First August Blog

First August Blog.

So named for Emperor Augustus,
Great Roman leader was he,
Or so we are told, down the Ages,
His Legions roamed far and free.
But under his name, they conquered
Us Brits, among others you see.

The Gauls, the Spaniards, Jerusalem too,
And brought lots of tricks, just for me.
OK, they’re for everyone, Like concrete,
A dormouse, wll maybe two or three,

Underfloor heating in villas,
Took two thousand years, you will see.
The Romans brought engineers over,
For trebouches and war, o’er the sea,
His Legions were bold, though forceful,kj
Stood firm as heroes can be,
We did not appreciate being conquered,
But gained knowledge through our history.

Copyright Evelyn J. Steward. August, 2016

Picture a sunny August in 1964! No? Well, it is a long time ago, and some of you might not have been born then. So, perhaps, picture lif you will, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, on a sunny Friday, at that time. Long before the Internet. Long before computers held sway! I am old, I can remember because I was there.

Now this is not about Toronto. It isn’t even about Canada. THIS, my friends is about. NEW YORK, NEW YORK,…….IT’S A WINDERFUL TOWN, or so the song goes.

My dear friend Patricia, the friend she was sharing a place with at the time, amd myself packing the car to driven approx. 600 miles on a Friday night, through the night, down to New York. My friends took food too.. Cheaper than eating out.

So, we set off, dropping my friend’s dog at her parent’s house. Then beginning the long journey to Niagara, our Border Crossing point. It is quite a way. Pat and I occupied the back seat of the car., piled with all kinds of necessary things, and comfortable cushioning. At the border, there was banter with the guards when they realised (by checking my passport) it was close to my birth date. But, all was well, we were allowed in. I had already had my passport stamped with a visa before I left England (queuing up at the American Embassy in London for a couple of hours).

The sky grew dark as night fell, my friend’s friend dtove alll the way, through The Catskill Mountains, and this is where it began to rain. And rain. And rain. Being so dark and with pelting rain, no chance to ibserve any scenary, which was a pity, in my estimation.

The thing with Interstates over there is, there seemed to be be no stops for personal hygene. We had such a laugh when a paper cup was used to collect liquid, the contents thrown through an open windiw at speed: then again, refilled. I never learned how to stop and start ( until pregnancy occured at some future time) and have that kind of control on my bladder. So holding my liquer was imperative until finally, we pulled up at a bustling stopping place, where it appeared that everyone driving this road paid a visit at the same time. Chock full, I might add, confirming my thoughts on how few conveniences that Interstate featured.

We drove on a short way further, then turned to what we in England would call a. Lay-by so that the driver could have an hour of sleep. It was about six a.m. We had left the rain behind, though there was light cloud around, but it was about 6 a.m. Or so.

Finally we moved on, driving across one of the long bridges over into outer New York. I suppose we traversed places like Queens or Brooklin until, we arrived in Manhattan.

Our first thought was an overnight hotel. We had chosen a time when New York was hosting the Worlds Fair. Everywhere was packed. So many people visiting thus great city. However, we managed to get a suite on the 12th floor of one hotel. The air was humid and very hot. Vafter settling ourselves, we were off to see a few sights. Shopping, and that was in Maces. Bought a swimming costume, i cannot remember what else. We wandered around then went back to the hotel to sleep. I found that hard as, at this time, I was suffering from a very bad chest infection. So, I sat by an open window, gazing at New York, seeing in the distance, the tallest building of the time, The Empire State.

The girls slept until around seven thirty. They went swimming in the hotel’s underground pool. I did not feel well enough to go with them so stayed watching the city slowly go into night mode.

Refreshed, my friends came back,we ate some food then off we went to the subway and to Greenage Village. Lots of bars, cops with guns and the odd police dog on each corner. We found a German bar where there were trestle tables and great steins of beer and a Germam Umpah band. Everyone sang along to the music, raising their steins in rhythm. Great fun!

I think we hit almist daylight just before four a.m. Sunday morning, making our way back to the hotel, picking up milk from a small bar nearby. Tired, we fell aslerp until around ten a.m., packing the car and heading for Broadway, and breakfast in one if the bars where we were waited on by, of all people, a Scots woman. Broadway wa totally littered with paper from all the theaters around, breezes blowing paper down and in the air.

Something was wring with the car so we had to find a garage. This done, we started the homeward drive. I do remember all these dars around us. On the Interstate, and all going at 90 MPH. Somewhat frightening,when changing lanes at that speed. The sun was getting lower in the sky, it shine in our faces as we were travelling west, up to our borde crossing, not Niagara this time. I guess it was around ten p.m. when we arrived back in Toronto. A longer visit had bern planned but the girls could not get the time off work.

It was a great time, a comical journey in parts, wonderful sights. Certainly very memorable.

Thank you fobr reading my memoir. Be safe out there.


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