~ St. Catharines' Wartime Neighbourhoods

The Browns – 21 Sandown St.

This photo is from Darlene Brown's 5th Birthday at 21 Sandown St. Darlene is second from the left and her good friend Ann Ward is in the front row, third from the right. Others at the party: Donna and Janice Greenhead, Marlene Severy, Rochelle Rickes, Margie Shinkaruk, Elaine Shepard, Marilyn McPherson, Pat Parent, Beverley Howe and Sharon O'Brien

From the St.Catharines Standard – Monday February 22, 2010

If anyone has a deep, personal connection with a St. Catharines wartime house, it’s Darlene Erskine.

When she was born in 1945, there was only one telephone in the neighbourhood surrounding her parents’ house at 21 Sandown St.

Her mother went into labour that summer and gave a female neighbour a nickel to call a doctor at the phone booth at Rolls Avenue and Doncaster Boulevard.

“She put the nickel in her pocket and jogged to the phone booth on a hot July 21 day,” Erskine said, taking in a photo exhibit of wartime houses at St. Catharines city hall. “When she got to the phone booth, the nickel had jumped out of her pocket.”

She ran back to the house, but it was too late.

The two women delivered Erskine in a back bedroom of the home.

“When my father came home for lunch, there I was.”

Erskine remembers immaculately kept yards as children played kick the can and skipped throughout the neighbourhood.

“All of the kids grew up together and loved each other,” said Erskine, whose mother lived in the house until her death last year.

“When the lights came on, you went home. When the street lights came on, that was the end of the game.”