This is a picture of Steveston today
I have so many things to say, so I'd better get going. I will probably break this segment up because I have a lot of information on my early childhood.
My Home Page and Blog Organization Here
Village of Steveston Here
My Early Childhood Right Here....
I was born in the City of Vancouver on February 5, 1949 at St. Vincents Hospital. My mother says I was an easy birth; I just popped out she says. I have a sister named Connie and she is just a bit older than me. Well, my early days were spent in the village of Steveston, which is located on the southwest corner of the Richmond Delta, a flat, fertile piece of land formed from the sediment of the Fraser River. It was a fishing community, a mixture of various European peoples and many Japanese. We lived in a small house right on Steveston Highway. The Steves, the people for whom the village was named after lived just down the street next to the dyke in a big house. Mrs. Steves was also my Cubs leader or 'Akela' " We'll dib, dib, dib, and we'll dob, dob, dob " ( do our best ). Ha ha ha. I just remembered that right now. I remember one time when she accidentally slammed a car door on my finger and a bunch of puss came pouring out. The King family lived in another larger house right across the street. Mrs. King was having so many children it was hard to keep track of them all. Bert, her husband became manager of the Coca Cola Company in Vancouver. I remember when they got a fancy new Ford in their driveway. I was friends with some of the kids and I got free drinks that Bert would bring home from work. I remember one time the whole family left for a trip back to Ontario. I could only dream of such a thing happening to me - going on a trip to a far away place.
This is a picture of the King's house today. Our little house across the street was torn down long ago. The big ditch is gone and so are the big fields I used to play in. It is all just houses and pavement now.
My father was a fisherman and also sold real estate too. Later on he would be first mate on a packer and sailed extensively up the B.C. coast. He knows every nook and cranny of the B.C. coast line and is also very knowledgeable about history and the lives of important political and business people. He taught himself by reading and holds very strong opinions about certain things. He was a very proud veteran of World War Two and was President of the local veterans club. He also drank a lot of beer and spent much time in the beer parlour. My sister and I called him 'pops' and we were always going down to the beer parlour to get money off of him. He would also talk later about serving with the 'Yanks' up in Alaska. My mother was a housewife; she got involved in a lot of practical things and sometimes got into arguments with my father about certain things. I remember her smashing dishes she got so mad sometimes.
I was a very happy young child and I spent most of my time fishing down at the docks or just wandering around by the dyke and exploring the tidal marsh lands. I loved watching the ducks and geese fly over. The sound of geese honking is a special sound and their formations and order impressed me. One of my hobbies was collecting empty shot gun shells that the hunters left behind after shooting ducks and geese. I liked to walk along the dyke and just check for mallard ducks and pheasants and anything else that ran in front of me. It was pleasant walking in the rain and watching the ducks swimming in the big ditch next to the dyke. I also walked in the wide open farm fields looking for birds and watching pheasants scurrying off quickly. In the winter the fields would freeze over and we went ice skating.
We had a garden in the back yard and my mother was always growing things. We had a clothes line, a big metal stove in the kitchen, a phone that you had to crank to work and a coal shed as well. I remember we had a washing machine with a ringer on it and a scrub board for cleaning clothes. Our milk was delivered by a milk man driving a van. We also had a garage in the back that bordered on a lane. I remember when my mother was learning how to drive. It was a standard vehicle with the gear handle on the steering wheel. She backed right up and crashed into the wall of the garage.
A big ditch surrounded our house and it was filled with frogs and also muskrat which I trapped one time. I used to dig up worms from the back yard and just spend all of my time fishing down at the docks where the gillnetters and seiners were tied up. I always walked, back and forth. I remember walking along the dyke from cannery to cannery and checking things out. It was neat to watch the gillnetters and seiners being unloaded and walking inside the canneries and watching the Japanese ladies cutting up the fresh salmon.
I caught mostly bullheads and chub. The best time to fish was in the evening when the tide was coming in because the fish got progressively bigger the higher the tide became. Sometimes I took an empty pail with me to put my live chub in. I brought the fish home and built a little lake for them to swim around in. It was fun having your own fish right in the back yard. They lasted a while and then they died of course.
I remember taking trips to downtown Vancouver. We had to walk all the way to Railway Avenue where we caught the tram. The station was named Branscombe, if i recall. I remember sitting on the very hard straw seats. Downtown Vancouver was always exciting. We used to line up at the White Lunch which was self serve. And, we always seemed to go to the Woodwards Department store too. One of the things I remember was the lights at the main intersections. Georgia and Granville, for example had lights that allowed you to walk kitty corner. In fact, all the car traffic was stopped while pedestrians had the complete right of way.
It was fun when we had a car too. Going to the drive in movies was always a treat. Hooking the speakers on the windows was neat and I always liked the cartoons. And, going to get popcorn during the intermission was a big deal. The many trips to the beaches were great too. We went to all of them, the ones in Stanley Park and Jericho and Spanish Banks. And, it seems like we spent a lot of time at the beaches by the Fraser River as well. I was always swimming under water with my eyes wide open, in the river or in the ocean....But, not all is fun and games when it comes to living near the water either. When I was very young, under five years old, I recall an incident when we are at a beach on the southern shore of the Delta and I was swimming alone. I waded into the water and fell down a drop off. I was literally drowning, I was spinning over and over and I remember that right now as vividly as it occurred then...and at the last instance before I completely drowned, I was saved...
Significant Events in 1949:
Carl Baydala is born on February 5, 1949 at Vancouver, B.C. Canada
See Here for a complete list of events in 1949:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1949
Copyright: Carl Baydala 2006