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Fifty Years of My Life (1939 - 1990)
A Memoir by Jeff R. Noordermeer

My Visit to Canada

Before we drove up to Sudbury I visited several friends of mine who had emigrated to Canada and settled around the Toronto area. I had dated the sister of one of my friends and was very much in love with her when I lived in Holland. He had sponsored his sister to emigrate to Canada. We dated in Holland but when she told me she was going to emigrate to Canada we stayed good friends with each other. I received several letters from Canada, but not knowing that I ever would go to America we lost contact with each other. When I met her brother in Toronto I wanted her address because in my heart I still had a lot of feelings for her. I never knew that she had married until I met her brother. When I visited her house her husband wasn't home, he was at work. As we sat on the couch and we talked about our dating days and how funny life can be. In Holland I hadn't wanted to be too serious with her because she was always such a perfect lady, and I always thought she deserved a lot more in life than I at that moment was not able to giver her. Here she was expecting her first baby. She told me that she met her husband on the ship during her trip to Canada. He was just a hard working man with not too much education. We had never thought that we would ever see each other again. As I left her house I felt a little sad thinking, it could have been me instead of him.

From Toronto we drove to Ottawa and from there to Sudbury. From Ottawa to Sudbury must have been about a 300 mile drive. It's nothing but a straight road and it looks like when you drive on it there seems no end to it. You are driving for miles just to wide-open country. Sudbury looked like a Western cowboy town I had seen at the movies. There were many Chinese inhabitants. Some of them must have been living there for many years, as I noticed that some of the neighborhoods they lived in had Chinese building structures out of wood with Chinese oriental carvings. There were many Chinese restaurants in town. The main industry in Sudbury is the copper mines. As we were visiting the area where the copper mines were operating, I was told that 80% of the world's copper supplies came from Sudbury. The scenery around Sudbury was very bad and very gray looking from all the rocks the mining company has dumped over all those years. There were many Canadian Indians who worked in the copper mines. Since I had worked in the coal mines I was very interested to hear how the working conditions were in a copper mine. Close to the mines was a bar and we decided to have a few beers and we hoped that we might run into one of the men who worked in the mines. We met an Indian who said he worked in the mines. As always when miners get together there is so much to talk about with many glasses of beer. As we were talking and drinking along we noticed that the Indian became drunk. So we decided before we would send the Indian home we would have something to eat in a Chinese restaurant. This way he might sober up a little bit. We all ate a good meal in the Chinese restaurant, but as we were planning to leave I noticed that the Indian started to clean all of his dinner ware with a napkin, and then was putting everything in his coat pocket. Even the salt and pepper shakers he took away. My friend and I, we thought he was just joking when he got up and walked out of the door, but he never returned and we never saw him again. It was very embarrassing to us to explain to the waitress what had happened. She said not to worry as this has happened with other Indians before who had eaten in the restaurant. She told us that many Indians who lived in the Sudbury area were without work and it made some of them steal. My mother's first cousin lived in Sudbury and we spent a couple of days at their home. My mother's cousin always wrote the family in Europe during the Christmas time. She had never met any of the family, so she was thrilled to meet me and wanted me to tell all about them.

From Sudbury back to Toronto was another long drive. We stayed overnight in Toronto with some old friends from Holland. At night they took us to a musical show in the old part of Toronto city. I clearly remember that you could not enter the theater if you didn't wear a white shirt and tie. It was in the summer time and very hot and who wanted to wear a tie? It reminded me of England where they have the same principles. After that trip I visited Canada several more times but always during the summer time. Canada has beautiful sceneries. The Niagara Falls is a beautiful nature scene, and it has to be seen from both border sides during the daytime and at night.

CONTINUED: My trip from Syracuse to New York City
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© Copyright  - Antonio Zamora

- Foreword
- Old Rotterdam
- World War II
- After the War
- Coming to America
- Washington, D.C.
- Southeast Asia
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