Sharing with you things that are on my mind...Maybe yours too. Come back to Wrights Lane for a visit anytime!

11 March, 2009

A NICE CHAT WITH AN OLD DRESDENITE


If you are not a former Dresdenite, you do not have to read this item. It is just another in a long list of pleasant surprises I have had since launching Wrights Lane and accompanying site Dresden: Father and Son Turn Back the Clock.
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(Gary Fraser is shown in the small photo above with his grandson, Liam.)
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I just got off the phone after a 20-minute conversation with Gary Fraser who lived in Dresden as a young lad, 1946 to 1955. He was calling from Southern California on his nickle. Gary's father Harry was a prominent businessman who operated a dry goods/drapery store business in downtown Dresden.
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We have been exchanging email messages since late last year, but this was our first opportunity to chat over the phone. Our conversation was wide ranging and included an odd collection of names from the past such as Roy Stevenson, Christine and Brian Perry, the Cook family, Dave McCracken, Don Coke, Myrtle Brown, Sally King, Joe Harret, Eric Simpson, Bob Peters and Bruce Huff.
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Gary even told me an amazing story about a horse he once owned by the name of "Doc" (named after veterinarian Dr. Boylen). It seems that as a young Walpole Island stallion, Doc was being loaded on a truck destined for the glue factory when he resisted capture and injured himself so severely that he had to be left behind. That's when Dr. Boylen came to his rescue and eventually nursed him back to health.
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That was only the beginning of the Doc story, but I will not take it any further because Gary is very tempted to write his own story about it and it is his to tell like nobody else could.
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Gary and Doc were popular regulars at area fall fairs and horse shows for quite a few years, before his interest turned to "girls and cars" (Gary, that is, not Doc). I well remember my friend Joe Carr and his "Blackie", followed not too long after by Gary and Doc, drawing appreciative applause from the crowded grandstands. If I remember correctly, both Joe and Gary rode bareback too.
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Gary moved to Sarnia with his family and finished high school there in 1958. He subsequently lived in Sault Ste Marie, Winnipeg, Calgary and Vancouver. Along the way the Frasers had four children, two boys and two girls. He moved from Vancouver to Southern California in late 1995 where he met and married his beautiful bride, Sue. He continues to operate a successful concrete pump business in what he calls "semi retirement". The current recession has forced him to become more active in the daily operation of the business than he had planned.
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As much as he has moved across the country in the past 50 years, Gary reserves a soft spot in his heart for Dresden. He has even attended several Lambton Kent District High School reunions and loves to talk old times. I look forward to more chats with him in the future. There's a whole bunch of other Dresden names that we didn't get to.

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