This photo was taken in 1922 on the day of my First Holy Communion. That was a great day. I don’t have socks on, since a bicycle drove by and sprayed me with mud. The girls wore the long white dresses and the boys were given a white sash that looked a little like a deacon’s stole. I am beside my older and the eldest brother in my family, Edward, who had to be a year late starting school due to his severe asthma. Therefore, we were in the same First Holy Communion class. He was born in May of 1913 about a year after my parents were married and I was born in August of 1915.
Edward was a daily Communicant. He was consistently a cheerful person. You couldn’t help but like him, since he was very likeable. We got along well.
All of my siblings went to Holy Name Catholic Elementary school. I went to De La Salle Catholic high school and Edward went to the School of Commerce. As a teenager, Edward played the bango with a group called “The Four Fs” since there last names started with F (Foy, Fernandez…). They played at Holy Name church hall and other venues. He also played the piano and I played the violin. His music teacher who lived on Fulton Avenue once put on a recital and Edward and I played together. This was reported in a newspaper at the time called “The Chronicle”. I got a violin for free if I signed up for lessons at the Harris School of Music on Danforth. I had three years of violin lessons, once a week, for 75cents each. My poor father encouraged me – he said “There is only one thing I ask: Do not practise your violin when I am in the house.” The piano was different. My father promised me 25 cents when I could play a certain Irish song. I eventually earned the quarter. When I entered the seminary I did not play the violin. My mother played the piano when I was very young and later she didn’t have the time for it.
When I was in the seminary, two visits were allowed per month. Edward always came out with my parents. During the 1930s there was a Depression. He couldn’t find work and I could see this was hard on him. I made a Novena that he would get work. On the last day of the Novena, I had word from him that he got a job with the Red Rose tea company. It was there that he met his future wife, Lenore Thompson. Although I was not the pastor, I married them at St. Vincent de Paul church, the parish of the bride.
Edward and Lenore had three children: Paul (named after a close friend of my father’s), Mary Pat, and Linda. They had a nice house out in the west end of Toronto. There was a Catholic store on Church Street where he became employed for years and was in charge of things. Being a cheerful person, he was very popular. Most priests in Toronto shopped there, knew him and liked him.
Edward predeceased his wife and died of a stroke before his retirement, when he was only 64. I remember my nephew, his son Paul, said he came home from work, suddenly put his hand to his head and said “There is something wrong” and died. It was around Christmastime in December of 1977. I was in Rome for a year and a half, from partway through 1977 and in 1978. I flew back to Canada during this time for his funeral Mass. I conducted his burial at Mount Hope cemetery. His widow Lenore kept in contact with and used to phone me after he died.
This is a photo of Edward in the garb of a choir boy of Holy Name Church near Pape and Danforth. It is taken in front of the Foy family home at 40 Fulton Ave. The choir director was Mr. Joseph McDonald. Some of the other choir boys became priests including: Murray Allen, Armand Desaulniers, Andy Pinfold, Msgr. Cooney, and Francis P. Carol (later Bishop of Calgary).