Uncle Bob’s family and the family of Howard Fowler rented a summer vacation cabin at Crystal Beach in Fort Erie, Ontario. Bob and Howard drove to work at their jobs near Lewiston, NY every day. Bob and Howard were always joking around and trying to get the best of each other. I was riding in the back seat when Uncle Bob motioned at me and in a half whisper, told me to hold on. Howard’s head was nodding around from the motion of the car as he dozed off. Uncle Bob slammed on the brakes while doing about fifty miles an hour. With the tires screeching he hollered, “Hold On!! Look Out!!” Poor Howard was thrown up against the dash and awakened in the middle of the skid while clawing away at an invisible enemy. Uncle Bob let off the brakes with a roaring laugh. On another day Howard was driving and Uncle Bob was nodding off in the passenger seat. Bob’s chin was on his chest as his head rolled back and forth. This time it was Howard’s turn. He motioned for me to hold on as he hit the brakes pretty hard and snapped the steering wheel to the left. His holler and subsequent laugh came as Uncle Bob’s head bounced off the passenger window. The amazing thing was the fact that they never hurt each other. All I could do was sit in the back seat and enjoy the show.
We were all on the beach around mid morning of a beautiful summer day. We would throw a small can filled with sand out into deep water and race to see who could find it. A man walking along the beach approached Aunt Ida. He had lost an expensive watch while swimming. He would pay a reward if anyone found it. He left a note with directions to locate him should anyone find the watch. Every teen on the beach searched for his watch with no luck. While looking for our small can I found the watch laying on the bottom. When diving for a glimmer of the can it turned out to be the watch. The man shook my hand and thanked me for returning his watch. He pulled out his wallet and gave me a Canadian twenty dollar bill. In 1960’s a twenty dollar bill was a lot of money for a kid.
My first purchase was firecrackers which were sold legally. When Uncle Bob and Howard got home from work Howard borrowed a package of my firecrackers. Thirteen people gathered around the big dining table in the cabin enjoying dinner. Howard lit the package of firecrackers and dropped them on the floor under the table in the middle of the meal. The chaos only lasted a couple minutes and he got a big laugh out of it.
The days spent at Crystal Beach are a great memory…………..but they can’t compete with the fun of traveling back and forth with Uncle Bob and Howard.