The Cooper Street Relic

Just another blog from The Republic Of Hespeler

“Then I crossed the empty street

on the sleeping city sidewalks

Something in a Sunday makes a fella feel so all alone”

Those words are from the Song”Sunday Morning Coming Down” written in 1969 by Kris Kristoffersen, and today the notion of a big city totally shut down on a Sunday sounds absurd. But in 1969 that was the norm, even in the big city’s like Toronto or New York and of course in our little part of the world here in Hespeler,Galt and Preston.

I remember getting up on a Sunday Morning and going to church ,but more importantly i remember the family breakfasts that would occur at the family home immediately after church. There would almost always be Aunts and Uncles, cousins , Great Aunts and Uncles and Grandparents gathered around the table just getting ready to dig into a big heaping of Bacon, Eggs and pancakes, and for some strange reason i can still smell the strawberry and raspberry jam that would be going on the freshly baked bread that was toasted on the old-fashioned stove top toaster. But this story is not about that, it is about what was going on outside the comfort of the big dining room on Cooper street.

Nothing, absolutely  sweet nothing.  There was very little traffic, no car radios blasting music, all you could hear was the sounds of kids playing and dogs barking.  We would go for a Sunday walk and there was no Tim Hortens to go to, no Grocery Store open to run to, if you didn’t get your beer on Saturday before 5:00 you up the creek without an opener, so to speak. The downtown core that had been bustling the day before was now shut down tight. The butcher shop was silent, the five and dime store that i had spent a good hour in the day before was now just a viewing gallery. The Queens Hotel where my father and his rowdy gang had probably spent a night of high-spirited hi-jinks sat waiting for Monday thereby allowing the men of the night to recover and spend the day doing their husbandry duties.  Factory’s were quiet, the woollen mills sat still and the Speed River seemed to flow a little more majestically because of the still that was in the air. Sure you could go see a movie in the evening or perhaps go see the Hespeler Mic Macs  play Seaforth at the Arena but that was in the evening, this was Sunday Day.  And it was for family to enjoy, no McDonald’s or Burger King for dinner, it was home cooked meals on a Sunday, Roast Beef or Pork, Mashed Potatoes and veggies and home-baked pies.

But those day’s are gone and Sunday is just another day of the week, the importance of the day long forgotten by many and unheard of by many under the age of 30. And that is why on this past Sunday i got up early and went for the same walk that my Mother used to take me over 40 years ago, i stopped and tried to hear the sounds of the past but alas they were gone, they were killed by the crashing bass of the sound system of a passing car,the sound of a work crew fixing somebody’s roof, the people yelling at each other in front of Ernie’s roadhouse, the smell of gas being pumped into somebody’s vehicle on Queen Street and the sound of the Grand River transit bus passing me by.  And as i headed home i closed my eyes and envisioned a late winter day in March 1969 and it brought a moment of peace into my soul.

“On a Sunday Morning sidewalk

wishing lord I was stoned

Something in a Sunday, makes a fella feel all alone”

6 thoughts on “Something in a Sunday

  1. Sarah Gamble (nee Alexander) says:

    Hello Jimm
    I just loved your story Something in a Sunday….I just had to write to tell you that.
    I can appreciate everything you wrote….about the big family meals and hey, that’s what we use to have for supper too! My mother the pie queen!
    I love your humour (eg. up the creek without an opener! lol) and the great photo at the end was the icing on the cake! Happy times.
    I have forwarded your website on to my many siblings and hopefully they too can join us in the remenisence of the old times growing up in the Hespeler area.
    I’m a fan.
    p.s. I think my dad might have been a member of that ‘rowdy gang’ you mentioned. lol

  2. jimm hillis says:

    Thank You Sarah for the kind words, my writing is a form of therapy for me, keeps me sane in this world today. And more than likely your dad was indeed one of the rowdy’s of that generation. I will be doing more original stuff again come September, most of what i have done all summer is repeats of previously written stuff. Glad you enjoy it and always glad to hear from Hespeler Folk. p.s. I am working on a book about hespeler Nicknames vol2 and if you can remember any from your group we would love to hear them the website for it is Once again thank you..jimm hillis

  3. CM says:

    You could get beer on a Sunday, you just had to know the right people. lol

  4. wow , you nailed it right on, that is how I remember a sunday . thanks for the memory

  5. Carol says:

    I didn’t grow up in Hespeler but I did grow up in New Hamburg. I have a lot of the same memories that you do Jimm. The fifty’s were the best. We all cared about each other, we helped our neighbours and friends when we could and in turn they helped us. My world in New Hamburg was a lot safer in those days in comparison to our world today.
    Thank you so much for your wonderful story and reminding us all of our past and that it wasn’t so bad after all.

    1. James Hillis says:

      Thank You for the kind words

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