Condo Living in 1959 Antigonish

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!

Myra and I in Antigonish 2011

Roughing it Senior Style

When I speak of camping out one should remember that I am over 60 years of age and so what a 15 year old, a 25 year old or even a 40 year old considers camping may vary greatly. When I was a young girl of about 12 years, I remember vividly going out camping. It was one of my favourite things to do as a child. The first time, it was a church camp. I would estimate there were about 50 or so girls at our campground and we were to stay there for a week. I was filled with excited anticipation. My first solo experience without mom or dad or my big sister or brothers. What I hadn’t counted on; however, was that my parents meant all along but only revealed to me the day before, that I was to bring my 2 little sisters and I had the responsibility of being in charge of them. Oh well, how hard would that be, I figured and so we set out for the campgrounds at some beach not too far from home. Dad and Mom dropped us off and we scampered to sign up. Naturally I was assigned to bunk in the same tent as my two little sisters, my younger cousin (you guessed it, she was under my wing too) and 2 or 3 other young girls. We had a lovely large tent and went about making it homey by placing our sleeping bags close to each other, stowing our little flashlights under our pillows and places our few articles of clothes in a neat pile nearby. We were all happy and filled with giggling. Before long a loud whistle summoned us outside to make a circle around the main area which would later act as our large nightly bonfire. Instructions were given and details ironed out as to strict rules and so on but the one item that caught my attention is that every morning we would be inspected and judged for the prettiest tent area using our own imaginations. I was agog with ideas but we had very little to work with. It seemed other young girls had been to this camp before and so they happened to have the cutest little tidbits to decorate. I was only momentarily distressed so I rummaged around for my chance to show up those richer non Catholic girls (did I mention Protestants were invited too? we were such a welcoming church family…????) On the second last day our tent won hands down. Mind you we had no toothpaste left for the last 2 days since that was our “icing” that created cute little symbols and icons showing that we were the First Class Wilderness Girls of the Camp. Those were the days.

 

 

Today my idea of camping is arriving at an RV Resort in our rather posh Class A Winnebago…..king size bed; 2 flat screen TVs, satellite service in case there is no cable available, full air-conditioning, (and heat when needed), a full bathroom, kitchen with corion countertops, double sink, stove and microwave/convection oven, all leather couches, lazy boy chairs as well as computer, printer/scanner, fully stocked full size french door refrigerator, well stocked wine cupboard, 2 pantries, oodles of storage to name the basics. We do not have a diswasher…aha! so we ARE roughing it….sort of….. 🙂

And tonight, when all the world is asleep, here I sit wide awake and just aching to be back in my RV, listening to the rain dance on the roof. I am sitting by an open window in our Vermont home, smelling the wet leaves and almost daring enough to take a mid night stroll through the puddles. almost but not quite…..

I have been blessed for so many reasons. I shan’t even attempt to name more than a few….some of which are the fact that we have a lovely permanent home in beautiful lush Bermuda where my dear children and grandchildren are eagerly awaiting our return after more than 2 months abroad. I am also blessed to have such a terrific vacation hom in Vermont and our wonderful Bermuda Belle, our home on wheels. Tonight, right now, I am probably most thankful for my husband of more than 40 years. We have travelled the course of our lives together through many trials and tribulations but in it all, we have walked together, hand in hand most of the time and sometimes fist in fist, but we are together and we are immensely blessed.

 

Thank you Lord, for happy memories of a happy care free youth and for letting us grow old together with you as our center point. Remind us daily of what you have given to us and how you have promised never to forsake us.

Good night…….