We decided to go see the house, which Terry lived in with his family from 1953 to 1967 - so his whole childhood. This was Joan's favourite house, good times were had here. I was excited to see it!
We headed out over the Champlain Bridge to Richelieu. The house is right on the Richelieu River. A road goes in front, but the strip of land and waterfront directly in front of the house and across the road goes with the house. Terry had not seen the house in the 44 years since he lived there.
When we arrived, the owners were having a yard sale. This was good - it put them outside so we could talk to them. I snapped a few quick shots first. Between our rusty French and the lady of the house's much better English, we managed to make ourselves understood and explained that Terry had grown up in this house, etc., how good it looks, how we were here for his mother's burial, so we wanted see the old house and area, etc., lots of chatting and then she uttered the words I was so hoping to hear: "Do you want to look inside?" DO we!! I still can't get over her generousity, we got a complete tour and she was so nice.
The house as it looks today. This couple has had the house for just two years and they've done a lot of work on it - it looks fabulous. Lots of character and unique features inside and out that have been beautifully preserved. All the hedge, etc. (and the white picket fence) that were in the front are gone.
Whitegates when the Paveys first bought it, they thinned out some of the growth later, like the tree in the corner front. That's Joan in the driveway. Part of the white gate is showing.
Whitegates in winter. Two Collies in the drive!
Part of the living room today.
The fireplace in the living room as it is today.
The Pavey boys sitting in front of the windows as seen in the living room picture above. L-R Chris, Gord, John and Terry.
Terry's Dad Walter in his chair by the same fireplace as above, the mantle and surround were painted white then. The built-ins are gone, and another window is there now. The same wainscoting is still there, painted a contrasting colour now.
Joan in the living room on the other side of the fireplace. The bottom half of the built-in is still there. The wood floors in the house today are the original wood floors. You can see them in both the old and new pictures.
Terry, John and Gord sitting in front of the same fireplace as above.
Part of the kitchen as it is today. It's a really huge room, with a large eat-in part, and and extra sitting room part to the right. Through the door where the piano is straight ahead used to be the dining room - that piano was left by the Paveys when they moved and is still in the house!
Christmas dinner in that dining room as above. Terry is the little one beside Joan.
Part of the kitchen as it is today.
Walter Pavey with three of the boys and a Collie. If Walter were to look to his left, he would be looking at the kitchen as it is seen in the picture just above. L-R John, Collie, Gord, Terry (and Curious George) with Walter. The one and only TV would be in front of them.
The front porch as it is today.
Walter Pavey and three of the boys (John, Terry, Gord) - with one of the pillars of the porch as above behind them.
The side of the house with the garage. The white gate has been preserved between the house and garage.
The boys and Joan standing in front of the same garage in 1958. Chris, Gord, Joan, John and Terry.
The white gates between the house and garage, seen from the back patio. When we showed interest in these the owner of the house said to us that the house used to be called "White Gates". We just about fell over! We hadn't mentioned a thing about this. I don't know how she knew about the name after 44 years and who-knows-how-many owners of the house. Our French/English exchanges weren't good enough to get into those nuances.
The Richelieu river right across the street. REALLY steep to get down there. Someone has built a deck about half way down. This property also belongs to the the house. I couldn't believe how FAST the water is there. Almost rapids. Terry and his brothers swam there all the time growing up, and lots of it unsupervised. That would never happen today - supervised or not! I couldn't believe they swam in that fast water but he said they were all strong swimmers. I guess so! It was that or drown! When we saw white water just down river that they used to ride inner tubes on, I asked him if he remembers any kids drowning in those days, but he doesn't. The stuff we all used to do! We saw guys with special kayaks, gear, helmets, etc. getting ready to take the same rapids the kids used to inner tube on. Things change!
The steps down to the river in the same spot as above back in Terry's day. The dog even got into the action. Terry is at the bottom, Joan at the top.
Terry standing by the house numbers in 2011. We had looked at old pictures of the house before we left Toronto, and we were taken aback when we realized what the house numbers were (he had forgotten). 2's, 0's and 8's have followed us, and especially him, his whole life. Our current phone number is nothing but 2's, 0's and 8's. Our current house number has 8's and 2, last house a 2, last house phone number 292-6808. His current cell has three 8's and two 2's, my current cell is a 2, two 0's and two 8's - you get the picture.
Terry (closest to numbers) standing beside the Whitegates 2008 house numbers (which were on the post by the gate then) in 1955. Fifty-six years between the two pictures, and a lot of memories.
I will never forget the kindness of this woman to let us explore Terry's old house. This was the highlight of our trip and really meant a lot to him and to me.
Next stop - the West Island.