Old Rock Is­land

Stanstead Journal - - NEWS -

Good­sell and Jack Ker­win, who also owned a GM deal­er­ship, where the town hall is now, across from Dr. Bouchard’s house. In the taxi stand was a pin­ball ma­chine and a dart­board. In the back were two dou­ble bunks. The top bunks were usu­ally loaded with fid­dles and gui­tars. There was a stu­dent from South Carolina, I think his last name was Viner. He used to come in ev­ery Satur­day af­ter­noon, when the stu­dents from Stanstead Col­lege were let out. He would come into the taxi stand and join the jam ses­sion. The last that I heard of him he owned a record­ing stu­dio in Cal­i­for­nia. Across the street at the Del Monty Ho­tel worked a night clerk who used to come to the stand and lis­ten to us quite of­ten, his name was Wally Primeau. One night when I was work­ing he came into the taxi stand, picked up a gui­tar and started to play. I have never known a man who as much about a gui­tar as he did. He taught me how to play ‘sweet Ge­or­gia brown’ just us­ing chord pro­gres­sion. He worked one win­ter at the ho­tel and then he was gone. Where he came from, I never knew.

We had a two-way ra­dio in the taxi stand. A base-set in the stand, and each car had a mo­bile set. There was a 50-foot an­tenna on the A&P build­ing. At the time when I was driv­ing there, you could go from West park in Rock Is­land to the cen­ter of town for 35cents. Rock Is­land to Stanstead was 50 cents, Rock Is­land to Beebe was 75 cents, Rock Is­land to Ayer’s Cliff $2.00, to Sher­brooke was $7.00 and to Mon­treal $25.00. At the time, we were pay­ing 32 cents/gal­lon for gas at Parker’s Garage in Derby Line.

One day I got a call from one of the Parker brother to pick him up in Sher­brooke, be­cause his car had bro­ken down. He got into the taxi and said: wait a minute I have to get some­thing out of the car. He un­locked his car, reached un­der the front seat, pulled out a pis­tol, and put it on her per­son. I asked him if it was loaded. He replied: it is no good if it is empty. I was glad to get him back to Derby Line.

If some­one wanted to hire a taxi to go long dis­tance, we al­ways got our fee be­fore we left. I re­call one par­tic­u­lar time, I had to take a cat­tle dealer from North­ern Ver­mont to Mon­treal to see an old girl­friend. He was drink­ing quite heavy on the way in. I took him to an apart­ment on Jeanne-Mance Street. I parked across the street, as it was a one way street. Know­ing him, some­thing was go­ing to hap­pen, be­fore long the cops ar­rived. They put him in the paddy wagon. I said to my­self I might as well go home, be­cause he is not com­ing home with me tonight. I picked him up 3 days later at the bus ter­mi­nal in Ma­gog. The only thing he said to me was, those cops in Mon­treal are big and tough.

I have to men­tion now one lady in par­tic­u­lar. Her name was Par­ti­cia. Every­body called her Patty. One morn­ing I was lean­ing against the taxi, en­joy­ing the sun­shine and she was walk­ing across the street and I said ‘WOW’. There was a fad start­ing, the girls were cut­ting off their jeans very short. I could not keep my eyes off those beau­ti­ful legs. She walked slowly down the street, cross­ing Notre-Dame-Boule­vard. A car came down the hill and stopped at the red light, an­other car was be­hind him, watch­ing her also. He did not no­tice the car in the front and drove right into the rear end. It was a hell of a bang. Patty did not change her stride. The driver of the sec­ond car, in­stead of get­ting out and talk­ing to the driver of the car he had just hit, stepped out of the car and said to Patty: Why don’t you just put some clothes on?

I have al­ways played mu­sic, with var­i­ous mu­si­cians up till 1900. I have worked at many things, like paint con­trac­tors, con­struc­tion, haul­ing gravel, and other var­i­ous jobs. While go­ing to school I worked as an usher at the New Border Theatre, six nights a week. I think I knew ev­ery word to the movie ‘Gone with the wind’ and ‘The Robe. They both ran for a week in the the­atre. My pay was $1.00 per night.

to be con­tin­ued

Left to right : Ju­nior Smith, Clarence Morse, Stan­ley Yet­ter (‘50 or ‘51)

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