Friday, September 16, 2016

boyhood sketch 19. LEATHER MOUNTAIN

Bicycles got us anywhere and everywhere. We explored everything. Life for a kid on a bike was fantastic. St. Catharines is known for the canal systems that for the past two hundred years have joined Lakes Erie and Ontario and provided arteries for the shipment of goods. Four distinct canal systems operated during those years, each larger and more sophisticated than the previous ones. A very old and unused version once ran behind St. Paul Street, the mai
n artery in downtown St. Catharines. The stores, apartments and factories that fronted on St. Paul Street all had rear accesses, storage and garbage and parking areas. One of the businesses was a leather goods store. All manner of leather products were made there, jackets, belts, bags, shoes. Behind it, over the years, a discard of leather scraps had grown into a hill twenty feet tall. We found it. We, meaning my friends and me. We climbed it, rolled down it, picked through it, and scared the rats from underneath it. From it we made our own leather bracelets, knife sheaths, and leather pads for sling shots.

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