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Celebrity Memories

On Childhood

by Wayne Stevens

Windsor radio personality Wayne Stevens remembers when big Dominic kicked a soccer ball into his face

from Issue # 19

When Elaine Weeks from this august publication called, I was surprised that she was interested in some of my memories from childhood. I don’t think that my Windsor childhood was any different from anyone else’s, but when someone asks the question, you do find your mind wandering back to those long-ago days.

I grew up on Moy Avenue, not quite Walkerville, but close enough to FEEL like a Walkerville resident. When I thought of childhood, I immediately had a series of flashbacks: kids I remember, the alley between Moy and Hall, which was not an alley to us. The alley was our Olympia for hockey games, our Briggs Stadium for baseball, it was an Arizona plain for cowboys and Indians and even a cricket field for our version of that sport.

Childhood, of course, has different phases. There is very early childhood — you know, sand boxes and little tin trucks and cars. Christmas is a big memory. I recall a remote-controlled red transport truck that Santa brought one year. Red truck, yellow trailer — it’s spooky how clear that image is!! I played a lot with that truck in those pre-school years.

Then there is the phase of school years. I started in grade one (nobody went to kindergarten back then) at DeLaSalle School — it was torn down after I left, although I take no responsibility for that — and is now DeSantis School.

I recall the nuns and the Christian Brothers as well as ALL of my teachers. Teachers in elementary school have a big effect on a child and you never really forget them. Most of all I recall DeLaSalle as being FUN. We kids played hard at recess and before school in the morning. We played soccer with a half-inflated soccer ball. I still remember the day Dominic (a BIG kid) kicked it at me hitting me square in the face. That was as close to being knocked out (or DEAD) as I have ever come.

Dominic is someone I continue to see once a decade now and we’re still friends. I recall too, times we kids didn’t understand. Like when the bell would ring an odd ring and we were marched row by row downstairs to stand quietly. This was the civil defence drill we were told. I guess if the Russians or whoever were going to bomb, us, the basement of DeLaSalle was the place to be to survive it.

Away from school I remember Ottawa Street. My Mom would take my siblings and I shopping "up on Ottawa" all the time. Grays, Brotherhood, Marvin’s (still there!!) and a ladies’ shop called Browns with the lady with the "high-hair" and a pencil stuck in it, who waited on my Mom. Woolworths, the Harmony Grill where we went after Cub meetings at Sacred Heart Church. We went there to be cool and drink Cokes.

Ottawa Street still is cool, but not as cool as back then.

I recall going downtown on the Erie bus for seven cents and hanging around in Smiths and the Metropolitan store (before the explosion — God, 10 people killed).

It was a maturing thing to go by yourself those Saturdays to the Palace or Vanity to see a movie, a cartoon and then another movie — all for a quarter!!

In grade 7 or 8 I recall discovering RADIO —Dave Shafer on CKLW and Bud Davies and Joe Van and all the rest. That’s when I decided what I wanted to be when I grew up. And then, I grew up.

Now 32 years after starting in radio — 32 years after Walkerville Collegiate and all that preceded it, it IS fun to look back at being a kid in Windsor.

Wayne Stevens is from 580 Memories CKWW and AM 800 CKLW.



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