Like many others in town Tim was a frequent customer of Memory Lane, and his role as valued customer was actually part of the reasons he was offered a job in the first place.
It was 1988 when Tim was first approached with a job offer to run Memory Lane’s new mini lab, the one-hour film-processing machine. Although he turned the offer down, it wasn’t long before he was approached again. In 1990 when the store was venturing into custom framing on location, Tim was asked again and this time, he didn’t say no.
“I started in March part time with some extra hours here and there, and by September it was full time,” says Tim. “My job was building frames and cutting mats, but in September we started our black and white and colour darkroom, so that was my responsibility.”
When the woman in charge of framing retired about 10 years ago, Tim accepted the offer to take over her job.
“By then everybody's printing their own photographs at home and the colour darkroom was kind of becoming a thing of the past,” says Tim. “They asked me if I wanted to do all the framing, she retired, and I accepted it.”
Although working in the small store required Tim to do other duties such as passport pictures and working out front, he says, “framing was my number one thing that only I did.”
Something else equally, if not more important to Tim was his customers. He liked to chat and get to know them, rather than a simple, “How are you today?”
“I want to know where they're from. If they moved here from away I want to know where they came from and why they chose Liverpool to settle in,” says Tim. “I've enjoyed it, and I think they have too. I'm going to miss them, and hopefully they'll miss me.”
Funnily enough, the man who loved his job so dearly at the end did not feel that same enjoyment when he first began. In fact, Tim didn’t think Memory Lane would be his employer for long.
“The first day seemed like three weeks. I thought, 'Oh my God what a long eight hours.' It didn't interest me at all,” laughs Tim. “I thought I would stay there for a while, but it won't be for long. Twenty-one years later here I am.”
And in all those 21 years, Tim didn’t take a single sick day.
“There were days when I probably could have stayed home with a cold, but overall I've been very lucky,” he says. “I'm proud of it. It's not something a lot of people can say they've done, a perfect record from the day you were hired until the store closes.”
Now that his time at Memory Lane is part of memory lane itself, Tim has plans to move to Halifax in July. As someone who has lived in Liverpool his whole life, Tim says there are a lot of people surprised by his decision to leave.
In addition to feelings of surprise, Tim also says he has heard a lot of concern from people of Queens County because of his involvement in local history.
“That makes me kind of worried because I was always there with my camera, photographing and documenting everything that took place in town. If there was a new building going up or an old building coming down, I'd be there six in the morning before the excavator operators were even there.” says Tim. “I hope someone takes it upon themselves to photograph what's happening, because that I think is very important to keep those photographs on hand for future generations.”
Tim says he feels he has done his part in keeping Queens County history alive and documented to the best of his ability. Although he often questions whether he was crazy to spend so much of his time doing it, people have recognized the hard work he did over the years.
“I've heard this from a lot of people and I'm flattered by it, 'I just can't imagine Liverpool without you in it.' What bigger compliment is that?” He says. “It makes me sad to talk about it, but it's kind of nice that people realize all the things I was doing above and beyond Memory Lane.”
There have been many best wishes, hugs, and some tears for Tim from people around town. There are people he is going to miss, days he is looking forward to, and days he says he is scared of what the future may hold.
“It's going to seem weird waking up [this] week and not walking to work in the morning. To see the building empty, it's probably going to be sad,” says Tim. “There's some stressful days ahead, and some sad days, and hopefully lots of happy days. In the end of it, hopefully the changes that are coming will be good ones.”