The other night we were having a drink before dinner, listening to one of Gordon Lightfoot’s first albums –  The way I Feel (1968). I started thinking about Yorkville back in the 60’s, when my best friend, Myron, and I, would visit, usually on a Saturday night.

I met Myron during my first week at my new high school, Delta Seconday, Hamilton, in 1967, grade 11. If you’re wondering why I had a “new” school for grade 11, it’s because I was “eased out” of my first secondary school. We met at the extra-ciricular meeting for the camera club and he and I were the only students to show up. The supervising teacher gave us a box of film, chemicals and paper, and the keys to the darkroom. We didn’t see him for the rest of the year, unless we needed more supplies.

For 2 years, Myron and I had our own high school private office… the darkroom.

Myron was a big guy with a strange sense of humour and very much a rebel. Probably because he had very strict immigrant parents, who I’m pretty sure got out of the Ukraine, USSR. I think that says a lot. So Myron being a rebel, was often experimenting with drugs. And we were allowed to smoke in the darkroom.

He had the job of shooting for the yearbook and I did the school newspaper, but we often switched roles, and we often took our cameras along for our other extra-curricular activities, like Yorkville.

He had an old Ford Econoline “shaggin-wagon” which we would often just drive back and forth through Hamilton at night. From the old A&W drive-in on Queenston Road (yes, the waitresses wore uniforms and put the tray on the car window) to somewhere west of James Street, then back. Oh how I remember those rides up King St. And down Main. Picking up every hippy hitch-hiker, I would be in the passenger seat, reaching back to open the sliding door to load the hippies in. Then the joints would get passed around. This was Hamilton’s first Hippy Shuttle Service, the HHSS. I remember once, we had about 8 hippies sitting on the floor in the van, like sitting around a fire, passing the peach pipe.

Gordon Lightfoot and Joni Mitchell started out in Yorkville in the early 60’s, but that was before my time. Hey, I’m not that old! But Joni was living in New York City in the late 60’s, even during Woodstock. Strange, she was so close but she missed it. She wrote a song about it though.

This child of God (me) was lucky enough to spend a week in NYC in 1968 when Joni was living there with some guy. This was the grade 12 school field trip. And I had my camera.

I’m lucky that I still have some old photo prints, which I recently scanned and include below. It’s often you have nostalgic feelings for the past, but add photos and that trip down memory lane drips with syrup.

And Myron? The drugs eventually caught up to him. A very sad day for me.

[Click on any photo for the slideshow. Please leave comments at the bottom of the page]

Yorkville nightclub 1969

Yorkville 1969

Yorkville 1969

New York City 1968

Hippies – New York City 1968

New York City 1968

my friend in NYC – 1968

New York City 1968

New York City 1968

My friend at Delta High

That’s me with friends

Me at a band rehearsal in Carlisle

My friend at Delta High

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