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The Hunchback Lives!

:: My mother offers another interesting tale from her childhood. She lived on Selkirk Avenue, in the north end of Winnipeg, in the 1930s and 40s.

    On Wednesday nights at our local theatre, which was called the Palace, they would give out dishes, which every woman in the neighbourhood had to have. They would go every week until they had collected the entire set. So after my father would eat his supper, my mother and he would leave for the show.

    My sister Alice, who was the oldest of my brothers and sisters, was always in charge of babysitting my brother Roland, me, and the youngest member of our family, Carol. One Wednesday night, my sister Alice got the brainy idea that my brother Roland should dress up like the Hunchback of Notre Dame, and lie in wait between our house and the building next door. As soon as he would see a woman coming down the street, he would jump out from behind the building, and with a pillow stuffed in the back of his shirt, he would slither out from his hiding place looking very scary and making weird noises. Of course it was dark out, and this just added to the fun. We’d be huddled upstairs, looking out our parents’ bedroom window, killing ourselves laughing, as one woman after another would run off screaming.

    After scaring off two or three women, he came back in, and we all tried to act as if nothing happened. Had my parents ever found out, we would have been given the what for, believe me. What seemed hilarious back then no longer seems quite so funny to me today. If someone were to do this to me now I would probably have a cardiac arrest as I tend to scare quite easily.

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