Monday, June 16, 2008

A Great Father's Day, A Really Nice Anniversary Day, And A Surprise Visit From Someone From "The Old Neighbourhood"

We did our Father's Day Celebration on Saturday. This was so Al and Amber could come from Peterborough to see my parents and us. I was excited for them, as they have a car now. Yep, my oldest baby is now paying his own insurance as a couple with Amber. (sniff, sniff) All grown up and almost completely independent of Mom and Dad now!

Dad hurt his back, so it was iffy if Mom and Dad could make it up this week, but he improved each day and wanted to come up to visit more than his sore back would bother him, so they drove up from the city.

I made flattened chicken again (click the link for the recipe from a past post), which is a low carb type of Cordon Bleu, with roasted potatoes, salad, fruit and a low carb cake with fruit and yogurt frosting. It was really good and we had a great visit. It was really awesome that none of the kids had to work on the weekend so we all got to be present for the family dinner.

Sunday was our wedding anniversary so read on about that too.

Dad, Mom, Alex and Amber

Me, Carl, and Cam

Amber and Me

June 15th Was Our 24th Wedding Anniversary!

24 years has gone by very quickly. Our Sons are men now, and we are older now, and our parents are older now, but it seems like yesterday........the day we had our Wedding.

It is always a time to reminisce and think about all we have gotten to do. We know our life has been very fortunate, and we have had opportunities as a couple, that others never got. We really appreciate all we have gotten this far.
It has never been perfect. But in the scope of life, we have never had much complaints about how it has panned out.

Now we look at our kids and see them building their life success, and it is really amazing to watch these Men make their way through life as adults now. It is really cool that through our kids we now have a legacy!

Next year is our 25th anniversary. We only share the "big ones" with friends and family. Other years we just enjoy the day without a lot of hoopla.

This anniversary we had a really neat experience.

The Old Neighbourhood Remembered

We have decided to rent out two rooms to College/University students. Since the kids have grown up there is virtually one whole floor, with three bedrooms on it, that no one uses in our home. So we figured we might as well not waste them. So we have been showing the rooms and answering inquiries for the rooms we posted on the student housing website for the two schools in close proximity to our community. Seneca College King and York Campuses, and York University Campus.

We live in a small town in the countryside North of Toronto. Carl and I grew up in a suburb of Toronto called Scarborough. In the past I have written in here about my life in Toronto and a bit about school and stuff.

Well yesterday a little bit of my childhood greeted me by surprise, in a family who came to look at the rooms. The girl who is interested in one of the rooms came with her family and best friend to see our place. Surprise, surprise, her Mom(Colleen) went to school with me in elementary school and high school! This is a miracle in itself. They live in a different city now, and Toronto's population has grown from our day at around 100 thousand people to 5 million people today. So the chances of my rural town(a rural poplulation of 75 thousand) having folks come and look around here from the old neighbourhood is still low.

When I was a kid I attended two different elementary schools. From kindergarten to grade 2 I went to John A. Leslie PS, and from grade 3 to 8 I attended Chine Drive PS. Us kids would tell you these two schools were the BEST in all of Scarborough. Each school was a rival of the other, but our schools got to do way more activities than the other schools ever did. Chine was really tiny, and got an experimental scholastic program because it was so small. John A. Leslie had a very very advanced music program and a lot of sports and it was a huge school. The two schools feeder boundaries were only divided by one main road. If you lived on the North side of Kingston Road you went to John A. Leslie, and if you lived on the south side of Kingston Road you went to Chine Drive. Chine drive was built in 1957, and John A. Leslie is much older than that, because my Mom went to John A. Leslie school in the '40s when she was a kid!

My cousin Ian and I are only a few weeks different in age. I remember Colleen was in his grade 1 class with Mrs Coulson as their teacher. Mrs Coulson was even my Mom's grade 1 teacher, so she was quite old when I was going to school.

