Friday, March 28, 2008



Our spring melt here in the park's pine forest is progressing painfully slow with temperatures only hovering around the freezing mark during the day. Cloudy days have kept the sun from biting into the snow banks. Still not able to get outside & begin the spring clean up either here or over at Deerpark Lodge. And I do truly enjoy the spring clean up & always look forward to it. In the meantime, boredom prevails so I've decided to add some articles to the blog that I had written previously but had never put in the blog before. This one is entitled, "Me & Queen Elizabeth."

I wrote the article awhile back for CARP's 50+ site when the topic was, "Famous People I Have Met." (first let me say that I have never met any famous people but I've seen a few) Out came my pen & paper & once again I reached back through my memory banks & what's left of my brain data to see who was all there. This is what I managed to retrieve from the mists of time...........

I think it was sometime in the mid fifties & I was probably ten years old or so when I first saw the Queen of England. It was a fleeting glimpse as she & the Prince of Whales passed by in an open car on William Street, Stratford Ontario Canada. But, I was sure she saw me. Afterall, I was a young 10 year old boy with a big imagination so why wouldn't she have seen me. The roadside was jammed with throngs of cheering people as far as I could see & the Queen of England had just become my friend. It would be another 45 years or so before the Queen & I would lay eyes on each other again.

Canadians will recall some of these next names.............
I remember seeing our then Prime Minister, John Diefenbaker when I was a small boy in public school. He stopped in the village of Tavistock Ontario where I grew up & gave a speech by the town's water fountain. I related this story to a friend of mine from Tavy & he said, well don't you remember Pierre Elliott Trudeau coming through town a few weeks later doing the same thing. Alas, I didn't. Must have been one of those days I was playing hooky.

In 1967/68 I was a doorman/car jockey at a then posh Tower Hill apartment building at the corners of St. Clair & Spadina Ave in Toronto. The president of the Canadian Cancer Society lived there & one night held a big entertainment function. Myself & another fellow doorman were at the big front glass doors as the limousines rolled up. We smartly stood at attention & swung open the doors for Princess Margaret & Lord Snowden. I remember how she glowed as she walked by with all her jewels on & how handsome Lord Snowden looked. Later that evening 4 of us had to move a heavy piano from a hallway into the suite where the party was going on because pianist Peter Duchin was playing. There was a Toronto Maple Leafs hockey player there that night as well but not sure who it was. Might have been Carl Brewer.

Sat at a table next to Canadian singer/songwriter Gordon Lightfoot in a little Halifax coffee house back in 1966. I was in the Navy at the time. His career was just in the process of revving up & he was playing there. I remember their table was pretty "lively!!" Saw him once more after that in concert at The Center In the Square in Kitchener, Ontario. I think it was sometime in the eighties.
Saw rompin Ronnie Hawkins at the Stratford Coliseum in the early 60's when he was a really wild & crazy guy. Some members of his band went on to form, "The Band" who in later years backed Bob Dylan.
While living in Stratford Ontario back in the 90's I drove for a company called, The Stratford Airporter taking people to & from Pearson International Airport in Toronto. I drove singer & harpist Loreena McKennit several times as well as another lady from a Canadian group called, Farmer's Daughter. Actors from the Stratford Shakespearian Festival frequently traveled as well. Bill Needles, Martha Henry & Rod Beattie were a few of the travelers.

Saw Johnny Cash & June Carter at Toronto's Ontario Place as well as Tina Turner & Cindy Lauper. Been to concerts in Toronto by, The Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd, ZZ Top, The Eagles, & Neil Young. Saw Roberta Flack on stage at the Festival theater in Stratford. Listened to Moe Kaufman playing, The Swinging Sheppard Blues in Stratford as well.
Back in the 70's & 80's there was a well known stage actress at the festival in Stratford by the name of Pat Galloway. Before moving to Bayfield in 02 I did a lot of grounds work for Pat & her husband Barnhard at their home near St. Marys Ontario. Really, really nice down to earth people. Fellow stage actors William Hutt, Douglas Chamberlain & Douglas Campbell would sometimes be there. In Pat's heyday we heard that there were some pretty lively parties on their estate with various in town Hollywood actors popping in.

Well, I've got a little long winded again here haven't I.

Oh yes, about me & Queen Elizabeth & our second meeting. I think it might have been in the summer of 1998. The Queen was in Stratford again & I heard she would be heading off to Woodstock, Ontario in early afternoon. I knew that I may never see her again so I hopped on my motorcycle & headed over to a spot out in the country along highway 59 just a few miles north of Hickson Ontario. Nice open spot & no throngs of people this time. Finally, the normal traffic going by ended. No cars at all. Waited & waited & then one car went by & few minutes another one followed a few minutes later by another one. This went on for about 5 minutes. Had I missed her?? Then I saw the convoy of cars coming fast. First one, two or three & then there she was & she was sitting by the back window on my side of the road. Light blue outfit with a matching blue hat. I was standing beside my motorcycle as I waved. No mistaking it this time, she looked right at me, but alas, there was no recognition in her eyes from 45 years before. Whoooooooosh, the car was by in seconds & she was gone..................... And that was my little story of, Me & Queen Elizabeth:))

Now, don't you wish you had gone & vacuumed the floor, washed the car or something instead of sitting here reading all this:((

P.S. Meant to mention something to other fellow bloggers about backing up your blogs in case of a meltdown at some point. We hooked up with an online site called Techrigy where they will automatically back up your blog for free up to 50.00MB. You can find them at............................. Nice to have some peace of mind:))

1 comment:

  1. Hi Allan:

    I remember seeing Prime Minister Louis St. Laurent in Tavistock in 1957 and it was a campaign stop during a federal election.I was in grade two or three in Miss Currah's class. We were near Roppel's store. It was Diefenbaker who came a few days later campaigning as leader of the Conservative Party. I remember that he said he had been following St. Laurent and hoped to follow him into office of P.M. which he did as he won the election. I don't ever remember Pierre Trudeau coming to Tavistock as that would be in the late 60s or early 70s.

    I found your article interesting. I was trying to find out how many times the Queen had visited Stratford, as I too remember seeing her in the 50s and also seeing Princess Margaret the year before in Stratford. Someone had said they went to the Train station to see her in the 70s or 80s and I don't remember it at all. I remember 97 when she came to see the redon Festival.

    Anyway, I enjoyed reading about all the famous people you have seen.

    I am Betty Anne Jones (Bagg) and my email is