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

17 July, 2011


READER RESPONSE:  "Hi Dick. I enjoyed your books on Dresden and Wrights Lane. I too grew up in Dresden. My name is Robert (Bob)Hedden. son of Margaret & Harold Hedden. I grew up in Dresden and now reside in Wallaceburg.  I enjoyed your story about my Dad the local Constable sending you home because you were late.  I knew your Mom from Carr's Drug Store/McTavish.

"I delivered newspapers  and groceries for Gerry Weese and then learned a trade in the meat business from Hugh Farnsworth.  I have very fond memories of my hometown. I have every book published about the town now including yours.  Also old newspapers.  I have thought about organizing what I have and attempting to put together stories of the people I knew growing up.  My sons will kid me about my trips down memory lane with our grand children or whoever will listen to me.  Rosey Johnson mentioned Hook Davis coaching him in one of your blogs.  Hook had a sister Norma who became my mother-in-law. I married her first born daughter, Linda, 44 years ago. 

"It was nice to read Dick Turner's comments.  I am not sure if he still remembers me.  I visited their house on Centre Street when we were kids.  Dick (Turner) and I are about the same age.  It was great to hear their mother is still alive. I have fond memories of their father Roy also.

"Dick Wright keep writing those stories.  It takes you back to a much simpler time."

--Bob Hedden

I am always gratified when I receive these types of comments on my "Dresden blog" and two fairly recently-published books, Wrights Lane...Come On In and Dresden Life Remembered.  Hardly a week goes by that I don't hear from someone completely out of the blue.

Just recently I received surprise coincidental email messages from three (I almost said "boys") let's say middle-aged men who grew up in Dresden in the 1950s and 60s.  They share a number of things in common -- a love of their home town, a compulsion to reminisce and talk about "the good old days", and a belief that I do not remember them when in fact I remember them and their families like it was yesterday.

Bob Hedden, Dick Turner and Dennis Webster are all about the same age and it is only natural to think that an older guy (me, then a teenager) in a small town would not notice them, or even be aware of their existence.  After all, I was admittedly not the most gregarious teen in those days.

The most recent message from Bob Hedden is published above as a case in point.  With great feeling Bob introduces himself and talks about growing up in Dresden, his parents, his first job(s) and a certain young lady with whom he now celebrates 44 years of marriage.  I write this post primarily to prove to Bob (as I have in similar responses to Dick and Dennis *see their comments to the right) that I not only remember him, but a lot of other things that might surprise him.  Here goes...

I remember Bob's parents and grand parents even before he was born.  Harold and Margaret Hedden lived the first few years of their marriage with Margret's parents, the Henderson's.  The Henderson home was on Hughes Street (cor. West Street) across from my Aunt Hattie Sharpe.  As a matter of fact, Margaret went to school with my cousin, Norma Johnston (Sharpe).  Harold, of Irish parentage and originally from Hensall, worked for a while just down the street at the O. and W. McVean (Hub and Spoke) factory before becoming a member of the town's two-man police force.

On hot summer days a tiny diaper-clad Bob could be seen frolicking in a playpen on the Henderson's front lawn and then sprouting up to become a young lad about town as Margaret and Harold added substantially to the family circle.  I am not completely sure, but I think that Bob was the first of at least a half dozen other Hedden siblings. 

Besides my Aunt Hattie, her adult son Jim, and the Baverstock family that rented a portion of her house, I also remember many of the other Hughes Street neighbours in those days, many of which Bob would be familiar with:  The next-door Howells (former police chief), the Cooks, McCrackens, Frasers, Tassies, Andersons, Rigsbys, Weeses (former mayor) and renters the Morgans, Houstens and the other Sharpes, May and Ern.  A little further up Hughes Street were the Brassetts, Martins, Johnsons, Carrs, Rev. Newtons, Morrisons and Aubry Buttler, the Yontz, Slaghts, Goodmans; and last but by no means the least, the Wells and son Keith.  

How am I doing so far, Bob?  Have I got you convinced?

Not much unusual about my recollections, really...It's all part and parcel of life in a small town where everyone knows everyone else.  No need for "Neighbourhood Watch" in those days, it just came naturally.  Of course some of us have longer memories than others and we appreciate opportunities to share them. 

Nothing wrong in revisiting where we came from if it makes us feel good and satisfies a need within us.  As Bob puts it: "It was a much simpler time then!"...and always nice to remember.

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