In 1953, we left our one-bedroom basement apartment on 7th Street in Toronto to live in the small town of Tottenham, Ontario. We moved into a three-bedroom flat above a hardware store. There was no central heat or hot water, but I thought it was a palace, compared to the tiny apartment we had left. The centre of activity was the huge kitchen, where a massive Finlay wood stove kept us warm in the winter months. Pale green cabinets sprawled along the opposite wall. They came to an end at the four-burner Frigidaire range. Every week, my mother would get down on her hands and knees and apply a coat of Johnson’s paste wax onto the green-and-white checkered linoleum floor. When we arrived home from school, my brother Stephen and I would delight in wrapping old rags on our feet and “skate” all over the floor, bringing it to a glossy sheen. This was my mother’s Tom Sawyer act, and it worked every time. I have fond childhood memories of this time. [Free Membership required to read more. See below. ]
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