Early Life at 790C, Tavernilla St.
by George Chevalier

In the early 1930s when very few had refrigerators we managed to get by with Ice-Boxes. Every morning the commissary ice wagon would stop at your house to deliver your standing order of a block of ice. It would be hoisted up into the top compartment of the ice-box and my job was to see that the drip pan under the box was kept from spilling over on to the floor. Since an ice-box barely preserved food from spoilage it could not of course deal with ice-cream and so it was bought and brought home for close to immediate consumption. For birthday parties or large dinners where ice-cream was to be served, the commissary would deliver the cream in a large wooden barrel packed with salted ice with your ice-cream in the center in a metal cylinder. The barrel would be placed up on your back steps and when the party goers and diners where observed to be totally preoccupied pilferage from the barrel was not entirely uncommon. I have very vivid memories of the cold showers we as kids had to take every day. With warm weather prevailing the cold water shower was a shock when first you went under. If my memory is correct there was a hot water heater for the kitchen use and for the bath tub but we kids were doomed to the shower and it was cold. In late December when Xmas Trees arrived from the States and the size your parents had ordered was delivered to 790C it went into the shower stall were it was wet down daily to try to preserve it's needles until time to put it up and trim it. You can imagine the jam-up taking a shower during this time and we were relieved when the tree went up. My Father worked full shift work all his career on the Zone and with no air-conditioning it must have been terrible. On rainy days when we played under the house and he was trying to sleep we had to be very careful about the noise we were capable of creating. In keeping with this short wave radio was at last being received from the States and was a popular evening pastime listening to the popular comedy and musical programs of that era. Now you can just picture the bedlam taking place as each family tuned in their favorite programs, turned up the volume to compensate for the fading in and out short wave reception of that time. The sounds would boom and reverberate up and down Tavernilla St.and my Dad in desperation to get sleep before going on the midnight shift devised a program of defensive action. He had a large size oscillating fan that he would turn on himself full blast to beat the heat. He did something to the fan that caused it to project a horrible electronic interference over the neighbors radios when he turned it on in the evening as he went in to catch some sleep. House #789 was the worst for loud radios until Dad turned on his fan and the sounds of radio faded to be replaced briefly by muttered obscenities directed at the unknown assailant who had befouled their radio reception. Much of the time your neighbors suppers were shared by all odor wise and we Protestants received a bit of fish on Friday even if we did not want it. Not to forget the juicy sound of marital quarrels that wafted our way and added spice to the days end.