They've razed the Schmidts' house on Huxley Ave. Mike Schmidt played bass in our band until he bought a minibike and was never seen again. We spent a couple good years hanging out in his basement, reading Circus magazine and rocking out. It's no overstatement to say my life changed down there. That's where I first heard Rush (All the World's a Stage—"Ladies and gentlemen, the Professor on the drumkit"), and where the scorching debut album by a new band called Van Halen gave Mike and his brother Roy's stereo an unprecedented workout. I also remember Mike lending me this album called Close to the Edge because no one else he knew could make any sense of it.
I'm particularly sad to see this house gone because Mr. and Mrs. Schmidt worked really hard to keep it nice. Mr Schmidt was always fabricating something in his basement, muttering at us with his German accent, a damp cigarillo perched on his lower lip. I'd never seen such a tidy workshop. Even the nudie posters on the insides of his cabinet doors were tacked up with the utmost precision.
The main feature in their front yard was a pristine little rock garden. I don't remember seeing her working out there, but I think that was Mrs. Schmidt's territory. After they unloaded the backhoe at the house last weekend, my mom walked down and retrieved a few Snowdrops for her own garden.
The entire propery's now just a chewed-up expanse of earth between two fences, with a shallow trench dug out to mark the foundation for a new basement.