One Room “Suite”

We had a one-room “suite.” There just wasn’t much housework, so I decided to get a job, against Mickey’s better judgment. “My wife isn’t going to work.”  I got a job with United Cigar Stores. Their training station was at Carrol and Hastiings… about the worst part of Vancouver.

It included a magazine stand outside (undercover). You nearly froze out there with the wind blowing through the area. I also had to go across the street to relieve so the only clerk could go for meals or coffee breaks… so I would be alone in the store in a very rough area. Not too good… I quit after six weeks.

We decided to go to the States for the weekend, and went to the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce at Knight Road and Kingsway to get some American money. It was a block from home.

The bank was very busy, and the manager, Mr. Fowler, was waiting on customers at the front counter. To get American money you had to fill out a Form H… and because he was so busy I filled it out myself. I said I had worked in a bank, and he offered me a job when we got back from our trip.

So, in 1948 I went to work for the Canadian Bank of Commerce as teller. As I lived closest to the bank, I also had to “inspect the premises” when there was a long weekend… had to make sure there were no break ins if the bank was closed more than just Sunday. We still had to work Saturday morning.

After working a year we were going on holidays. We had an Austin touring car and had it checked over by Deelys before we went. On May 14th1949 we were taking my canary to my folks place at Langley, but met a friend of Jack’s in Langley.

The three of us were going out Old Yale Road, (now 56th)… me sitting in the middle. As we came to Carvolth   Road ( now 200th), a guy in front of our car stopped unexpectedly. Mickey slammed on the brakes and our rear brake band broke. We were all thrown out as the car flipped over and turned, facing the opposite direction… and landed on me.

Twelve broken ribs…. actually six ribs with two breaks in each rib, broken shoulder blade, broken collar bone, and cuts on my face from my glasses breaking. I also had a battery acid burn on my leg, which hurt more than the broken bones! Mickey was bruised and stunned. Don’t know what happened to “friend”. Police and ambulance arrived and I was rushed to Langley Memorial Hospital, not expected to live. I sure fooled them… and the canary survived as well.

I remember them pushing a BIG needle in from the front of my chest, and again in the side, to collapse my left lung so the broken bones wouldn’t damage it.

I went down to ninety pounds… just skin stretched over bone. I looked terrible and I didn’t feel too great, either. Ten days later I talked Dr. Rose into letting me go to my folks place. For a while I could walk, but only if someone helped me to my feet. I couldn’t even sit up by myself. Mickey washed my hair for me while I was lying down, and found part of my glasses still in my hair, so I guess no one bothered to comb my hair in the hospital while I was lying there…

I was in a lot of pain…if I laughed I ended up crying from the pain. It was quite a while before I could take a full breath… not until my lung normalized itself.

I was off work for two months with full pay. I thought the bank was more than fair as I had only worked for them for one year.

Then I got pregnant, and I worked at the bank until I was eight months along. I rented a sewing machine, set it on the ironing board and made diapers, nighties, etc.


5 thoughts on “One Room “Suite”

  1. Good morning Dave! Back in my day it was Carvolth… Berry’s store was at Livingstone Road ( at Fraser Hisghway), and we lived just off of Brown Road North! That was in the day when the grocery store delivered free… even gave Dad and I a ride home after we walked a little over a mile to get there. I just poured your tea, Dave. Sure is great to have you visit!

  2. It’s interesting to get some more of the details of this story. The accident will have put an end to your holiday plans, but God was obviously looking out for you, not only in saving your life, but in the bank’s kindness to continue providing your salary.

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