A Reminder of My Youth
Nothing in this painting exits any more except the river. It reminds me of so much.
I remember the day, years ago, when this painting was created. I sat beside my Uncle Charlie as he painted it in watercolours. The year was 1951. I was 8 years old. It is a scene of Port Credit harbour at the mouth of the Credit River. We were seated just down from the Le Surf Hotel, a large wooden hotel with a wrap around porch. ( It look old and out of place even back then. Later it burned down.)
The shoreline of Lake Ontario had these large willow trees. Many grew close to the water on the stone beach we used to swim at in Lake Ontario. Those by the shore were misshapened so we could climb on them. The water was very cold and their always seemed to be lots of debris and small dead fish that left the water's edge with a distinctive odor.
The building in the foreground was a refreshment stand. It was a relic of when Port Credit may have been a summer community for people from Toronto.
The bulding behind is a fishing shed where live bait was sold. And the red shed facing the river was a boat house.
The fishing nets drying were the last of any commercial fishing off Port Credit. Not long after this they were no longer to be seen.
I loved river's even then. We used to swim in the mouth of the river where the shore was sandy and the water was a little warmer. I remember one day swimming with my best friend Dickie just in front of the boat house when he got caught in the river current over his head. He panicked and struggled going down under the water. I, at first, thought he was faking distress but on his third time under I jumped in and help him get ashore. Little was said about my rescue. We were just glad our parents, (mine at least Dickie's were more permissive than mine) did not find out we were swimming in the mouth of the river.
Dickie is still my oldest friend. ( I am the last person who still calls him that instead of Richard) We were in first grade together shortly after his family moved from Montana. ( I started a couple of months late as I was recovering from polio which my mother used to believe I caught from playing in the river upstream from here closer to our home). In spite of being very different people and our lives taking us in different directions, we have remained in touch over the years.
This spot on the river became the site of the Port Credit Yacht Club. Even it has moved on to a new location along the lake near the Lakeview Generating Station (which was the first of the coal fired electrical generating stations to be shut down and destroyed.) Gosh! I can remember working on it when it was being built.
Is nothing permanent.? Awe yes, the river. It persists in spite of being misshapened by development along its banks.
So this painting hangs in my house where it triggers memories of my youth.