By Richard Valeriote
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Extra info for Alice Street: A Memoir
A car stopped, and we hopped in, introducing ourselves and explaining to the driver that I was ﬁnishing up my undergraduate studies and planned to go on to medical school. The driver said he was going to McGill as well and introduced himself as Ray Lawson, a professor of surgery at McGill Medical School. Then he said, “Did you say Valeriote? That’s an unusual name. ” “For Heaven’s sake. ” I was stunned to hear a total stranger calling Silvio by his family nickname. Dr Lawson said he had been the commander of See’s army division when See signed up.
You save a nickel every week for the church poorbox. ” Thus, at the age of ten I had ofﬁcially become an indentured servant, $42 in debt. But I soon grew accustomed to working in My Second Encounter with Death / 29 the family business. The presumption that youngsters should contribute to the family’s welfare was immigrant thinking and this sort of arrangement has fallen out of fashion. But it did teach me business skills at an early age. One of my chores was restocking the potato display in the middle of the store, which required lugging heavy sacks of spuds.
I was given a broom and vacuum cleaner and put to work. The other boys cleaned the kitchen, some dusted, some collected and took out garbage. After lunch, we charity cases got to participate in sports with the paying clientele and then back to dinner and bed. I was happily exhausted that night. The next day was a repeat, except the job that morning was to empty the “honey buckets” – the latrine pails. The latrine was built on a hillside, and you entered on the uphill side. Inside My Second Encounter with Death / 27 was a long bench with a series of holes where you sat to do your business, into those pails.
Alice Street: A Memoir by Richard Valeriote