Top row: Jack, Edward, and Vincent. Middle row: Frank, Doreen, and Mary. Front row: Shirley and Jimmy
All of us attended Holy Name Catholic Primary school.
Edward, whom I wrote about already, was the oldest child.
Jack was born after me. He was the third child. Jack served in the Canadian military overseas during World War II. After the occupation of Germany by the Allies, he stayed in Germany for a while with the Knights of Columbus, of which he was a member. He sold cars later on. He was a very good looking fellow. There was a photo of him as a soldier in Maclean’s Magazine. I officiated at his wedding at St. Boniface. When I was living in residence at Mary Lake Monastery at my year and a half “sabbatical” in Rome, after I had been pastor in Phelpston, I used to go out for dinner with Jack and his wife about once a week. He was a car salesman at that time. His wife got Alzheimer’s and he was very devoted to her. He used to visit her every day and spent most of the day with her when she was in the hospital. He was going to visit her and had a car accident. The day after he was found dead in bed. At that time, he lived in the same apartment building as my sisters Doreen and Shirley. Doreen phoned me when she found him dead and I rushed over an Anointed him conditionally. I don’t know how long he was dead for when I got there. We are told that we don’t know exactly when the soul leaves the body, so we anoint up until an hour after they stop breathing, when rigour mortis sets in. I offered Jack’s funeral Mass at St. Boniface parish near where they lived. Fr. Ron Krafchik was the pastor then and I used to help hear Confessions there in my retirement. I lived in an apartment on Parkcrest Drive across the street from the church, that Jack had picked out since it was near his apartment building. Fr. Monahan built that church and he died shortly after. My sister Mary was in the hospital at the same time that Jack died. I used to visit her there.
Mary was born next, the fourth child. She was a very good girl and never married. None of my three sisters married. Mary attended St. Joseph’s Wellesley Catholic Secondary School. She became a Catholic primary school teacher. She bought her own house and lived alone on Mortimer Avenue. She died in the hospital. Her funeral was at St. Boniface Church.
Francis (Frank) was the fifth child. He was also a good fellow and very handsome. He attended Del La Salle Catholic Secondary School. On September 25, 1950, Frank married Mary Ruth McIlhargey at Holy Name Church. They had a daughter Karen, whom I am still in contact with. For a while they lived on Browning Avenue in Holy Name parish.
There was a Foy’s Grocery store at the corner of Browning and Broadview Avenue. Three of my brothers had charge there. Sometimes while Jimmy was otherwise occupied, Doreen opened up the store for him.
Doreen was the sixth child in the family. After attending St. Joseph’s Wellesley High School, she trained at St. Michael’s hospital and became a nurse. She worked as a nurse at St. Mike’s Hospital and later at Providence Villa for years when my parents died there at Providence Hospital. She took care of my elderly mother for years at home and then at Providence Villa. My father had a stroke and went to St. Michael’s Hospital and then to Providence where he died when Doreen worked there. I offered the Funeral Masses for both of my parents. The mother of a Canadian senator spent some winters in Florida and Doreen looked after her down there as her nurse. This senator gave the Toronto Cardinal/Archbishop a new car every year. My youngest sister Shirley who was handicapped was living with my parents at that time. Later on after my parents died, Doreen continued to take care of Shirley. For years when I was retired, Doreen helped with my laundry and cleaned my apartment. Shirley came over to pick it up. Doreen called me daily to make sure I was alright on my own. I often refer to her as “An angel of mercy.” She was a very sweet, polite and intelligent woman. Doreen was ever smiling, cheerful and kind. Doreen’s funeral Mass was at All Saints parish in 2006 in Etobicoke, near Humber Heights retirement centre where she was living at the time of her death with our sister Shirley.
Then came Jimmy. Jimmy was at Del La Salle High school and later became a horse trainer. He used to go down to buy the racing form for my father and got interested. There was one race where the winner was falsely declared and everybody tore up their ballots with the winner’s name on it. They disqualified the horse that was supposed to have won. Jimmy stayed up until midnight collecting the torn ticket halves. When they announced the new winner, he had put they pieces together and with the money ($1500) he won he bought a horse called “Danger mark”. As a result of that, a law was passed that patched up race bet cards were not valid. Later on, he became a taxi driver. He married Pauline, whom he met through horse racing; and she also became a taxi driver. She was from England. Later in life, Jimmy had to have kidney dialysis. I brought Jimmy to Fr. Ted Colleton for Confession. I used to collect postcards which I gave to Pauline to sell and to keep the money. There was an annual postcard sale and she won a prize with them. I had a postcard collection of Popes which was donated to and kept at St. Augustine’s Seminary library. After my sister Doreen got sick and Jimmy had died, Pauline continued to visit me and helped with my laundry.
Shirley is the baby of the family. It was discovered that a nurse had dropped her on her head shortly after she was born. As a result, she was always partly crippled and could not go beyond primary school. Doreen took care of her. Shirley enjoys having a good laugh and is living in long term care as I write.