August 26th, 1955 - April 11th, 2014
About Topher – the
He disliked being called Chris, and preferred
being called Christopher. After one discussion on this I started calling
him, ‘Topher’ about age eight or nine.
It worked between us, though Toperisms (sayings) appeared later
in his life.
For the most part we grew up in the old west end
of Winnipeg, having moved from BC in the late 50s.
Very few people would rent a house to a family with three young
boys so the house at 876 Lipton needed a lot of work, I seem to remember
Dad shovelling the old wallpaper off of the wall. That place quickly
turned into a loving home.
To put a notion of the time, when we lived at 876
Lipton, there was a junkman that used to go up the backlane (horse drawn
cart) trading and swapping,
In the summer there was the vegetable man that likewise was with
a horse drawn wagon up the front street peddling his ware (and yes the
women came out of the houses to buy.
And to put it in perspective, there was the
iceman on a straw covered wagon up the front street, for those that
still had iceboxes. It was a treat in the summer for Christopher and me
to be able to grab a couple of ice chips to suck on
I cannot remember whether we did have an icebox or not.
We were raised with
church on Sunday (Our Grandpa Hayward was a minister) We were taught to
respect people, give up our seat to an elderly, watch our Ps & Qs, and
to mind our manners, and of course, a good work ethic.
In the event we
forgot, we were reminded….
Christopher got away with a lot more being the
baby of the family (the youngest of three boys.
Christopher and I were not only brothers, but best friends being about a
year and a half apart in age. We did most everything together for about
the first 14 years of his life.
It was not unusual for us to put together a lunch
and then bike from the old west end to the zoo at Assiniboine park.
The old Macs
Sherbrook offered three movies for a quarter – it hardly mattered what
they were, mostly westerns, and a theatre of happy screaming kids.
We ten pin bowled at Empress lanes from 9am on Saturdays until noon (a
dollar I think)
Roller Skated at the Saints roller rink.
Biked at Monkey Speedway (Oman’s creek) and tobogganed there in the
winter (yes we were outside both
winter and summer) with hot chocolate and a fat boy after.
We maintained Tribune paper routes from a young age, with Dennis
starting first, bringing in me, and Christopher, so even from a young
age we paid for a lot of our own adventures ourselves.
Some of this went into savings for events such as Christopher and I
putting on an anniversary party for our Mom and Dad. We bought a new
carving set for them at one of these events.
Some of our savings went into buying pennants (little triangular flags)
from each place that we visited during two weeks of holidays that Dad
packed an amazing amount of stuff into.
We learned how to play chess at a young age ( I think Grandpa Hayward
taught us) We were always
fairly easily matched, and could win over most adults after a few years,
three boys, we had our hand in the kitchen as well as in the workshop.
We learned how to use a hunting knife, filet fish, fairly young and
learned how to shoot. We
went from wolf cubs, to boy scouts, to Air Cadets, as was the day
(though Christopher missed out in the latter.
Christopher and I
both swam a lot, passing all Red Cross levels, including receiving the
Bronze Medal (lifeguard level) – He later met Donna while he was a
lifeguard at Miami beach where her family stayed in the summer.
and learned a lot, thanks to our parents, and our own ethic.
about when Christopher hit 14, that a different world opened up. I ended
up, at that time with a grade nine education, and Christopher, a grade
left home when he was 14, myself at 15. It was the late 1960s.
somewhat went our separate ways, I worked up north in the bush a lot,
hooking up with Christopher occasionally, in Winnipeg, and elsewhere.
Though I remember hitchhiking out to Vancouver to look for him when he
was 15 as Mom was worried. Amazingly so I found him, and he was fine.
was the early years.