Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Old Friend Visits

The phone rang, Norma answered and a voice from the past asked, "How do I get to your place?" It was Al Cotton, our friend since the 60's! Al and I worked together in a Vancouver gas station in about 1963. We became friends and I actually met Norma in a roundabout way through Al. He now lives in Kelowna where he runs a sailboat charter business, Go With The Wind Cruises with his 26' MacGregor sailboat, Cat's Ass.

He had been on a solo tour of Northern BC but got chased down to the Island by too much rain in the north and decided to visit Vancouver Island's Long Beach. We enjoyed a couple of beer (only a couple - BIG change from the old days!), a pizza and endless conversation before our age caught up to us and we all headed to bed. Al was on his way to Tofino after breakfast. It was a short but great visit!


  1. Replies
    1. It really was. We have all been friends for over 50 years!

    2. Any winter travel plans yet?

    3. We are awaiting the verdict on Norma's eye operations and on travel insurance costs.

  2. So great to meet up again with old friends, especially beginning from the 1960s. In his teens, Beach use to also work in a gas station around 1961; I think he is a little older than you. Are there any "full service" gas stations still around?

    So, Al is responsible for you two meeting and having a long marriage, thus Norma's big smile.

    1. Gas stations used to be great entry level jobs for young people but self serve has put an end to that! I was earning between $1.10 and $1.40 per hour which was just over minimum wage but I was living at home so my living costs were low. Al shared a rented house with a couple of friends and both of us managed to make a few extra bucks selling parking in the gas station lot after closing time. It was ideally situated very near Vancouver's Queen Elisabeth Theatre and patrons were happy to hand over fifty cents each to park for the evening. The station owner was not interested in offering the service so Al and I showed some initiative and did it ourselves! They had shows two or three nights a week. Our station held 10 - 12 cars and when that filled up there was a small empty lot next door that we helped ourselves to as well. No idea who owned it, we just filled the lots and went home leaving the people to un-park themselves.

      As far as full service stations, there are still a few left. mostly our Co-Op brand stations. Most towns of any size have one of them.

  3. Love meeting up with old friends whenever that happens.