The Brightside Hotel
Generations of Brightsiders and Stelco workers-mostly men-went to the Hotel at the end of a hard day’s work to relax, refresh themselves, and enjoy each other’s company with a post-shift beer and a plate of peanuts in the shell.
Listen: The Best thing about Brightside. Click the play circle below.
The closeness of people. It seemed like the people knew everybody from Lancaster right over to Brightside Hotel.
Did you ever have any beer in the Brightside Hotel?
Did I have beer?
That was a Friday, everybody came in by it on a Friday night.
And that’s where we spent Friday night watching the boxing.
Listen: View Of The Hotel From Joe Bartolacci's Porch. Click the play circle below.
The front verandah of the house was the gathering spot on hot summer nights.
It is where we would sit on a silent starless evening, watching the reflections of discharging furnaces on the muggy hazy sky.
In the distance you would hear the constant shifting and shunting steel train cars, riding on steel rails, loading and leaving the small brown rusting mountains of pig iron that stared back at us from across the fence, across the field and finally across our narrow street.
My father was an important man, then.
We all knew it because he was the only man on the street that drove to work and wore a tie.
Some days he would wear a suit.
His importance was felt by everyone, too, because as we simmered together on warm, summer nights, friends and relatives sipping fresh lemonade, he would be asked what he thought of those people going into that dingy Hotel on the corner.
Through his “hrumphs” and so-forths, we knew we would never go there, at least not when we were being watched.