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My earliest memories are of my grandfather's tailor shop. For the first five years of my life my parents and I lived above Sherman Custom Tailors in a tiny apartment consisting of a living room that also served as bedroom, and a kitchen the size of a cupboard. We shared a bathroom down the hall with another family. The building was situated at the busy intersection of College and Bathurst. Concerns over traffic led my mother to restrict my play area to the inside of the shop. This was possible because the business was divided into two sections. The front of the store was where my grandfather, my father, and my uncles would greet and fit their customers. The back, where I pedalled my blue tricycle, was a mini-factory where the cutters, tailors, and pressers worked. In the back of the shop were long cutting tables and, underneath them, large cardboard cartons for the scraps of discarded cloth. There were measuring tapes and small boxes containing chalk, Gillette razor blades, and pins. Garment patterns, the colour of dried blood, dangled from hooks like sides of beef. Large spools of white thread fed the black sewing machines. Most fascinating was the ancient press-iron with its long moveable arm. I thought of the iron itself, sleek and triangular, as the head of a prehistoric pterodactyl, whose picture I had seen in a children's book on dinosaurs. The arm of the press iron was the bird's long neck. Inside the head were tiny blue tongues of flame.