Trail memories sought

A retired Trail teacher is seeking submissions for a book he’s compiling on favourite area memories.

By Greg NesteroffSpecial to the Trail Times

A retired Trail teacher is seeking submissions for a book he’s compiling on favourite area memories.

“Neighbourhood memories, people who lived here a long time, cultural events, sports memories,” John D’Arcangelo says. “I’m trying to preserve some history.

Often in coffee shops I hear great stories that I think should be recorded. Once we pass on these stories go with us.”

D’Arcangelo started soliciting anecdotes in January, but long before that he videotaped his late father interviewing Trail hockey greats Ab Cronie and Mike Buckna and interviewed Jimmy Morris himself.

He was further twigged to the idea when he tried to learn how the local stretch of the Columbia River known as The Onions got its name. No one could tell him until Boonie Sammartino put him on to Syd Demidoff of Campbell River, who lived in Trail from 1920 to 1940.

“He got very emotional when he heard I was from here and wrote me four letters about life in early Trail,” D’Arcangelo says.

Demidoff explained that in 1924 he and his older brothers and friends went for a swim. Being younger than the rest, he stayed on the beach.   Eventually, however, he got bored and wandered out toward the river, where one of the other kids got hurt.

D’Arcangelo recounts: “He was bleeding and crying and said ‘I haven’t cried this much since my mother made me cut up the onions.’ They laughed and that’s the story.”

D’Arcangelo says he’s not after family histories so much as brief anecdotes, preferably with a rough date attached, but from any point in Trail’s past.

“I’ve never written a book,” he says.  “My first job is collecting stories. Most will be printed verbatim. I may cut back a bit, but don’t want to lose the essence.”

Submissions can be sent to D’Arcangelo as a Word document, along with any relevant pictures, to jdarc44@hotmail.com.  He can also be reached at 250-368-8986.