When I was nine years old and my folks had been divorced for a few years, my mother and I lived in an old apartment building on Gatineau street in the Cote-des-Neiges district of Montreal.
The landlady at the time was a Miss Pompadour, a stout French woman from Marseilles, who occupied a huge apartment with a large stone terrace.
Miss Pompadour had taken a shine to my mother and me, and we occasionally would go down to her place for pâtisseries and the like, which I enjoyed immensely.
As a rather curious child, I had a tendency to wander around the flat she lived in, and on one occasion while no one was looking I decided to help myself to some iced tea in a glass bottle left on the kitchen counter. Sadly, once I took a big swig and instantly realized that I had a mouthful of potato fat instead, and ran to my mother gagging. It was many years until I had a real iced tea after that.
At this time, over on Bellechasse Street in Montreal’s east side, my father was living in a modest studio apartment due to the weight of legal fees and alimony payments.
For some reason that I can’t quite remember, he didn’t have a TV or even a radio.
Somewhat anti-social by nature and not the greatest fan of french-Canadians, although he was one - he didn’t frequent local taverns which of course had TV sets even back then and especially for hockey games.
In light of this, I took it upon myself to write the results of the Montreal Canadiens Saturday night hockey games in some detail for him - who scored, in which period, what penalties were handed out, etc. - using my very best handwriting.
Then I would give it to my mother, who would mail it the following Monday. Of course, my father received this a few days later, already knowing all the details of the game from the newspapers, both French and English, that he read every day of his life.
Or so I should have thought.
At that age then that never dawned on me and I continued doing it religiously for a whole season.
It was only many years later that he revealed something to me.
Back when I was writing those reports, he would avoid reading the sports pages in those newspapers, so he could read my handwritten game report and not spoil it and how much it had meant to him through the very lonely times he was going through.
Excerpt from my upcoming e-book... Recollections from my time on earth - snackable short stories. ______________________________________________________________