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Whistling D’ici! Voices 

Whistling D’ici!

About ten years ago, I found myself the owner of a large and varied collection of objects my uncle accumulated over time. I immediately brought the three-foot long chromed truck horn (KAHOOOOOOOOOOOGA) and the 70 year old kerosene blow-torch (PFFFFFFFFFFFFT) home with me. Stuff like that, you can’t find it unless you’re really, really lucky. My uncle told me the blow-torch belonged to my grandfather and it’s a direct piece of my family’s history (but he’s such a liar, I really don’t believe him) – now in my safe-keeping; I feel honored by this. It’s super odd to hold a tool that my grandfather used to build the world he prepared for me. Very, very touching.

I now also own a drill press and dozens of metal rasps and files. 3 ladders. 6 fishing tackle boxes. 2 pairs of boots two sizes too small for me and a fur coat that’s seen better days (I wonder how the campus will react if I show up in that?)

My uncle left the country to live in Greece. He was living in my mother’s house before he left… and the collection of stuff he gathered in the garage, he gave to me. It’s a mixed blessing, of course. I’m glad to have a sturdy mixing pond for my concrete projects, but I have no idea what I’m going to do with the 800 square feet of assorted melamine I now own.

My mother’s garage has been the catching place for so much stuff during my life, that this isn’t an unnatural occurrence. We grew up without a car and the notion of a garage ranges between a great place to hang out with pals to a stronghold for large items some aunt or uncle needs to hide away for a while. After my cousin crumpled his mid-70’s muscle-car on the Decarie Expressway, we had a beautiful orange Duster to play with for a few years. One of my best cars lives the majority of its life in that garage now.

Amongst the treasure trove, there were 400 beautiful tin tops. I remember my uncle took on an odd job a couple of years ago. One of many, many odd jobs… like my grand-dad, my uncle is a real entrepreneur in the true meaning of the word. So, my uncle was busy cleaning out some old lady’s garage… when he stumbled on a few thousand square feet of sheet metal, some well-made dies for a hydraulic press… and these 400 colorful whistling spinning tops. If you know my uncle (or know me) you’d know this is a completely impossible thing for us to pass up… and that’s how my mother found her garage suddenly filled up like Santa’s workshop had just been put out of business!

And, if you knew my uncle, you’d know that we heard stories for months and months… him cooking up the big ideas about how to sell off the boon! My uncle is a real good “idea man” but he’s better at dreaming sometimes than getting the dreams rolling. But the stories he could tell you!… you’d pee yourself laughing before it was over.

I managed to sell a half dozen at an office I worked at a few years ago. The buyers on Kijiji weren’t interested at all; I finally threw them out. I had to… it was time to move my household stuff into the garage after my first divorce.

They looked like they were a hundred years old and the “Made in Canada” stamp is a rare thing to see these days. How uber-cool. The packaging looked ancient. They were pretty neato.

I imagine my cousin has some in his treasure trove. Although he’s not direct-descended from Unka George, my cousin Saki definitely has the collector gene.


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Rights to publish (both digital and hardcopy) have been granted to Vanier College, Montreal, Canada, 201704


Written By: ToplessJohn

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