Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Back When...

This story was posted here on Pilgrim Scribblings 14 years ago.

As I've been reminiscing a lot in my advanced years (???) I thought I'd repost it.

It was fun...back when. 

Here, then, are my fond memories of my hometown, Peterborough, Ontario and my special neighborhood in East City:

Over the years, when asked where I'm from, I've proudly stated that Peterborough, Ontario is my hometown. 

Yes, Peterborough is a special place for the Fisher family. Grandma and Grandpa Fisher immigrated from England in 1923 just after dad was born. Grandpa had come to Canada in 1907 but returned to England, married and began a family. Ashburnham, or East City, became "home" for the Fishers and continues to be so for some of us.

My mother, Jean Fisher, still resides in the same home the family built in the mid 40's and Uncle Bill and Aunt Shirley have lived in their home on St. Lukes Street for as long as I can remember. My earliest memories center around our family, my grandparents, aunts,uncles and cousins. Fisher Gauge was founded by Uncle Bill 60 years ago and "the shop" as we fondly called it was right across the road from our grandparent's home on Sophia Street. The entire family lived within a block of grandma's house. I never dreamed that my cousin Howard, who lived next door, would become such a talented and hilarious musician, Washboard Hank.

All of us, including Aunt Eileen, Uncle Bill, UncleFrank and dad attended King George School, a short walk up the hill. Dad and I even had the same kindergarten teacher. Much of our summer vacation was spent at grandpa's "lot", a piece of land on Lansdowne Street West where Holy Cross School now sits. We enjoyed rides in the trailer, pulled by grandpa's Massey Harris Pony tractor. We had picnics, harvested strawberries, went on hikes and learned to drive the tractor. We'd often spend a hot, summer afternoon at the Lion's Pool on Burnham Street but usually we'd cool off in the Trent Canal, only a few steps from our home. That same canal became a great hockey rink every winter.

Our allowance could be quickly spent on goodies at the Liftlock Candy Shop or an ice cream cone at Irwin's Drug Store (now Sullivans). Once a month we'd visit Jackson's Barber Shop until Cliff Jackson retired and Marty Martignetti set up shop. Many a summer evening was spent at East City Bowl watching the Lakefield Charltons play Georgie's Refreshments in a great softball rivalry. Our neighbourhood was the best! The kids did everything together. We had four natural boundaries, the Marble Works to the west, the Trent Canal on the east, the CPR tracks to the north and Little Lake on the south. Within those borders lived our "gang". The Groombridges, the Jackmans, the Stewarts, the Gooleys, the Joneses, the Shannons, the Wawrykows, the Hollings and, of course, the Fishers. Others would move in for awhile but the "gang" lived there forever it seemed.

Once a week mom hosted a Good News Club where kids would come after school to sing, have Bible quizzes and stories and get a homemade cookie. Many former attendees have expressed thanks to mom for the spiritual foundation laid during those formative years. One of those boys, Don Nicholson, who was one of my best friends, went on to become the minister at Edmison Heights Baptist Church. Our church, McDonnel Street Gospel Hall, was located where the police station now stands. In those days we attended church "twice on Sunday and once in the middle of the week". How I wish I could go back to that old church where I learned so many positive Christian values that would shape my life! We'd venture away from East City to attend hockey games in old (and cold) Civic Arena. As a teenager I attended Petes' games at the Memorial Centre on Thursday nights.

My most embarrassing recollection is the night the community honoured Wayne Connelly, one of the finest juniors ever to play here. Many businesses presented him with special gifts of lasting value. This young fan wrapped up a cheap tie from Kresge's and gave it to him. For seven long years I lived in Toronto but in 1994 we returned "home" to the Peterborough area. We live in Cavan but each morning I drive into Peterborough to grandma's house. We lived in the attic of grandma's house for six months after I was born and now, 59 years later, my office is there. Home again!

Yes, I have many fond memories of Peterborough, a very Special Place!

Note: This story was entered in a writing contest sponsored by our local paper, The Peterborough Examiner. It did not win first prize but it was published at least. - David W. Fisher

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

WANTED - Volunteers

Today I received the following e-mail from a follower of Jesus with a deep social conscience, Christian Harvey

Being involved on a daily basis with the homeless and marginalized segment of our population, I'm encouraged when I see young men like Christian Harvey taking these lifechanging initiatives. 

Please prayerfully consider how you might get involved. THANK YOU! - David

Dear Church Leaders:

Winter is coming!! Not right away, but it will hit us before we know it. For some in our city this causes a life threatening problem, they have nowhere to sleep. Our 1 men’s shelter, 2 women’s shelter and 1 youth shelter understandably cannot meet all the many and complicated needs that arise. Each year people have fallen through the gaps and a rushed, piecemeal effort is thrown together, often well after winter is started to try and keep people safe and warm.

I have been working in conjunction with the City, Health Unit, Canadian Mental Health and other community advocates, and this year we are trying to do better. We are hoping to have a warming room open every night from 5pm-8am, November-March.

In order for this to happen we need many volunteers. Our goal is to have 8 volunteers every night: four would be on for a shift from 5pm-12am and four from 12am-8am. Ideally, if someone were to volunteer they would take one shift every 2 weeks. This means they would be committing to 11 shifts over the roughly 22 weeks we would be open. In order for this to become a reality we will need roughly 110 volunteers. This is where you, our church leaders, come in. Our churches are full of potential volunteers. People who long to make a difference but don’t know where to start. This is that start.

Please help us make this happen by doing one or all of the following:

• Volunteer yourself. Having our faith leaders present would be hugely influential.
• Advertise in your church. Actively seek out those in your congregation who may be open to such an adventure.
• As a church sponsor one night every two weeks. How does this work? You are saying, for example, that every other Tuesday night is your night. You are committing that you will be responsible for finding the volunteers to run that night.

We are hoping to have volunteer training sessions happening in the month of October so that volunteers will feel equipped to deal with issues that may arise as a result of mental health or addiction.

If you are interested in volunteering or have any questions about this program please call me at 705-768-6050 or email Lets see if this year we can make sure no one is left in the cold.

Christian Harvey
Outreach Worker, St. John's Anglican Church