Chapter 19: on my own again .

After Gill and the two kids went back to England  I carried on living in Orton. Until I decided to sell and move into Cambridge onto Westminster in the part of Cambridge known as Preston. I had rented the top half of an older two-story house. The lady that owned it lived on the first floor. The access to my place was at the back of the house up some wooden stairs. it was a small apartment a one -bedroom with a small kitchen and bathroom with a small sitting room. But it suited me fine.  I was able to get to work in less than 5 minutes  I had got rid of the dogs.  To be honest I didn’t miss them at all. It was like taking a heavyweight of my shoulders.

As I said I had rented the top half of an older two-story house.  the only scary thing was this. The door going down to the main floor I kept locked, but on many occasion, the landlady would come up the stairs and knock on the door. I would open it and there she was in all her glory standing there in a see-through yellow neglige and yellow bloomers to match.  A short dumpy woman of 65 wanting something, or wanting to tell me something.

Well, I know what she really wanted. Me ! in a nutshell. but she was getting none of me.  No way! and I always made sure that my rent was up to date.  Eventually one evening she introduced me to her new boyfriend. A skinny weaselly looking guy. He always wore this flat grey cheap toupee.

I  don’t know how old he was, but he was..old. Eventual he talked her into selling the house. and moving to Newfoundland where they bought a garage. So I had to move but within a year or so they were back in Cambridge broke. the garage was a flop.

Back to Orton.  While I was living in Orton I befriended my neighbours an older married couple who lived across the way about 200 yards from my house. his name was Norris her name was Barb.  She was a local postmistress so beings as I was working afternoons, I would see her in the daytime. when she delivered the mail. So, one time she invited me to a get together at her house.  She and Norris were having a BBQ. so I went over. During the evening I asked her where the bathroom was. so she took me upstairs to show me. Me, I had a pee and went back downstairs. No big deal.

The next time I saw her at my mailbox she was very agitated I asked her what was wrong. She said that she can’t stop and talk. She said Norris accused her of having an affair with me. I can assure the reader that nothing was further from the truth. She was a very nice lady very pleasant but she was at least 30 years older than me.

About a year later after I had been living in Preston on Westminster Street for quite some time. I was at work one day at Butlers. When Gordy Moffit a good friend from the maintenance department, hunted me down in the plant. where I was trying to fix a die in a press. Gordy said.

“Hey Bryan there is a guy looking for you, he’s sitting in a car by the maintenance door.”

So I went to the car by the door. ( At that time there was no fence around the Butler property.)   Where low and behold sitting behind the steering wheel was Norris from Orton. So I was thinking why is he here it. It’s almost an hour drive to Orton.

” Hi, Norris what’s going on?” I say.

So  Norris looking straight ahead with a glazed look in his eye says to me.

“I know that you were having an affair with my wife! I just want you to put down in writing.”

“So, I’m thinking he’s fucking crazy. why would a 35-year-old man want to fuck a 65-year-old lady So being a troubleshooter I was thinking fast . so I said OK Norris I’ll just go and get some paper and a pen He’s still sitting there staring ahead looking tho’ the windshield.

So I went into the plant up the stairs to the tool room office.  and I saw my boss Wib Wilkins. there I told what was going on. I said to Wib

This crazy fucker could have a shotgun with him he’s loony fucking Tunes Wib.  Wib was laughing as he picked up the phone. In less than 5 minutes there were two cop cars on the Butler Property. There were two cops and they came inside the plant. They came upstairs and spoke to Wib and me. They then went downstairs got in the two cruisers one drove in the front of Norris’s car and the other parked behind. They then got out spoke to Norris and asked for I.D. and they looked in the car and got him to open the trunk. thank god there were no guns. they then escorted him of the Butler property.

I never saw Norris again.

My boss in the tool room Wib Wilkins gave us the tool and die, makers, more overtime than anything or anybody else.  Countless times Wib would be working with us on a new die, in the production press shop. just trying out the die or dies we would clamp the die or dies together in one of the press shop presses.

Wib would say when we were ready to try out.bring down the press another quarter oh an inch. We would then put in a blank and hit it that would not be any good. Wib would say bring it down another quarter of an inch Another eight of an inch. yea you have the idea. this process would be followed until Wib was happy. down a quarter an eighth and so on, Until all of a sudden, there would be a fucking big Crunch

all the parts from the previous operations that were in the dies. were all fucked in one go. Wib would tell the die setters to pull the dies and take them to the tool room.  Where we would have to do reconstructive surgery on then Wib would ask Can you guys work overtime on them. we need the parts to go down to G.M. first thing in the morning.

