It was 33 years ago when we moved into our house at 101 Melrose Avenue South. Brian Mulroney was Prime Minister of Canada, the White House was occupied by Ronnie and Nancy, and Bob Morrow was Mayor of Hamilton. David Peterson had just ended 43 years of Conservative rule and was Premier of Ontario. Something called The Internet Mail Access Protocol was developed which opened the way for something called E-Mail. Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta was born on March 28, 1986 at Lenox Hill Hospital in Manhattan, New York City. Today she is known as Lady Gaga. Donald Trump was a young property developer in New York with three small kids aged 6,5 and 2.
We moved to Hamilton from Paris Ontario (named after the plaster of Paris deposits there, by the way, not the French capital) because Kaye had transferred to a job in Hamilton and I was in my fifth year at CHCH. I felt then and I still do that the head of a news operation should try to live in the city they serve. After much looking, we chose Melrose because you could get more house for your money there. I remember thinking why pay a twenty percent premium to live in the same house in Westdale? Our son finished grade 8 at Adelaide Hoodless and went to High School at Scott Park. Years later he would start his teaching career there.
Everything was handy in the neighbourhood. There was Naborhood Home Hardware at the bottom of the street (That’s the way they spell it), Beautiful Gage Park was only steps away, the LCBO and Blockbuster Video two blocks away on Barton, what more could one ask for? Melrose is the street people walk down as they head to the Tiger Cat games, and for years we would park cars in our driveway and sit on the porch listening to the roar of the crowd on those rare occasions in the 1990’s when it was warranted.
In 2016 we held a big bash in our back yard to mark the fact that the house was 100 years old, having been built towards the end of WWI. Melrose at that time would have been the eastern limit of Hamilton. But even then, as we enjoyed one of the last of countless dinners and parties, it was apparent that the day was approaching when we would need to seek smaller quarters with less upkeep and fewer stairs. And so the inevitable happened and late last month we relocated, with some considerable difficulty, to a nice bungalow in the centre mountain neighbourhood known as Birdland. So far so good. The thing I will miss the most about Melrose is the porch. It was fabulous on a rainy night to sit there taking it all in. I hope the new owners enjoy the old pile as much as we did.
Most of the Hamilton legal community and many other friends gathered at the Ancaster Mill last month to raise a glass to the late Ray Harris. Ray passed in early May after a long, tough illness . It was the kind of event that Ray would have liked with humorous remarks and reminiscences about Ray’s legal career, culminating as a Superior Court Justice. But it was mostly about Ray’s infectious sense of humour, zany fun and his love of theatre. Ray Harris was one of a kind. We will miss him as we send our best to his bride Beth.