I remember you, Jimmy Wallace
I was cleaning out boxes of “stuff” in my office a few weeks ago and came across an old grade four class picture. One of the students had a small but still visible x above his face. And I remembered – yet again – the story of my best buddy Jimmy.
Jimmy was killed by a car after he rode his bike down the Dunbarton Church driveway out onto Highway 2. The driver never stood a chance of stopping.
We were young and foolish as most 8-year-old boys are and one of the favourite sports of our friend-group was to ride our bikes down the steep driveway beside the Dunbarton United Church to get up a good head of speed.
We’d barrel out the driveway onto the old Highway 2, make a perilous high speed, right-hand turn and continue down the highway sloping to the west, pedalling for all we were worth on our old single-speed bikes. It was the fastest any of us could get even compared to the hill on the old Liverpool Road on the eastern side of Toronto.
Jimmy ran out of luck.
A car appeared just as he reached the highway and there was no way for that car to stop. Jimmy was killed instantly.
But I remember you, Jimmy Wallace.
Jimmy lived in an old farmhouse just east of Liverpool Road on the outskirts of Toronto. The big old barn behind the house was a favourite place to play, and we’d walk on the beams and swing on a thick rope tied to a high beam to Tarzan into a pile of straw left on the floor.
The house is long gone and the surrounding fields are now subdivisions. Even the monstrous hill we used to toboggan down has been bulldozed down for housing.
But I remember you, Jimmy Wallace
I remember we climbed apple trees and feasted.
We built a tree house in a walnut tree just down from my house.
Drove our bikes down a hill in the walnut tree field to careen off a bump at the bottom to see if we could get some “air”.
We Even Had A Fight
We even had a fight on our front lawn, which meant the two of us wrestling around for a few minutes before my mom yelled at us and told us to stop. It took us a few days to sort it out, but we were friends again within a week.
Jimmy’s older brother Beverly was an “older brother pain in the anatomy” as are all older brothers.
Jimmy’s mom was as welcoming as other mothers, but there was an air of sadness about her I didn’t understand. We never talked about his dad, who wasn’t there.
But this morning, I remember you, Jimmy Wallace.
p.s. None of us ever drove our bikes down the church driveway again. And my parents started driving me to cub scouts, so I didn’t ride my bike on that highway.