Roach, raised in Walkerville, wrote for The Windsor Star for 43
years. He is the author of two books on local history, All Our Memories,
and All Our Memories 2.
here to read Swimming in the Detroit River
The Jargon Jungle
Education Begins in Walkerville
Lazy, Hazy Days of Summer
Assumption College: Class of
Springtime on the Detroit
All About Kids and the Snow
Give Me a Dime to Spend...on Wyandotte
in the 1930s
The Essence of Boyhood
Poetry, Pigeons and Pugilists
Girls of Grace Hospital
A Christmas Story
Chocolate Malts & BBQ's
Sunday in Detroit
A Visit With Grey Owl (at King Edward School)
The Last Ferry
Alleys of My Youth
Of Boys and a Bridge
The Lake Erie, Essex and Detroit Railway
Lowe Tech: Knuckle Sandwich
in the Detroit River
along the wood log just above the Detroit River past the NO TRESPASSING
sign to the ferry dock. Keep out of sight of the customs men. Slip
onto the stern of the tubby grey Wayne or Halcyon.
it out a few hundred yards.
told you kids I'll call the cops if you don't cut that out!" roars
a furious deck hand.
out! He's got the fire hose! Jump!"
to the twin boathouses at the foot of Hall Avenue. Walk back along
the cinder strewn CNR tracks to the Walkerville Ferry at the foot
of Devonshire Road.
Dennis Harris "deep-sea diver" earn 50 cents for each automobile
wheel he retrieves from the river bottom after a truck crashes
into the dock.
unwritten law compels the older teenaged boys to throw any ten-year-old
in sight into eight feet of water at the end of the Walkerville
it out, you apes! I can't swim!"
you struggle back to shore. They never lost a youngster off the
sewer but a boy was lost in the weeds between the ferry dock and
Beard's Boathouse. That summer we watch in horrified silence as
the Walkerville Fire Dept. carries his body away. Stories circulate
of the boy who had been chopped to bits by the propeller of the
old Essex ferry.
jobs. Nothing else to do.
brown boys lying around in the sun. Long, lazy summer days punctuated
by hobos arriving in empty boxcars. Terminated by five deep-throated
blasts of the distillery horn and the whistle's piercing scream
from the Parke Davis Company at the foot of Walker Road.
for the swimming boys to go home for dinner.