T his event was not just a one-off. It happened on numerous  occasions

.If you speak to anyone who worked at Butlers they will tell you that it was the place to work. it was a fun place to work.

The next segments are just short one-offs of what went on at Butlers over the years.

So I’m going to give it a shot. How it is going to work out I have no idea.

We had one guy turn up for work one morning and as he was changing his shoes to his safety boots he claimed that he was bitten by a spider. So they sent him to the hospital. where the doctor asked him what kind of spider it was. They showed him pictures of spiders and he pointed to a Black Widow Spider. so they treated him and sent him home.

The next morning at work they didn’t know whether they should write out an accident report on the spider or whether they should write him up for fucking around. They wrote up an accident report.

One morning I went into work. My bench which was in the corner of the tool room. So I sat down on my chair kicked of my runners, my safety boots were laying on the floor where I had left them lying from the night before. Well, I put on my left boot. tried to put on my right boot, but it was too tight so I had to kick it off so I could loosen up the laces. The boot fell on its side and from out of the boot ran a scruffy big baby rat. Well, I jumped up,  anybody nearby who saw this happen just howled with laughter. So after that, I kept my safety boots in my bench draw.

 

After a couple of years at Butlers, I was talked into running for president of the local Butler Union. UAW1780.

Back then in the late ’70s, the UAW was crying about the lack of tariff not being put on Japanese cars. So I had to go to Cambridge City Council and a plea for tariffs to be placed on Japanese cars.I forgot could they please help. That night I was waiting for my turn to speak. This was being televised on Local cable T.V.

Well! another speaker that was scheduled to speak was the president of a local parts manufacture from Kitchener. A guy by the name of Huge Sloan.

So in case you never recognize the Name. Here’s the scope. Huge Sloan was one of the key figures in the Watergate Scandal. Huge Sloan did not want to have anything to do with the re-election of Nixon. So he came up to Canada and was put in charge of Budds of Kitchener. and he turned Budd’s fortunes around.

I was speaking to him prior to us going up in front of the Cambridge City Council. he seemed to be a very nice man. I would say that he put a better case than I did to the Cambridge Council.

There was when we had a new job on the property a period of 10 days so that everybody was familiar with the part that we were making. Well, the 10 days training usually turned out to be 2 hours and that was it.

The operators would be told that’s all the time that we have. We need to get the parts to the customer. So so much for training.

In the Toolroom at Butlers, there was an English guy. Rick Burgess who was like me a tool and die, maker. His girlfriend worked at Kitchener Hospital on King Street in Kitchener. So they set me up with a blind date with this girl named Peggy Crawford. So we hit it off right away. and eventually, we got married.

After a time in our relationship Peggy decided to change careers and instead of working at the hospital she went back to school at Macmaster in Hamilton. She wanted to be an accountant like her father Jim.  Jim was a CA and Peggy wanted to be an IRA accountant.

I guess it was around this time in our relationship we were out driving one Sunday and came upon this model home in the Galt area of Cambridge. When I saw the plans of the houses being built the was a really large lot that I liked. It was 250 feet deep. So we left a deposit of $500.00 and low and behold in no time at all we were watching the house being built and the what seemed like a few minutes we were moving in, to 16 Byton Lane which was on the back end of Galt just of off St Andrews Street.

The house was a raised bungalow, it fitted nicely into that property. Well, Peggy had to go to classes twice a week to Mac Master and the other nights she was studying. So I was telling a friend at Butlers Denis Beddard, that it was boring sitting at home while Peggy was studying, so Denis said Look I work out at the ” Y ” why don’t you come down and try it out. So after a bit of nagging, I went to the ” Y ” and liked it. That was in 1984, after about a year at classes  Denis and another guy an Englishman named Len Tudor. They talked me into [playing racket ball.

So it was arranged that I play Len. well, he had me chasing the ball all over the court.  I was ill for about 4 days after that. But slowly my wind improved when I played. And after about 9 months I played Len for the top of the ladder and I won. after that it put me top of the ‘ C ” ladder. So I went over to the bottom of the ” B ” ladder and started to work my way up. we had a Raquette ball tourney meant and I won the ” B ” ladder.

So I discovered that they had a racquetball Ball league at the Kitchener  ” Y ”

 

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