Remnants
'Tis a sight to engage me if anything can
To muse on the perishing pleasures of man;
Though his life be a dream, his enjoyments, I see,
Have a being less durable even than he.  Cowper


Photo from Andrea Patterson
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Some of the Clayton clan gathered Sept 18, 2003 at the dedication of a plaque in honour of my brother Philip Bryan Clayton. He was instrumental in forestalling the planned removal of the vehicle bridge where Barrett Street crosses the Ganaraska River. A lot of traffic passes over this one-lane bridge, now called 'Clayton's Crossing'. In his little 'complimentary' speech that afternoon, Mayor Rick Austin, foot-in-cheek, said that Phil was sometimes a 'pain in the ass' of his fellow Town Councillors. Over the years, Austin single-handedly assured that Phil was more sinned against than sinning in this respect.
 
 
Albert Henry 'Bert' Broadbent was born in Port Hope and grew up in the house on the NE corner of Bramley St N and Bruton Lane, across Bramley from the West Primary School. The school has been torn down, but the house still looks much as it did when the Broadbents lived there.

Both of the Broadbent brothers who came to Port Hope from England were bakers. Edward came in the early 1880s, Jesse, five years younger, about 1889. One of Edward's three wives was Catharine Ruth 'Katie' Hooper, a daughter of Joseph Hooper who once had a Monument Works on Walton Street, west of Hagerman. Edward died in 1934, age 71. Katie, was 77 when she died in 1942. Edward's bakery on Ontario Street was the one that Bert would take over.

Bert's father, Jesse Broadbent, married Sarah Emma Jessop, and they had eight children, of whom Bert and Russell became bakers. Jesse and Sarah opened a store on Ridout Street in 1907 (later the 'Uptown Variety') and then had a bakery in their house on Bramley Street. Jesse died in 1943, age 74. Sarah lived to be 79 and died in 1952.

Bert assumed his uncle Edward's business in 1932, at the age of twenty, and in October of the same year, married Mary Margaret Roche. After 41 years at the same location he sold the bakery in 1973 and in 1976/7 moved to Peterborough. With Mabel Billings, he opened the 'Better Home Bakery' on Douras Street. Irwin and Sybil Grautski, who were friends of Bert's, now own that bakery, and Bert's recipes are still followed there as nearly as possible, some of the old ingredients being no longer available. The bread is nearly as good as Bert's was. Their doughnuts were good too, but they recently stopped making them. Buttermilk scones like Bert used to make seem to be a thing of the past and I haven't had a good raspberry turnover since the Dankmeyers, who bought Happy Home from Bert, recipes and all, left the business.

Bert Broadbent died in Peterborough August 24, 1985, his wife Mary in 1992. Son Jesse died in 1994. All three are buried in Welcome Cemetery. Daughter Mary is alive and kicking, friendly and active like her father.
 
 

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Glen F 'Jesse' James had a furniture store on John Street called the 'House of James'. His many self-promotions brought some welcome life to the town. Here he's being wheeled about in a barrow some time in the 1950s by Clayton Joice with whom he had won a bet. He would do almost anything to promote his store. He was a colourful character who was missed when he eventually moved away, I think to Collins Bay, near Kingston. We need someone like him around here now to stir things up a little. In the background, Jack Gifford looks so sharp that if he had shown up for the 2005 PHHS Reunion in the same outfit, he would still have been the coolest dude in town.
 
 
from the Evening Guide  January 10, 1952
PROMPT ACTION COMMENDABLE
The shortage of free parking space in Port Hope, a matter which has been talked about and knocked around with little or no action for some time now, has finally been given some concentrated attention. A newly elected councillor, Glen James this week put his inaugural speech and promises into action only minutes after he had uttered them.
And, better still, he was given the [green] light by the Town Fathers.
The downtown parking situation has been acute, in Port Hope for some time. Last year the Board of Trade attempted to alleviate matters by utilizing a portion of the park by the Town Hall. Unfortunately or not, the Town Council at that time was not fully in accord with the Board's ideas. Councillor James' suggestion was actually more than that, for he preceded it by doing a certain amount of spade work. Realizing that more free parking areas were necessary, he contacted property owners who had land suitable for parking lots in the vicinity of the downtown area and received their permission to use this ground for parking facilities. It is indeed heartening to see a councillor take such a deep-seated interest in a matter which he deems is deserving of attention.
Both Councillor James and his colleagues are to be commended on the straightforward attitude adopted in attempting to alleviate a bothersome situation. They will have the wholehearted moral support of all citizens in their efforts to remedy Port Hope's parking problems.

2005
The latest actions of Town Council in this regard were to increase the parking tax by 100%, that is, they doubled the parking meter rate in one night of 'business as usual' at the Town Hall. And they hired another meter maid to ticket cars on the weekends. The parking laws in Port Hope are now being more rigidly enforced than ever at a time when Cobourg has removed theparking meters from their main street. Welcome to Port Hope, the 'friendliest town in Canada'.
 
 


Mitchell's Tobacco Store, 90 Walton Street, 1953. Jack Mitchell working at the counter, Bill Brian sitting behind it. They used to stay open till eleven at night. If you wanted something at the store after a movie, this was where you went, nobody else was open that late. Newspapers, magazines, candy, smokes, didn't cost an arm and a leg back then.
Fred Webb's Barber Shop, one chair, was in the back of the store. Before Webb's it was Wicklund's Barber Shop.
 
 
"Don Kelly scores for Celtics to help his team win over the Comets 71 to 52. From left, Comet players Chris Hibbard and Cal Bamsey wait hopefully for rebound as Garnet Clayton (right) comes to assist Kelly."
This faded photograph is from the Evening Guide of January 5, 1961. We had a little basketball league that played in the school gym on Wednesday nights.
My time at High School was just about the worst ten years of my life, so far. Although I met people I still see today, and made some lasting friendships, happy memories are few. I played basketball on some school teams, and I was fortunate enough to be there at the same time as Donald 'Doc' Kelly. Doc is one of my happy memories.
The Kellys lived in what once was Dr Power's house, next door to St Paul's Church. The eldest, Ray (Rockin' Doc), was a friend of my brother Phil's. The youngest, Bob, is a friend of my brother Mark's. I remember all the other Kellys too, at least by name: Jacquie, Gerry, Anne and Barbara, in fact, I have a vague feeling that I should remember about half-a-dozen more, but apparently there were only these seven after all.
Doc was a good basketball player, confident, generous and dependable. He was the team leader who always gave his best, and took shit from nobody. Our school teams didn't win many games, but if we had all played like Doc, we'd have won more than our share. Off the court he was quiet, cheerful and good-natured, you couldn't find a nicer person. Doc left town many years ago and I lost track of him. I often wondered where he was and how he was doing. There was a rumour of the loss of an arm in an industrial accident, but no mention of where he had gone. Then there was the sad rumour of his death. Shortly before my brother, Philip Bryan Clayton, died in 2001, I was talking on the phone with the Rockin' Doc who confirmed that Doc had passed away. I don't know the year or the location. But Doc won't be truly dead as long as someone remembers him, as many will, and as I'm doing here. There is a High School reunion coming in the summer of 2005. I don't go to school reunions, never have, but I would be happy to go to this one if Doc were going to be there, and I could meet him again and shake his hand.

Later:
One of the best things about the reunion was the open house held at their old address by the Kellys, a widely dispersed Port Hope family warmly and well remembered by everyone who knows them. A great idea and, I think, a great success, it was the one thing I didn't want to miss.
The love these six brothers and sisters clearly feel for one another, and the love and pride they feel for Don, was gratifying to see. The fine person that he was, could only have come from such a loving family. I wasn't able to shake Don's hand, but to shake his brothers' hands and be hugged by his sisters was a heart-warming next-best-thing, the closest I can get to him now.
I share with them the loss of a brother, and like them I love, am proud of, and miss my brother. Though I have no confidence in the idea that we will meet and talk again with loved ones somewhere beyond the grave, the loss of such a brother and such a friend makes me hope against hope that it might be so. Meanwhile they live in our memories and in our hearts.

'Do not stand at my grave and weep,
I am not there, I do not sleep;
I am the thousand winds that blow
I am the diamond glint on snow
I am the sunlight on ripened grain
I am the gentle autumn's rain.
When you awaken in the morning hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circled flight,
I am the soft stars that shine at night,
Do not stand at my grave and cry,
I am not there, I did not die.'
 
 
You can find Barbara Gwendolyn 'Gwen' (Hyne) Magee and her handicrafts at the Farmer's Market behind the Town Hall on many a summer Saturday morning. She and husband Doug 'Yes Dear' Magee and long-time friend John Hozack often stay in town for the day and go to the Capitol Theatre before heading back to Toronto. Gwen left town years ago, but didn't sever her Port Hope ties. Her father, Bruce Hyne, used to own Hyne's Drug Store on the corner of Walton and Ontario Streets. She seems to remember everything that ever happened to her and everyone she ever met. There is no one more approachable or friendlier than Gwen.

Gwen and Doug are hockey people in a major way, and seem to be a perfect team.

What can I say about John Hozack? John left Port Hope during the war when his father was sent to the US to work on the Manhattan Project. This was a great loss for Port Hope. Such amusing and interesting people as John are few and far between. I've known him for only a few months, and I wish I had known him for fifty years.

He asked me if I was going to the PHHS Reunion, and I said "No, I'm not going". Several times he urged me to go, and always I said no. But then I heard about the Kelly's gathering at their old homestead and decided to go to that. While I was there, John and Gwen and Doug also showed up. John Hozack came over to me and said "You're a lying son-of-a-bitch." And, coming from John, I took it as a compliment, a sign of acceptance, the nicest thing anybody had said to me in a long, long time. I still smile when I think of it. If a guy calls me 'lying son-of-a-bitch' and I'm happy to answer to it, he has to be as extraordinary as I think John Hozack is. He's somebody worth meeting.

So, if you know Gwen, Doug or John, go down some Saturday morning and say hello. If you don't know them, go anyway, they're as good people as you'll find anywhere.


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The Kids of Bloomsgrove Avenue
from the Toronto Star  Friday July 28, 2006  by Christian Cotroneo
Gazing at the old photograph nearly 70 years later, Gwen Magee still remembers the names. There's Eleanor De Nure, whose family went on to found a tour company. And there's Lynne Welsh, an only child who would eventually yield to a severe case of asthma.
Of course, how could Magee forget the almost 3-year-old girl in the front row? "I always had a doll in my arms and I still have a doll in the picture," she says. "I must have had a mothering instinct even then."
The summer of 1939 wasn't much of a time for hope. The Great Depression was groaning to an end, and Europe teetered on the edge of a war that would soon embroil the world. But the children of Bloomsgrove Ave still had some to spare.
Determined to help inner-city children get a breath of fresh air, these Port Hope youngsters banded together as the 'The Kids of the Avenue'. They spent their summer hosting plays, doing chores in the neighbourhood and whatever else it took to support the Toronto Star Fresh Air Fund - a charity that has been sending underprivileged children to summer camp since 1901.
Why did they do it?
"Because we were a very fortunate bunch of children and had everything we thought we wanted or needed at the time," Magee says.
She doesn't remember how much money they raised in the summer of 1939. "My memory's good, but it's not that good," she says with a laugh.
But the spirit of their street crusade still rings clear.
There were short plays, perhaps a spot of yard work here and there, dances and, of course, musical performances.
"We must have charged, like, 50 cents, and bring your own chair," Magee recalls. "And it was in somebody's backyard and that's how we did it."
"I'll bet you somebody was selling lemonade that night, too."
It was a time when cars were scarce enough that kids could play on the street, when one child's older brother was everyone's older brother.
"We were just a happy bunch of kids," she says. "We all played together."
For Magee, it would be her last summer on Bloomsgrove Ave. Later that year, her family moved off the street. Sure, the new house was just around the corner, but she could no longer lay official claim to being an Avenue kid.
At 19, she moved to Toronto, still holding fast to old friendships. Today, the 69-year-old maintains ties to at least five of her old neighbours. And she has followed the trajectories of several more. Magee knows, for instance, that little Kenneth O'Neill became the first male to graduate from the School of Fashion Design at Ryerson in the early '50s, and that Irene Knight went on to become a high school gym teacher.
But, perhaps more importantly, she never forgot the spirit of their crusade. This portrait of hope may be frozen in time, but its legacy endures.
This year, Magee is making a donation to the Fresh Air Fund. And she's hopingthe old Avenue Kids will step up, after all these years, and carry on the old crusade.


Picture from Elaine (Lent) Simpson and Barbara Gwendolyn (Hyne) Magee
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65th Birthday Reunion Port Hope July 1996
Picture from Owen Lent
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Harold Lyons and Vern Ackland on PHHS Cadet Inspection Day May 18, 1955
Picture from Pat (Francey) Honey
Thanks to Rhoda (Clayton) Bullen
 
 

July 1st weekend near the Farmer's Market, Port Hope, 2007
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