Point Road at Pembina, Endlessly

In the spring of 1965, Herman’s Hermits were briefly bigger than the Beatles, and Glenn Templeton forced me to join him on a double date. Being twelve, and a young twelve at that, I understood that “dating” was really the preserve of the big kids, like Wally Cleaver and Patty Duke. I didn’t feel too put upon, though, because my date, Yvonne Kebalo, was pretty and bright and had hair down to her waist. But really, the whole thing was an elaborate pretext for Glenn to spend time with Jerri-Lynn Barrett, who was, I think, a year older than us, and possibly unavailable to Glenn in other than the innocent context of a double date. She could display a set of braces like nobody’s business, though, and I’m sure most of our classmates wished they too could have had misaligned teeth.
We went 5-pin bowling at Garry Bowl, had a late lunch at Chicken Delight, and walked home. Glenn and I sang personalized versions of Mrs Brown You’ve Got a Lovely Daughter along the way. I moved away later that year, and never saw Glenn again. But I never forgot him, and how he introduced me to a new stage of life. He died last year; I hope he got to see Jerri-Lynn again.
Garry Bowl.  Although the merchandise and dream-laden 1100-block  Pembina Highway of my childhood is now a desolate biggish-block near-nothingness, the Garry Bowl building still stands, at the intersection with Point Road.
It was once the Garry Theatre. When I was 5, my brother pulled me on a toboggan two miles there and back to see Bambi. I didn’t freak out, as everyone claims to have done during the fire scenes. Possibly I was more frightened of Mr Douglas (imagine a malign Daddy Warbucks), the live-in manager of the Garry Theatre and, as it evolved, Garry Bowl and then Garry Billiards: whatever succeeding sub-generations needed it to be.. Now it is a non-chain pizza joint, a perfectly worthy re-purposing of what must by now be an official Heritage Building, despite its utter lack of architectural merit. If Mr Douglas is still there, he’ll be about 125, or maybe 350-ish or more. Sometimes I think both he and that indestructible and evolving little building are just biding their time until Stephen King comes along to lock them into a novel.

8 thoughts on “Point Road at Pembina, Endlessly

  1. Kirstin Howard

    Oh yay, happy days. Thanks so much for writing this. More please.

    It was good to see you recently. I’m coming down I. October, I hope. It would be really good to see you again. I’d also like to be able to help you in any way I can. Is there anything I can do?

    Looking forward to seeing you soon and to loads more posts. You are a great writer. Kirstin

    Sent from my iPhone


  2. Hi Bill, Great story….I enjoy your work. Did I mention, I must know you? Although it was a long time ago:) I too went to Ralph Maybank School in 59-60 and hung out at Ringersand even watched Bambi at the Garry Theatre. Scared me to death:)Played little league and did the scout thing. I lived on Vincent Street.Small world…It was an interesting time.

    Keep up the good work.  All the best,David

    • Maybe you were a year ahead of or behind me. I did half a year of Grade 2 with Mrs Daly at Ralph Maybank, then we moved across the highway to the General Byng zone, and it may as well have been a different planet. I remember that because Vincent and Dixon weren’t called Bays, they seemed a bit exotic. I played 2B/LF/RF for the Colts in Little League 1964, and also was in Scouts at Windermere Church; presumably you were at Westridge.

  3. Sarah Galvin

    Nice to hear from your Winnipegland, Hope all is well in NZ. I tried to comment on your blog but it was rejected and have no patience to figure out why. Sarah


  4. Sue

    Hi Bill, thanks for posting about your “double date”. I remember seeing Bambi at the Garry and was confused that it was sunny and bright when I went in but dark when I came out! Bambi scared me to death. The Garry was one of the cinemas that had a Crying Room at the top row. I thought it was where you sat during a sad movie, but apparently, it was for parents with crying babies. Mrs. Daly was my Grade 2 teacher and I stayed in touch with her son Donald.

    • Sue

      I think the building has been torn down Roger. It may have been where Shoppers is not. Not sure. It became a bowling alley after the cinema shut down.

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