Me In High School.....Grade 11

Because I went to both of these elementary schools when I was young, I had an advantage of knowing a great number of kids from the two schools who all ended up at the same high school (R.H. King CI). I went to the same elementary school as my Mom, I went to the same High School as both of my Parents and my Grandfather. Our neighbourhood had all really good kids. Our families were the first group of parents to not have to go to war, and most of us had immigrant parents who's families migrated to Canada post WWI or WWII. We never had much in the way of material things. Our parents were all young and making ends meet, living the dreams of owning their own homes and hopefully giving their kids everything they never had. We lived in a time when Canada really was experiencing world life in peace. We had simple fun, and families in the old neighbourhood were really close, and friendly.

My grandparents lived in a big house on the "main drag" right between the two school areas. So their home was walking distance from everywhere in our little world. My grandfather was born on that street. His parents immigrated from England. My Grandmother immigrated from the US via England. My Dad lived in the next school territory over, and his family immigrated from England.

Our neighbourhood was the United Nations of Life. It was made up of folks from Germany, Poland, Italy, Greece and Macedonia, England, Scotland, Ireland, Wales, Belgium, Spain, Japan, Romania, Estonia, China and Hong Kong, Portugal, Jamaica, Korea, Austria, The Ukraine, and Czechoslovakia. Just to name the countries from where the kids I knew personally, came from. We never knew prejudice because we were never farther than a 3rd generation away from being an immigrant family, and most were 1st generation immigrants. We were the epitome of what Canada really is. A "salad bowl" community of folks from different lands who keep their own language and culture while at the same time working to be citizens of Canada. Proud Canadians we all are. Plus proud of where our roots come from, and proud of our neighbour's roots too.

I know Canadians are well respected throughout the world for this life of ours. We really really enjoy the fact that everyone in our country is culture rich with heritage from other places. Our mix of folks is fantastic for everyone to learn about life in other places, and we get exposed to the world right in our little neighbourhoods.
One house would have amazing gardens, the next house may have a deck with grape vines growing up a terrace and over your head, the next house might have a Scottish bag pipe player, the next house may be one that smells of amazing Greek cooking, or be a big Italian family with tons and tons of kids, and some folks may stand proud, tattooed on their forearm having survived the Holocaust. All of our famlies moving foreward living the North American Dream.

Our parents dreams of a great life here in Canada reflected upon all of us kids. We were happy kids without a care in the world. Free to play and have fun. While our parents worked hard and built their pride as their families grew, and they got their homes, and had good jobs as tradesmen...................... The very average middle class life for us here in Canada.

We were all "good" kids. So when someone from the old neighbourhood walked through my door on Sunday. All of the great memories of our really fantastic childhood came flooding back. We chatted about all the kids we have kept in touch with over the years, and it felt really really good. Colleen was from a crowd of girls I knew from "the block". In our block I had a set of first cousins and two sets of third cousins and in the next block one second cousin, which was pretty typical from that time. Families stayed in neighbourhoods close to each other. Not everyone had a car, so you wanted to be walking distance from everyone. Even our parents knew each other, as our folks volunteered at kids groups like Brownies, Girl Guides and Scouts, plus teams like hockey, Lacrosse, and Baseball. My Dad was one of the neighbourhood Cops, so everyone wanted to know which house was ours, just in case there was an emergency and they needed help. Cuz there almost always was more that one Cop at our home at any given day, as police cars would stop by day and night to come for their coffee break.

It was unheard of that anyone would go to a restaurant and waste money on a coffee when a Cop's house in a neighbourhood they were patrolling would always have an open door policy for a coffee and a snack.

Those were truly different times. We rarely would go to a restaurant in those days. Restaurants and movies were real luxuries. If you had a TV it was a luxury, and if your family had a stereo you were rich! When we were kids telephones were a luxury too. We take for granted now all of the material things like cell phones, digital TV, DVDs and MP3s and getting to go to College or University. Most of our parents never graduated high school, and a lot of our parents had to learn English as adults so they could get work here in Canada. All they dreamed about was making sure their kids got a good education and they would get the opportunity for College or University they never had. A lot of Moms were stay-at-home in those days, and if a Mom worked someone in the neighbourhood would mind their kids for free.

When I get to meet kids from the old neighbourhood this is the stuff I reflect upon. Memories of how much our parents sacrificed and saved so we could grow up in good homes and get to live "The Dream". I get so filled with good thoughts from this reflection.........

Today has been a truly awesome day. