Yesterday, I visited the town where we lived for many years. I always viewed the town as a temporary stop-over in our lives. My dad said, “I can see you living here for 5 or 10 years.” I gasped when he said this. But, he was right. My temporary stop-over lasted 12 years.
It’s funny how a place can feel. The town never felt like mine – we participated in town events, we met a lot of people, we loved our home and our neighbourhood – but it always felt like we didn’t belong to it and it didn’t belong to us.
I am grateful for that little town. It was a wonderful place for the kids to roam, a place where we felt safe and abundant and happy. We created a lot of love, fun, and happiness inside the walls of our little house – it made no difference what town it was in – we were living our best lives as a family.
We are back home now, in the city. Many people think we are crazy…to feel at home in a city. No logic can be applied to a feeling. At the end of the day, all that matters is the people we love, the experiences we share and the lives we live. But it does feel good to be home again.
I moved from small town Southern Ontario to big city Calgary Alberta in the summer of 1978. I was just 20 years old and thought I had a good job to come to. I was excited to be on my own at last. I worked at said job for just over a week when my boss decided that I wasn’t a good fit and let me go with 2 weeks pay and a return ticket to Ontario. In addition to trying to settle into my new job, I was trying to adjust to a new province, big city, new climate, you name it. I had never been so far away from home on my own before. I was really scared now that I was out of work too.
My mother wanted me to come back home but I had some money to live on and a temporary place to stay so I told her I was going to give it 4-6 weeks to see if I could find another job and a better place to live within that time. I told her if I was not successful I would use the ticket to return home. Even though I missed my family, my hometown and my friends, I knew deep down I had to give it a go. I was not a quitter. Jobs were hard to come by in my hometown so I felt that I had a better chance to launch my life in Calgary.
Within two weeks, I had a new job and a better place to stay. Three months later I met my husband. I used the ticket my former boss had given me to go home for a visit for Christmas. It was tough to return for the New Year but I had a job, a boyfriend, duties to fulfill, and promises to keep.
It took many years for me to put down roots and feel settled in Calgary. Even after I got married and started a family I always had this niggling feeling that I was in the wrong place but there was no way we could move east as my hubby’s work was in oil and gas. After a return visit with my family in 1999, I somehow finally realized that Calgary offered more opportunity for my kids than the small town I grew up in. We were also now into the new millennium, more technology, faster pace of living etc. My family was used to the big city.
I have my fond memories of growing up in a small town, in a different time and place that what we have now. I realize that by living in a different environment for many years it has given me insight into societal change I wouldn’t have gotten otherwise. Definitely food for a memoir.
I love your journey, Susan. A memoir is a great idea. You have so many wonderful stories of your sons and your life.