Coronation Day

It’s June 2, 1953 and the citizens of Blackville are celebrating Coronation Day – the day Princess Elizabeth of England is crowned queen. In this third installment of “Memories of a Boy Growing Up in Blackville”, Pat Fournier recalls the festivities of that day, along with recollections of the milkman Mr. Vickers, Jim MacKenzie’s horse and wagon, and the day my grandfather Stan brought home his beloved dog, Laddie.

Coronation Day
Written by Pat Fournier

Winter 1952 – five years old
I was playing outside in the snow, when Mr. Vickers came by in his milk delivery wagon.  He made the horse stop in front of our house, reached in back of the milk wagon for a bottle of milk, and looked down at me.  “Hey, Fornjoe!” he said.  He always called me ‘Fornjoe’ when he came by in his wagon to deliver our milk.

Milk wagon similar to what Mr. Vickers drove.  If the glass bottles of milk were left out in the cold, the milk would freeze, and the slushy cream would push the cardboard cap up out of the bottle.
Milk wagon similar to what Mr. Vickers drove. If the glass bottles of milk were left out in the cold, the milk would freeze, and the slushy cream would push the cardboard cap up out of the bottle.

June 2, 1953 – six years old
It was Coronation Day.  Princess Elizabeth was crowned queen in England, and Canadians were celebrating, along with people throughout the British Commonwealth.  Funny, but at first I thought everyone was saying ‘Carnation Day’, and it had something to do with the Carnation canned milk that I used to mix with water to make a glass of milk to drink with my meals!

There were all kinds of celebrations going on in Blackville, and one of them was a tricycle parade for the little kids.  I had a little red tricycle that Dad got second hand from somewhere at the Renous ammunition depot where he worked, and he and Mom trimmed it with ribbons threaded through the front wheel spokes and around the handlebars.  A bunch of coloured balloons were tied to the end of the handlebars and to the back running board.

The little kids tricycle parade was a competition that was held on the road by Fred Crawford’s garage, where we drove our tricycles around and around in a circle while someone judged whose tricycle was decorated the best.  But there was a little pale faced girl on her tricycle right behind me, and she kept busting the balloons hanging from the back of my tricycle by butting into them with the big front tire of her tricycle.  I kept looking back at her, and wondering why she was purposely doing that, and ruining my decorations.  I don’t know if I didn’t win the contest because my tricycle was trailing a bunch of busted balloons hanging limply from the strings tied to the running board, but they sure didn’t help!  And I remember wondering why her mother or father didn’t make her stop, because that was not a very nice thing to do!

July 1953 – six years old
Uncle Stan got Jim MacKenzie to drive down to the Blackville train station with his horse and buckboard wagon to pick up a big wooden crate that he had delivered.  We all gathered around in Stan’s front yard as he opened the crate, which had some boards removed to let the air in – – because there was a dog inside!  I remember Stan saying it was a Newfoundland purebred dog, and would be a great pet.  After Stan pulled the front of the crate off, the big black dog barked, and then cautiously walked out of the crate.  Stan called the dog Laddie.  He proved to be a very good pet, and spent his life watching over the McLaughlin family.

Jim MacKenzie’s buckboard wagon was very much like the wagon shown above, and the dog looks very much like Laddie.
Jim MacKenzie’s buckboard wagon was very much like the wagon shown above, and the dog looks very much like Laddie.

Click here for more installments of “Memories of a Boy Growing Up in Blackville”.

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