Stewart St. houses/best divorce party ever
I'm not quite sure if this is going to end up in the "childhood memories of Nanaimo thread", or the original--sorry! Probably truly belongs in "Nanaimo History" (of a sort!)
Originally Posted by sistercedar
I remember some of them, but most were gone by the time I moved to Nanaimo. Two or three of them had been put together into a really great restaurant called Tio's Little Place, which was one of "the" places to eat. (Another great place to eat was the Yoshidas' Grotto, also on Stewart, which is now headquarters for the BC Ferry Workers' and Maritime Union.)
At Tio's, when you walked from area to area, you could see where some of those old houses had been joined together. They basically just clung to the shore. I'll never forget Tio's, because a group of my girl friends put on a 'Happy Divorce" dinner for me there. It grew so large that a lot of the other diners that night just gave up and joined in. Among other attractions was a really cute Russian waiter (don't know how he got to Canada, the Cold War was still on!) who entertained us by rolling shot glasses of vodka across his cheek and then grabbing them in his teeth, tipping his head, and downing the vodka. Since the family of one of my girlfriends had fled Russia during the Communist Revolution (1917) and she spoke Russian, things got very merry, including dancing on the tables, with Gabriel the waiter doing those squatting down and kicking out your legs dances on the tables. (Sorry for the description, this is the best I could do.) A fair number of us joined in the table dancing, but didn't even try the Russian dance.
I arrived at the party pretty merry already, because after my divorce hearing, I'd strolled from the court house down the street to a restaurant called Chez Michel, across Front Street from Katerina's (is Katerina's still there?) where the owner, a Greek guy named Gerry (Mikalidis--?) was waiting for me with a Brandy Alexander, and I downed a few waiting to be picked up by a friend. (As an aside, it was Gerry, with, I'm sure, partners, who built the Lighthouse Bistro down off the seawall walkway, which really didn't exist in its entirety at the time.) And if the City still wonders who it was who took down the big maple tree that blocked the view of the water from one of Gerry's windows, it was my ex-husband. Gerry had no part in it and didn't know it was going to be done in the middle of one night. The City can't do a darned thing, because my ex has been dead for years. When my friend arrived to take me to Tio's, the sound system in her car was playing an old Willie Nelson song "Good Hearted Woman." The song went on into something like "and a two-timing man" or words to that effect. Well, it was the truth! So during the evening, someone would turn the song on again at Tio's and everyone in the place sang along.
I remember somebody who worked there asking me to remarry and redivorce frequently, because the restaurant had made a bundle that night, what with a lot of the other diners joining in the party.
I also remember a restaurant--or was it a grocery?--(and sort of deli, because he'd make sandwiches to go if you asked) owned by old Mr. Lum that was, I believe, on the site of one of the old Stewart Street waterfront houses. He was related to half of the Canadians of Chinese descent in Nanaimo. I later, sadly, attended his funeral. The gathering afterwards was held in the large, large apartment above the York Grocery at what was called the Five Corners in south Nanaimo, approximately in the Victoria Road area. I've never eaten better food, nor seen more of it. Every time the food got low, more arrived, because we were supposed to eat as much as we could. He and his wife and kids and grandkids were related, either by marriage or birth to the Yorks, the Mahs, and the Wongs, I believe. He's buried in his family plot in the city cemetery on Bowen Road. I'd never attended a Chinese funeral before, and it was very interesting, if you can call a funeral interesting. Again, I don't know what other word to use. But he was a wonderful man, and I'm proud to have known him. Another of the unrecognized builders of Canada and Nanaimo.