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.