The other night we were having a drink before dinner, listening to one of Gordon Lightfootâs first albums âÂ The way I Feel (1968). I started thinking about Yorkville back in the 60âs, 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 youâre wondering why I had a ânewâ school for grade 11, itâs because I was âeased outâ 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 didnât 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 Iâm 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 âshaggin-wagonâ 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 Hamiltonâs 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 60âs, but that was before my time. Hey, Iâm not that old! But Joni was living in New York City in the late 60âs, 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.
Iâm lucky that I still have some old photo prints, which I recently scanned and include below. Itâs 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]