@ericvance Walton’s Blockchain/ Memory Project ~The Summer of ’69 ~ Pennies And Pitch and Putt in Canada
As kids growing up in Canada, we would wander out on summer adventures, savoring the long days, after enduring the short freezing days of winter. We had no idea where we would end up, and all the time in the world to get there.
When I was 7, I got a real set of kids’ golf clubs a flea market. These were not plastic toys, but had metal shafts and wooden heads. With 5 kids running wild in our yard, and a dog digging holes for us to trip in, I had a driving range to practice my game on.
One day my middle sister was worried about getting a golf ball in the head, and said: “you should go to the pitch and putt and do that, not in the yard!” I was intrigued. “Hmm? What is a pitch and putt?” I asked. “A small golf course.” said the 5 year older girl. “It’s really far away and you would have to pay for both of us to get in if you want me to take you.”
Bribe accepted. “Sure! I got tons of money”. I was referring to the black beaded drawstring purse on my dresser that was stuffed with coins. Each week, my eldest brother would take my two big silver coins I got for allowance and exchange them for a handful of smaller brown coins.
The next Saturday morning, we headed out from our south Vancouver Fraserview neighborhood on the four mile walk to Queen Elizabeth Park Pitch and Putt. My little golf bag and purse weighed more and more the farther we walked. The tar on the road was softening in the July heat, and the sun beamed into our eyes. We planned our route so we would pass by the drinking fountains at Memorial Park, near the busy 41st Ave.
As we crossed 41st Ave, my golf bag started sliding down my arm and before I could rescue it, it snagged on the drawstring of my purse, dumping the contents of the purse out into the intersection. When we got to the other side, our heads hung low as the shiny copper pile of pitch and putt pennies was flattened by passing cars.
Our only hope was to sprint out to the road like roadrunners, dodge oncoming cars, jump down, grab handfuls of coins and race back to the curb. We ran like coyotes were after us, and cheered each other on for making it back to the curb alive! It was more exhilarating than sports day! When we scooped the last red cent, we rolled on the grass laughing. Of all places to spill the pennies!!!!
A then and now view from Queen Elizabeth Park Pitch and Putt which was a rock quarry before being turned into a park, and the view from it today.
We reached Queen Elizabeth Park, and faced the climb up the mountain to the little emerald course. The park was in the middle of Vancouver, the highest point in the city, 500 feet above sea level. Growing pains hit my legs as I ascended “Little Mountain”. At last, we exchanged the road tarred pennies for my sister's rental clubs and our green fees.
After we teed off, we couldn’t find our golf balls on the fairway, and in the rocky creek on the left side of the grass heading downhill were our golf balls in water at the bottom. In we go! We splash around, and fish out our balls, and drip dry our clothes on the way to the next tee. The freezing oasis refreshes my legs and makes me feel better about the 4 mile walk to get us back home by dinner time.
Before we head home, we twirl in circles on top of the mountain like ballerinas with a panoramic view of Vancouver. I had never seen anything this beautiful in my life so far. Ships in the harbor, skyscrapers, the north shore mountains, and the forest of trees at Stanley Park.
My purse was empty, but my memory was full of the stuff of dreams. Making grandchildren stories about back in the day when Canada was still minting pennies. One day I will tell the tale about two daredevils on a golf trip gone wrong who made the funnest memory of that summer.
If you want to enter your own blockchain memory story, in @ericvancewalton's contest here is a link to it:
image credits - gif by giphy, purse by Pixabay, and QET Park photo by Jason Do Carmo/ BC Magazine. Link to article here: https://www.bcmag.ca/now-and-then-historic-photographs-of-vancouver-recreated/