A Research Guide for Students by I Lee

Autobiography of Carl Kaas

A Member of the Dutch Underground in World War II

Chapter 116: A Rich Man's Dream

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Yes, that's what they called it, when our first daughter was born, Jan.13,1955. And maybe they were right, because we felt extremely rich being blessed with a little sister for Billy, and she was also a dream in our eyes. That was not what people meant, they said. A boy and a girl was a rich man's dream. Was that so? Well, to Ma and me, the most precious thing in life, in our lives at the time, was having a little baby all our own, and not only one but two, who gave us double the pleasure. Yeah, we felt more like a king and queen, and we had more than money could buy, we had a prince and a princess. What were we gonna call the little darling? We decided to name her after my mother to honor her, being the only grandparent still alive. It was sad, she never lived long enough to see the only granddaughter ever born while she was alive.

In time, we got to know more and more people, some bad, but mostly our customers were a nice breed. We tried to treat them with respect, and found this worked both ways. If there was a dispute, we let the customer have the benefit of the doubt, even when he or she was wrong. We figured that a disgruntled customer was lost, but a happy one would return and spend more money with us, which was what it was all about in the end.

After about two years, we had all the clients we could handle in our limited facilities. Some people came to me to help them buy a used car. One thing led to another, and pretty soon I was dealing in a few used cars, too.

Bud Roberts, who was employed at Electro Metals at the time, helped me a lot. He greatly disliked working in a factory and loathed unions and spent most of his free time at our place. We became good friends. He used to be a Great Lakes sailor and came originally from Cape Breton in Nova Scotia. He knew many sailors whose boats would tie up for the winter in Port Colborne or around here somewhere. Several of those guys would buy a car here, take it home, drive it for the winter then sell it in the spring for more money than they had paid. Cars were cheaper here than in Nova Scotia.

Every week there was an auto auction run by George Koch in the Dundas arena, from which I brought home many a used car. If I did not sell a car, Bud would find a client.

Welland had a hospital, but no ambulance. Here was an ambitious fellow named Mike who was interested in starting a needed service, so I helped to get him started by fixing up a 1954 Ford Sedan Delivery and made it into, as far as I know, Welland's first ambulance. I kept him as a customer until he lost the service to some unscrupulous manipulator.

Related resources:

Ontario Ambulance Services Roster. Welland: 1958 - Welland County General Hospital. 1960s - Alexander Ambulance. 1964 - Greater Welland Ambulance Service.

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