Brazil Street

Bella is look­ing for her fur-ever home

The Southern Gazette - - EDITORIAL - Harold Walters Book Re­marks Harold Walters lives Hap­pily Ever Af­ter in Dunville, in the only Cana­dian prov­ince with its own time zone. How cool is that? Reach him at gh­wal­

Robert Hunt has some lot of mem­o­ries.

Don’t we all?

But here’s the thing — Robert Hunt has the jump on most of us in that he has writ­ten and pub­lished his. As a mat­ter of fact, he has done so three times.

Brazil Street [Flanker Press] is the third book in a tril­ogy of Robert Hunt’s mem­o­ries.

Re­gard­ing all three books, Robert Hunt says he has writ­ten down ev­ery­thing he could re­mem­ber, “so that my chil­dren, their chil­dren, and the next gen­er­a­tion will know how we lived, how we sur­vived, and how we be­came the peo­ple we are today.”

That’s a wor­thy pur­pose. In Brazil Street Hunt writes about his youth in St. John’s, New­found­land, dur­ing the first decade or so af­ter Con­fed­er­a­tion pupped.

When we read a man’s mem­oirs we as­sume he is writ­ing about old times and, rightly so I sup­pose, un­til we re­al­ize that isn’t nec­es­sar­ily the case.

For in­stance. Once upon a Christ­mas, Robert wished for Bea­tle boots, and he ex­plains those boots were the craze of the day be­cause of a pop­u­lar rock band called … well, The Bea­tles.

Robert, b’y, that wasn’t so long ago. That was just the other day when I was young, for frig sake.


For many fam­i­lies dur­ing Hunt’s youth, gro­cery money was counted twice and, con­se­quently, grub was rough. Lux­ury fare — such as baloney! — wasn’t al­ways af­ford­able: “Sausages, ham and bologna were ex­pen­sive and la­belled ‘spe­cial’ treats at the time.”

Robert b’y, have you checked the price of baloney lately?

Yes­ter­day, me and Mis­sus stopped at The Food Shop to buy some­thing for sup­per. We thought, baloney, per­haps…

… un­til we read the price. The cost of a chunk of baloney not much big­ger than a soup can was edging to­wards $20. Six­teen loonies and change! Be­ing fru­gal and want­ing to stay within our bud­get, we de­cided to forego our feast of fried baloney — with a cou­ple of boiled pota­toes, had the sup­per come to pass — and opted for a cheaper cut of beef ten­der­loin. Would I tell a fib? An­other fond [?] mem­ory Hunt writes about is hav­ing com­pany from around the bay. Of­ten­times, kin that came to St. John’s — to see The Doc­tor, for ex­am­ple — stayed at the Hunt’s al­ready crowded house on Brazil Street.

I don’t re­late to such kin­folks’ vis­its but Mis­sus — reared up among Rab­bit Town’s war­rens — re­mem­bers …?… the pain.

Here’s what she said when I men­tioned that the bay crowd used to stay over at the Hunts’: “When rel­a­tives stayed at our house, my sis­ters and I had to sleep on sofa chairs pushed to­gether.”

Now in her vin­tage, Mis­sus moans of a chronic crick in her back, prob­a­bly the re­sult of the sofa chairs shift­ing apart dur­ing the night and her dou­ble-T butt sag­ging in the gap.

The other day when we all were young, cash money was dif­fi­cult to come by. Robert Hunt, how­ever, was an in­dus­tri­ous lad. He worked hard at any­thing that would earn him a dol­lar or two. He sold cod tongues; he scav­enged scrap metal; he ran er­rands for Amer­i­can per­son­nel sta­tioned at Fort Pep­per­rell. With sav­ings from his job at Wool­worth’s — and from a sec­ond job at Bob Glasco’s Meats — he ful­filled a dream.

He bought a cam­era, a Ko­dak Hawk­eye Flash Fun.

For a while, as a teen, I worked at a Hud­son Bay Com­pany store in a for­eign prov­ince. Like Robert, I saved up enough money to ful­fill a dream.

I bought a por­ta­ble type­writer.


Robert fan­cied he might be­come a fa­mous pho­tog­ra­pher. I ex­pected I’d one day be awarded a No­bel Prize for lit­er­a­ture.

An aside. The most use­ful thing I learn in high school was how to type. Im­mune to mock­ery from com­pan­ions with vis­i­ble abs, I weaseled my way out of phys-ed classes and en­rolled in typ­ing classes … with the girls … who ig­nored me com­pletely, hav­ing eyes only for the guys with abs who fool­ishly risked crip­pling them­selves jump­ing from spring­boards in the gym.

Sadly, Robert lost his cam­era. As far as I know, he isn’t a fa­mous pho­tog­ra­pher.

I haven’t the fog­gi­est no­tion what ever be­came of my type­writer but I still keep a space dusted on a dis­play shelf for the No­bel medal­lion.

Last thing. As boys, Robert and his best friend, Dickie White, coined them­selves a con­cept — Or­phan Lake, a place where dreams come true.

That’s a lake we’d all like to splash in, eh b’ys?

Thank you for read­ing.

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