When I was a child, we traveled to Canada often; more often than most kids living in NYC and on Long Island. Our grandfather was born and raised there, so we would visit his sisters and their families as well as going on a summer vacation before returning to school in the fall. Not every year, but almost every other.
Every visit always included dinner at Old Ed’s Warehouse in Toronto. We’d all meet there – aunts, uncles, cousins. It was a fancy restaurant, and men had to wear jackets and ties. It was a steakhouse, and it was misery for my brother, sister, and I. Steaks. No hamburgers, even less chance of cheeseburgers, and absolutely no ketchup. I can still see my sister’s face when we found that out.
My husband and I continued that tradition when we visited Toronto before we got married. We visited my Aunt Goldie, and had dinner at Old Ed’s. It was different since I was ten – they had several sections of the restaurant – steaks, pasta, casual dining, etc. No jackets either. They are closed now, but they were a place that was part of my childhood traditions.
When I was a kid, everyone would gather on the street outside the restaurant in front of Ed’s. You needed reservations. We parked and waited for the rest of the family to arrive.
My aunts, Goldie and Janet were my grandfather’s sisters. He also had a brother, but we didn’t see him very often. I can only remember one time distinctly. Both of them had husbands named Joe. We found this funny. Two Uncle Joe’s. We also had two Aunt Shirleys, two cousin Sharons and more Davids than you could shake a stick at.
When Uncle Joe (Goldie’s husband) arrived he took each of us kids aside, gave us $5 in Canadian money for our own and told us not to tell our parents.
About five minutes later, Uncle Joe (Janet’s husband) took each of us aside, gave us $5 in Canadian money for our own and told us not to tell our parents.
The two of them shared a look and a wink, and the three of us each got $10 to spend on our vacation. I don’t know if my parents ever knew. We were Gerry’s kids, and he was there so often he was a favorite of the family and in addition to all the other ways, we reaped the reward of having a great Dad.