Legends of Myself 47

Posted on August 10, 2012


Continued from Legends of Myself 46

47.  Prince Rupert, 1958:  The End of Candy George

But before Tat departs to save Port Essington, there is one story yet to tell about Candy George.

Now how Candy George came about, I couldn’t know.  Old Pop took on that name and role sometime after I departed to Vancouver, and somewhat of a consequence of moving into his new apartments on Eighth Avenue where I eventually and for a time went to live with him.  There were two years and Granny’s death in-between.

Perhaps after his family’s departure, and the deeper, certain loneliness of Granny Alice’s death, Candy George became necessary.  Pop needed high, excited voices at his door to remind him of joy.

I can never know, merely speculate, about beginnings.  But as to what ended things, that is quite clear.  I was there that day.

The boy who brought it about was Tsimshian, a year or two older than me, and he lived a floor below towards the back, on the same side of the building as mine and Old Pop’s apartment.  I knew his name then, but I have long forgotten.

When he got the idea to come calling on Candy George is impossible to say.  It could have been at home.  It could have been when he got outside his door.  But that idea must have come to him powerfully.

The boy was erupting from the general direction of his own door when I first sighted him.  You could theoretically pass from floor to floor by climbing up and down the fire escape ladder at the back, but the more practical route was usually by way of the stairs at the front of the yard.  When he emerged into my view, climbing the yard to the stairs, the boy was already going full speed.  He hardly slowed down as he turned left to climb the stairs, left again as he stomped across the little wooden footbridge that led from the street to the second floor, left again towards the corner of the building.  I don’t think he even noticed me as he passed, his mind on candy, arriving at the corner of the building and shouting from there, my grandfather’s door now in sight, “Got any candy, George?”

He was saying these words as he toppled.  They might have even dopplered a little as momentum fishtailed him over the railing, and he fell from view.

I’ve never been inclined to looky-loo an accident, and that was true even then.  I ran to the railing to see the boy down below, and I remember him lying there on his stomach moaning.  He had fallen about 12 or 14 feet.  Almost as soon as I got to the rail, as quickly as that was, adults were already clustering to the scene.  I don’t think I stayed around to watch.  My memory of the accident doesn’t persist much past that glimpse.  But I was to witness my grandfather’s response to it again and again.

After that day, when the children came to Candy George’s door, he was no longer there offering them candy.  Just an increasingly cranky old man chasing them away.

“Got any candy, George?”

“You kids go away.  There’s no more candy here.”

Even the little Tsimshian boy appeared, his arm still in a cast.

“Oh, come on, George.”

He didn’t blame my grandfather.  None of the children did.

But my grandfather only said, “Don’t come around here any more.  There’s no more candy here.”

It was difficult for the children to believe, I guess, and no amount of crankiness could spoil the hope of Candy George.  Despite many refusals and repeats of those refusals, every once in a while someone would forget, or get hopeful, and come knocking again.

But it actually was true.  I was as sad as anyone, although I had personally lost nothing.  Candy George was gone.  Only George was left.  And there really was no more candy.

Continued @ Legends of Myself 48

Posted in: autobiography