch Frosty I would bake him slowly. Imagine a climate where new cars were sold without a engine block heater installed on the engine block? Just imagine that!
I arranged insurance for my Ford Escort, and my car swallowed up my limited blue collar possessions. I was humbled looking at the car full of my worldly possessions. My 2 1/2 years in Ottawa had netted me nothing more than finding my career for the future. I was also able to introduce my friends to the Clan from Clavet, though?
I had the blue collar blues, as I cleaned my bachelor suite. I turned over my keys to Angelo on the 2 nd of January, and I stayed one night with Rhonda and Mike while waiting to pick up my insurance. The next morning, I walked to pick up my plates at the insurance company on January 3nd. I walked back to Angelos's and plated my car. I bought a beer, and said goodbye to Rhonda as she worked behind the bar.
I got in my car and checked the rear view mirror.
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