Friday, April 3, 2009

Heritage: No Generation Gap in Swansea

George Jardine presented to the Swansea Historical Society with musical accompaniment from Flo Thompson on 1-April-2009

TORONTO, ONTARIO - I have to admit that I wasn't especially looking forward to this month's Swansea Historical Society meeting. The newsletter stated that George E. Jardine would be speaking about his book, "Becoming Me: As I Think It Happened, Growing Up in West Toronto in the Mid-Twentieth Century". I figured I might pick up a few historical tidbits, but would likely have a hard time relating to his stories, since I am only a recent arrival in Toronto.

Yet, as Jardine started to read some excerpts from his memoir, I did start to find some things I could relate to. In the first section of his presentation, he spoke of various early experiences, including his time spent listening to the radio for entertainment and of the value of radio drama. When he broke to take comments and solicit the reminiscence of others in the audience, I was surprised to find everyone focus on the radio topic, speaking of their favorite shows and sharing how they still listened to such shows. It is no wonder my favorite Imagination Theater radio show is so popular--just about every person in the room had a favorite radio drama.

George Jardine spoke about his experiences growing up in West Toronto to the Swansea Historical Society on 1-April-2009

During his second section, he spoke of various activities around West Toronto including going to the West Toronto train station and the various places he could go on a day trip from Toronto by train in that era. Again, that was the aspect that the audience latched on to--the various places they had gone by train, the punctuality of the trains of the era, and how they missed that form of public transportation. Clearly, the people in this room thought about the same way I did about the utility of railroads as transportation!

After a break for a sing-a-long of "No Man Is An Island" based on the John Donne poem, Jardine continued into other portions of his life, including some opinions based on his life experiences. None of it drew the kind of audience response that radio dramas and railroad sections had done.

The audience at the Swansea Historical Society rose to sing along with speaker and author George Jardine on 1-April-2009

There may be a generation gap between many other members of the Swansea Historical Society and me, but there's no generation gap in our attitudes about radio and railroads, and it took George Jardine's presentation to make that clear.

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