Her Life

The Piano

As you walked into our house on Bayliss avenue on the left hand side there sat an upright piano. To most visitors the first thought would be that this really doesn't fit in such a small house. There was only one room that contained the living room, entrance and dining room as well as the hall way - actually there was no hall the two bedrooms were off the living room and the kitchen was straight through the living and dining room to the back. 

I might have this wrong but I recall my Dad telling me that the piano came to our house by way of being pushed up Weston road then down Lambton avenue by Dad and some friends. Not sure where it originated but I assume somewhere close to my Nans house at 34 Cayuga Avenue. (That house is another story)

The piano however had pride of place and was a big part of the Ford family. When Mom and Dad had company over and Nan and Auntie Alice were there the piano got a lot of use. Nan and Auntie Alice learned to play the piano by ear while they were growing up in Blackpool, England in a pub. All you had to do was hum a few bars for the girls and they would get the hang of it and play. They played together, side by side, and thier hands would cross over each other like they were one body and one mind with four hands. The piano played, the guests sang,and the beer was consumed and there was lots of it!!!!

No wonder Cath grew up to be the true party girl and to have music in her body and soul. She also was the only other person that played the piano in the house. For years Cath took lessons and progressed through the grades - no learning by ear for her and no pub songs. I just remember my Mom loved the music she played and I thought it was boring. Nan and Auntie Alice were much more fun!!!! 

So that is the story of the piano at 9 Bayliss where Cath got her love of music.              

The First Girl

When Cath was born she was the first girl after 4 boys. Michael was the first boy for Margery Catherine Yvonne Smythe Ford but the third boy for John (Jack) Walter Ford. Our father had been married previously and had two sons in that first marriage. We all learned about this much later in our lives and we have never met our half brothers or even know where they are. 

The second boy for Marge and Jack was Peter and he died when he was a few months old in his crib. So when Catherine Esther Ford was born on October 23rd, you can well imagine why she was the "apple of her Daddy's eye" and why she was such a joy to her mother.

When Cath was born the family was living at 9 Bayliss Avenue in Toronto. This home would end up being the only family home all of us had. We never moved once. There were two bedrooms in the bungalow and the bathroom was in the basement. As the family grew the house did not. The only change was to move Michael into the basement and eventually Steve as well when he was old enough. 

Steve was born a couple of years after Cath and I came along six years later. So there were 6 of us living in the little red shack on Bayliss avenue as our Mom used to call it.

Summer Vacations

Summer vacations for the Ford family usually entailed packing up the car for a road trip.  We would make my Dad keep driving until he found a Motel with a pool. The destination I remember us heading to most times was to Ottawa. We made multiple stops along the way and one of the stops was often Kingston as Nan and Auntie Alice would travel there by train and we would meet up with them.

We stayed at the Holiday Inn in Kingston one time and this trip was imprinted in my mind and on my eyebrow. We were out for a walk, heading back to the hotel, and as we crossed the railway tracks, Cath looked down the tracks and thought she saw a train coming. As she was holding my hand she got excited and pulled me along to make me move faster. That is when I tripped and fell hitting my head on the railway track splitting it open. 

There was a lot of blood and much commotion by our parents as to what to do. Go to the hospital or not. Mom said yes Dad said no. In the end Mom won and I ended up with 5 stitches and a scar to remember the day. 

Cath was just looking out for her little sister like she always did.