Friday, February 5, 2016

A New Old Car

Spring 1944  arrived and my father returned home from Alaska. The Canadian base at Ketchican was closed and Dad was posted to the Paymaster Division at Pat Bay.   With this news, we hoped he would remain at Pat Bay for the duration.  Soon after, he bought a car from a soldier who was being shipped overseas.  It was old, very old,  in fact as an eight year old child, I couldn't believe this was the car we were going to be riding in and hoped none of my friends would see us.  Dad had been a car salesman before the war and drove around in the latest car  models, so a 1929 Model A was a shock.  However, with the car we were able to see a lot of the area around Victoria which we had not previously visited, so the car was appreciated. Because gas was rationed, Dad continued to take the bus to Pat Bay.

Colourized picture
My Grandmother when she visited
Victoria in 1943
With our car, we would go to Elk Lake and Beaver Lake to swim and that was a big treat.  Although we lived beside the ocean,  I found learning to swim in salt water was difficult.  At Elk Lake I quickly learned to do the dog paddle and was eager to show off my new skill when I got home.   Soon I was swimming in the ocean as well and spent many hours enjoying the Cordova Bay beach.  

During our days in Cordova Bay my mother would  often take me into Victoria on the bus when she went shopping.  In the bus depot there was a rack of magazines and I spotted a magazine which had black and white funnies as they were called.  I picked it up and looked through it, then pointed it out to my mother.  She didn't buy it,  but I think I saw one of the very early comic books on the market that day. To have an entire magazine of comics was a new idea.  

On leaving the bus depot we walked through the passage which had a kiosk with a curtained booth for taking pictures.  It was cheap and remained a popular concept for quick photos for years afterwards.  The photo shop would also colourize pictures for the customers, they had a clerk who would hand paint the colours as requested.  Beyond the passage way was Spencers Department Store which was later bought by Woodwards.

We had heard of Butchart's Gardens but had not been there,  so one day as we were out driving, we noticed the garden entrance.  My father got out and looked at  the sign, but since there was a 35 cent admission,  we didn't go in.