Old Hull Electric Man Leaving Job Sad Sight, Published 1 April 1947Saddest sight I have seen in 1947 was when J. A. Noel, 45 years an operator on the Hull Electric, left his car yesterday. As he walked down the snowy road to Deschenes road, his spare, elderly figure getting smaller and smaller in diminishing perspective, 1 saw a man walk out of his life's work.
See if you can see the thing as I saw it. Noel picked me up at Hull, rode me out to Aylmer, and there he gave over his fare box to Charles E. Boucher, 7 Albert St., Aylmer. He was No. 10, and he took over at Alymer loop from Noel. No. 63. Noel however did not leave the car, but deadheaded home to the Deschenes barn.
He got off his car, No. 38. and walked into the car barn. There all the boys waited round to punch the clock, then when No. 34 came along, westbound for Aylmer, they all punched out and ran for the green tram. Noel was left alone.
I, waiting for the return trip, went out and photographed some old cars, which General Manager Gale forbade The Citizen to photograph in November, and which everybody has been photographing ever since. Then I walked into the great cavernous car shed, gloomy even at noon.
All Boys Had GoneLike a creature haunting the shadows, was Noel. All the boys had gone. He seemed to linger around, hardly realizing there never would be another day for 45 years he had taken his axr out of the barn, in fair weather or foul. He had run the cars so long he could operate them in his sleep. A young man when he first swung the motors and touched the brakes, he was now almost half a century older. Morning rode the sky when we wheeled Old No. 8 or 10 or perhaps 20 for the first time, and now the shadows of life were long as he stood round, wondering what to do. Up on top, it was noon in this year 1947. A bird started to sing, for him it was spring.
Noel took a last look around the gloomy old stone barn.
"Well, so long." he said, perhaps to me, perhaps to nobody in particular, but perhaps also to his life's work.
There was nobody to say goodbye to Noel. There was no one to shake his hand. Out of the empty car barn he came, shuffled as if he hated to leave the place.
Then he straightened his shoulders, and started to walk down the road toward Deschenes. I watched him. He carried his lunch pail in his risht hand, the lunch pail he'll never carry again to his car. A spare figure, he moved like a man in a dream. He picked his way in the glistening snow, his gloomy frame of mind in contrast to the sparkling snow, the bright sun. the chirping birds.
As he dwindled down the road, he seemed to move at an ever slowing pace. What was the hurry. There was no tomorrow.