OTTAWA, 1999: my partner’s uncle shows me the program of a reunion, several years earlier, of Fort Erie Secondary School. Leafing through, I see a photo of a rugby team, taken in the year 1932-1933—the fourth of the school’s operations. In the background, the familiar school building. I discover my grandfather, Alfred Spear, in the front row, second from the right.
It’s odd what one recalls years after — the expression of a face, a sound, words spoken which at the time seemed of no special importance. I remember the smell of the glossy hockey programs sold in the 1970s and 1980s at the Buffalo Memorial Auditorium. For some years my uncle Mark held seasons tickets, and together we watched a number of games. But of course everyone with a connection to the French Connection will recall above everything else the 1975 Stanley Cup final, the Buffalo Sabres versus the Philadelphia Flyers. I watched those games in the bedroom of my grandparents’ Fort Erie house where my father had grown up, and I can recall with great clarity the bats and fog which constitute a good part of Sabres legend.
Posted in Obituary
Tagged Buffalo, Buffalo Memorial Auditorium, Buffalo Sabres, Fort Erie, Gilbert Perreault, Hockey, Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation, Obituary, Philadelphia Flyers, Punch Imlach, Rene Robert, Rick Martin, sport, Stanley Cup, The French Connection, Tim Horton
Reading of the ghost estates and the collapse of the Irish economy, my thoughts returned today to the small, southern Ontario town in which I was raised and which I recently visited. The surge and fall of the Celtic Tiger reminds one, as if reminder is needed, that life in the age of finance capitalism can be a matter both of spectacular rise and of sudden, disgraceful cadence. Or, as has been the case in my hometown, of lingering and even interminable decay. Continue reading