IN 1943, the McLintock family, including 15-yearold Ian, boarded the Coquihalla train, leaving their hometown, Coleman Alta., for a new life on the coast.
With the Second World War on, jobs and housing were scarce.
In West Vancouver, families lived in summer cottages or squatted in shacks on the beach. The McLintocks fared better: a storefront on Marine Drive.
Ian and his wife Gwynn recall the businesses along the south side of that block of Ambleside: the Rexall Drug store anchored the 14th Street corner; next came popular Lou the barber, whom everyone went to for haircuts; the McLintock's storefront home, Bender's Café, another vacant storefront next to the alley that led to Bellevue Avenue; then Fleming's Hardware and Greenwood's general store, a bank, the Bluebird confectionery, Bennett's Bakery and a gas station.
In 1945, the family moved from a second storefront dwelling on Marine Drive.
Their new home at 1347 Clyde Ave. came thanks to Ian's father's weekend employer, Mr. Larson, a landscaper, who bought the house and sold it to the McLintocks.
Young Ian's attendance at West Vancouver high school on Inglewood Avenue was sporadic. "I was a great one for taking off," he says.
There was just so much to do, including swimming at Ambleside and Dundarave, and hiking, skiing and skijumping with his pal, Don Fearnside, on Hollyburn Mountain.
"We boys would tamp down the snow on the ski hill, getting it in shape for the big ski-jumpers," he says.
After a movie at the Hollyburn Theatre, everyone hung out at the Hollyburn Grill or enjoyed fudgiewudgies at the Penguin. A fudgie-wudgie is a soft ice cream layered with chocolate sauce and served in a tulipshaped glass dish that at the time cost 12 cents.
Ian paid for these pleasures by delivering prescriptions from the Rexall - 15 cents per delivery - on his bicycle.
"When you've pedalled a bike to the top of Sentinel Hill," he laughs, "you know you've pedalled a bike."
Waiting on deliveries, Ian would pass cigarettes through the side window to people coming from the ferry dock or the Blue Bus terminal.
"They'd give me the money and I'd give it to Mac (McNeil, the pharmacist) to ring into the cash register. Eventually, I got onto the cash register," he says.
Ian kept that job even after he was hired on at the shipyards in 1944. He tried for a spot as a welder's helper.
"I was five foot one-anda-half inches," he says. "The welding foreman, a Russian, looked me over and said, 'Go home, boy. Eat lotsa eggs, come back next year.'"
He went to work as a passer boy - height not required - to catch hot rivets in a bucket. Riveters, the "head sharangs" on the four-man welding crew, earned $2 an hour; passers earned 52 cents. It was a good wage, Ian recalls. "You could buy a bag of jelly beans for five cents," he says.
That wage dropped to 16 cents an hour when he apprenticed as a fittermachinist, rising after six months to 32 cents and the work was more interesting.
"Burrard had four 'ways' going and more across at B.C. Marine near Ballantyne Pier," says Ian. "Learning two jobs got me working all around, in the shop on machines or on the hulls and out on the boats.
"Sid Long, chief engineer in charge of the steam plant and of us, let me go on the trial runs for the new ships out in Georgia Strait.
We'd check the bearings and the boilers, measure the temperatures and record them. The Park ships, what we in the yard called them, named for Canadian parks, had four-inch guns mounted fore and aft. We tested them too."
There were guns on Ambleside beach also: four anti-aircraft guns guarded by soldiers from the army camp.
Once in a while, a plane would fly overhead pulling a target and the guns would fire, frightening the neighbourhood dogs.
"I worried about the pilot," recalls Ian. "You'd see a big puff of smoke close to the plane and not very close to the target."
One day, Ian saw Don's sister, Gwynn, walking by. Acting on a chivalrous impulse, he escorted her past the army camp to her home on Marine Drive. Years later, the two met again and married, but that's another story. Laura Anderson works with and for seniors on the North Shore. For more information, contact her by phone at 778279-2275 or email her at email@example.com.