Digs: One or More Things My Dad’s Mother Taught Me

She was often talking about being short of money and had me rolling coins in the back of her Transcona store when I was about 11-12. But a more memorable lesson was at her house on Banning Street in Winnipeg when she had me check in her big floppy couches for change men visitors might have lost to their subterranean depths. She didn’t warn me about nails and sharp edges and the like so if you ever try this on your own, go very slowly. Was it a profitable exercise? Financially–for a poor boy–I can recall retrieving several coins in the process.

Yes, Lou was an interesting lady and scared the pre-school pants off me one day in the Bay basement lunchette (early 1950s) when she went through her purse wondering if she had enough to pay the 20 cent or so bill of ours. It was a little nerve-wracking as she pulled out pennies and nickels, tediously working her way toward the necessary amount. I got really nervous when she said that if she was short, we would likely have to work in the kitchen washing dishes. I don’t think I took a full breath till the waitress collected enough for the bill! She was a wild lady with a wicked sense of humor who was not above scaring her own grandchild as a ‘big’ joke.

ps/Later she would have me working at age 5 washing dishes in her Portage Avenue/Thompson Drive corner lunchette, neglecting to caution me about sharp edges, and so I cut my hands on a knife. (Child labor leading to potentially serious injury.) Overall, she was a scary, dangerous woman who also lost my dog when my family left it with her when I was 14 to go to the beach. She had absolutely no idea what happened to Scamp; it didn’t seem to matter to her at all. She was just bad news: “The lady that’s known as Lou.”

Grandson at funeral

eighteen years
& standing
by the graveside
watching grandma
go into the ground

can’t see her now
her orange hair
& wrinkled face
hidden by the casket

others hang around–
relatives, a few friends
& paid mourners
all pretending to
feel sorry for her

not knowing how
she’d rather have
boogied all night long

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply