This book ("partly truth and partly fiction") is a narrative of events of a very important time of my life, the years 1956 through 1958. It all started when my father moved us from the East side of Welland to a house on Oakland Avenue, not far from the Welland River. I was "going on" 14 at the time, and got to meet a bunch of kids my age who lived in that neighbourhood. Having a river and a "bush" nearby, and all these guys to hang around with proved to be a magical mix. And once we found "the boat", well, that is the stuff that high adventure is made of.
"The River Rats" have long since dissolved as a group but the principals, Al, Roy, Charlie, Larry, Ron, and my sister, Louise, are still alive and well, and we all still harbour fond memories of those by-gone days.
I had to take a lot of liberties with the dialogue because, try as I might, I just couldn't remember exactly who said what. But I did strive to retain the essentials of how we each talked and behaved. And although events tend to take on a rosy hue through the time-worn glasses of retrospection, I tried very hard to keep the narrative as historically accurate as my failing memory allows.
So, guys, please forgive me if I've cast any of you in a bad light in the course of this writing. Know that I've always considered each and every one of you a very special friend.
And although we did call Margaret-Anne "Liver Lips" and Heather "Fatso", that was many many years ago, a lifetime ago, and I hope the statute of limitations for such libelous statements has long since expired. By way of expiation, let me just say that you all played a very important part in the making of some very fond memories. Enough said. Read on...
André G. Germain