Sunday, 21 June 2015

Reminiscences of a Military Brat - Part 9 - A Move to Ottawa, just a waystation

In my last post, I talked about my time in Lahr, Germany. I finished Grade 10 there and in the summer of 1971, it was time for the Dumoulin clan to return to Canada. My Dad was transferred this time to our Air Force base at Uplands, Ottawa, Canada, in the nation's capital. We flew back to Trenton while our furniture from Lahr returned by sea and our other furniture, which had been in long term storage for the past three years, also was shipped to us from Chatham, NB. Volksie, my dad's car, also came over by sea and I think was shipped directly to Ottawa.

Ottawa turned out to be a relatively brief way-station on my Dad's military career. We stayed just one year and were then moving up the highway to where it had all begun, North Bay, Ontario. That's the subject of my next entry. I don't have many memories of Ottawa. We lived on base at Uplands, on Sampson Drive, in an end-unit, three bedroom row house. Dad added a nice picket fence to spruce the place up. It was a nice area, as I recall, woods all around, shielding us from the main highway. Nearby was a Drive-in theatre.  I do remember spending some evenings, when we didn't actually pay to go to the drive - in, sitting outside the fence and watching the movie, catching the odd word from some of the speakers attached to the car windows, until the black flies got too bad to stand and I would head back home.

John went to school on the base as there was still an elementary school there. Because I was in high school, I was bused downtown to one of the Ottawa High schools. There were a few to choose from, so not all the military brats went to the same school. I went to Brookfield High School, the closest high school to the base. From my perspective, it was huge. I had never attended such a big school. I think Lahr Senior School had about 300 kids and Brookfield had somewhere over 2,000. Needless to say, I did find it somewhat overwhelming. The nice thing was the variety of courses I could take. I liked languages, continued with German and French. They didn't have Latin, which I had taken in Germany, but they did have Spanish, so I had my first year of Spanish there. I dropped Geography and History like hot potatoes, as I had never enjoyed them, instead taking an Intro to Law course. And then the other basics, Physics, Math, English... I did enjoy the PE program, learning rugby for the first time and they even had a rowing facility down the road at Dow's Lake, which was fun. But other than that, my memories of Brookfield are minimal.

My mom was also working at this time, she found herself a job at the Post Office just down the road from Brookfield. She had worked at the Post Office in Chatham when we were there and I know she enjoyed working again. There was no Base Theatre at Uplands, but Dad worked at the hockey rink, I'm pretty sure.

I didn't continue with Air Cadets, mainly due to laziness. I think the Squadron was downtown and I didn't want to be busing over the city at night, once I'd returned home. I did continue with curling, there was a small Teen league on the base and we had lots of fun. I fondly remember our overnight funspiel we had one weekend, starting at midnight and finishing at 8 Saturday morning. That was a blast! One of the neat things about the Teen curling was that it was run by Earl Morris, who has most recently made such a name for himself coaching a number of Canada's best curling teams. Hey, maybe we had a positive influence on him. :)

I had good times hanging around with my friends Bart Munn and Brian Wolstenholme, over at their homes, listening to music; my introductions to The Magical Mystery Tour and Rick Wakeman's Six Wives of Henry VIII. I did get to see my first professional baseball game while we were in Ottawa. Dad took me to Montreal to watch the Montreal Expos play against the Cincinnati Reds. Steve Renko started for the Expos and I got to see Johnny Bench, Joe Morgan, the Expos future; Ken Singleton and others. The Expos lost 13 - 3, but it was a fun afternoon; I loved it. I did go to one other game, my cousin Denis Dumoulin, took me on the bus to Montreal. There was supposed to be a double-header against the Mets; with Tom Seaver and Jerry Koosman starting for the Mets. Unfortunately, it got rained out.

It was nice to be close to our relatives, my dad's brother Rene lived in Ottawa, so we did visit a few times with them.

But once again, we were on the road after a year; this time to my mom and dad's ultimate retirement location, North Bay, Ontario. My dad's military career finished there and I kind of got mine started.

More next time.

One last thing to say and that is Happy Father's Day, Dad! Thanks so much for everything!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts with Thumbnails