Jeanne LeBer NDP Office In Verdun

Was delighted to see the location (storefront on the left) of the NDP election headquarters for Jeanne LeBer on Verdun avenue. It had been a driving school for many years but for some people of my generation it was known simply as Pops, basically a candy store with some convenience items, even though “Pop” and his wife could barely speak a word of English and most of the kids hanging out were English. There was always some kind of cat and mouse going on between them and the kids – would be artful dodgers trying to get away with stuff under Pop and the wife’s careful eyes. They lived in the back which was still fairly common in those days, the mid 60’s. It was a candy store at first and had a pinball machine which was pretty popular. It was an event when a new machine came in and all the experts were determined to find out how much tilt it could take and whatever little secrets to success there were in getting to be successful with the game. You could buy cigarettes two for a nickel. Eventually Pop and his wife turned the place into a Casse Croute that sold hot dogs, sandwiches, grilled cheeses, and the like, but no French Fries because they couldn’t get the proper ventilation system installed. I guess we were outgrowing the place by that time. Those were good times. Hanging outside of Pop’s meant you were a part of something, you had friends and acquaintances,and maybe even enemies who walked by on the other side of the street, and a little window on the world as you awkwardly went through puberty into the ridiculously exciting teenage years.

The store on the right was known as Currie’s, a family run business. This was just before depanneurs, as we know them today, began to become the dominant form. Stores that sold beer were also usually butcher shops, and they could get you good deals on things like large bags of potatoes. Some people would get most of their grocery orders from these kinds of places – you could just phone and get it delivered, usually without having to give your address, they knew who you were. One of Currie’s delivery guys was famous locally as much for drinking beer as he was for delivering it – a man in his mid 20’s who thought he had died and gone to heaven with that job, they pay you to bring people beer! Many years later I saw that guy on Ste Catherine street and he was quite drunk and panhandling. He asked me for some change and I just shrugged, not really wanting to get involved with him at all. Relieved to be past him, I continued to walk only to hear a loud voice behind me yell, “Then go back to Verdun ya fucking bum!” Who would have guessed he would remember me who had hung out at Pop’s when I was around 12 years old?
Yea, there was plenty of characters around in those days.
It was also when suburban shopping malls, fast food chains, and the early versions of big box grocery stores were beginning to appear. Soon to be gone were the Currie’s and most like them, though some survived until the late 70’s. End of an era in many ways as we pushed forward towards less and less personal service, and ultimately, less of a community that interacted with and spread out from these simple hangouts.

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4 responses to “Jeanne LeBer NDP Office In Verdun

  1. To bob: there’re still “beer delivery guys on their bicycles” here in Verdun. Very busy, too when the welfare cheques come in. Guess it’s still a ‘wanking class’ neighbourhood.

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