Welland History .ca

The TALES you probably never heard about

MEMORIES OF WELLAND by E.R. YATSCOFF

[August, 2017]

I was born in the Welland Hospital and have two sisters, Elaine and Brenda, and a brother Fred. We lived on Deere St. with our parents Lorraine (from Saskatchewan) and Andrew (born in Detroit). Andrew worked at the Page Hersey as a welder for almost 40 years. My grandfather George lived on Harriet street after his rum-running days were over in Windsor/Detroit area. My father’s sister, Rose, told me about the gypsies which used to pass through Welland occasionally. When she got up early on the farm, just west of Eastdale high, to do her chores, now and then off things would occur. The eggs were gone and the cows had already been milked. She said the neighbors also had the same problem. Then someone spotted a gypsy encampment outside  of town. The men got on their horses and rousted the camp, running the gypsies far out of town. My father’s brother, George, owned the grocery store next to the Tastee Freez on Ontario Road. They moved away to Stratford.

I learned to swim at the Memorial Park pool and then moved on to the old canal and the rock quarries and beaches around Port Colborne. I remember almost drowning at Nickel Beach and also the big flour mill fire out near the Pt Colborne pier

My elementary school was the now non-existent St Peter and Paul school. Some nuns could be very strict and mean but there was a piano in every room and they taught us to sing every day. We also used to clean the school yard of litter a few times a year. The school boundaries would change often so I went to Centennial Secondary, Eastdale, Welland High School and a stint at Niagara College.

As teens, my pals and I  would chase girls down at Long Beach and Niagara Falls. The drinking age in Ontario was 21 so we’d all pile in cars and go ‘over the river’ to Buffalo. where the age was 18. Bars there were a lot of fun, much looser than the uptight Ontario. I worked at Dominion and A&P stores in Welland, Niagara Falls and Dunnville.

I left town for traveling in 1973, returning in 1975 for a few months and worked at Stelco in Hamilton before leaving again for good.

In my middle grade books on Welland, I string together real characters and incidents Wellanders can enjoy too. The stories bring back memories and their kids seem to be interested in what life was like back then, too.

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