in 1959 or so my younger brothers and sisters and I built the first condominium ever! Some of our friends and other neighborhood kids helped. At least it was the first condo complex in our small town, I am sure. The summers were long and luxurious and we filled our days and evenings with so many adventures, too many to mention now but let me tell you about the first condominium in Antigonish, Nova Scotia….
The tree house of that season (we built dozens over the years) had been completed about 2 weeks before. We had all taken turns sleeping in it until the afternoon my little sister fell right out onto the hard ground and smashed her pretty little face rather badly. That put a stop to our camping out in the tree house. When one of us had run into the house to announce to our already overworked and somewhat frazzled mom that Beth fell out of the tree and couldn’t talk to us, her first response was to pray urgently (that was how this recurring expression was explained to us good little catholic children back then), “Jesus, Mary and Joseph!” We knew this meant serious business and scattered out of the path of the storm as she raced to rescue her baby girl. Thankfully, my dear little sister was fine within a short period of time and to this day, she remains “The Pretty One” when referenced to the Brasset girls.
So it was this historic event in our household that gave us a big STOP in tree construction for the rest of that summer. I believe it was my younger brother Jimmy who came up with our new plan and so the condominium was sketched and planned and constructed soon after. We did not choose “condo” as a name for our invention but rather called it our multi-storied luxury home. It was a simple but brilliant design and as soon as the place was completed (in the safety of our back porch), plans were made for our first house-warming party; that is, we fought for about 4 hours about who would sleep where. Naturally everyone wanted the top story because of the view (of our neighbor’s rhubarb patch) and one darling neighborhood child/friend/cousin won out. Myra often did win, I recall now. Anyway Mom and Dad were more than happy to let us occupy our elegant home that night. Children began arriving at dusk and by nightfall there were enough pillows, blankets, snacks, flashlights, (oh the electric was yet to be done) and comic books to devour to feed and clothe a battalion of soldiers.
Mom and Dad and our older siblings seemed quite proud of us and were chuckling as they said their good nights and closed the kitchen door for the night. (our doors were never ever locked; in fact, we did not own a key except for our car and the post box).
It was exciting and another wondrous adventure for the Brasset kids and their few chosen friends and we laughed and giggled long into the night. We had trap doors separating one floor from the next and we passed coded notes to each other in our childish excitement. We snuggled as the summer cold evening air crept into our new digs. It took us awhile but we did fall into a sweet sleep at about 1 am. All was quiet on the Brasset porch until about 3am when Myra, our Penthouse tenant came crashing through her suite and toppled onto the next floor’s residents of which I was one. With all our combined weight, it was only a matter of seconds before that floor caved in and the multiplied bunch of kids broke through the final two floors almost suffocating the lower class tenants on the ground floor. There were no tears since we had somehow managed to bring our blankets and pillows with us and we were soon a mess of jumbled laughing children. It would seem that somehow we did not disturb the sleeping household so we just rearranged ourselves and all crowded together on the ground floor, we finished out the night. It was one of the best sleep-overs I have ever attended and a sweet memory to this day.
Kids today………….they don’t know what they are missing!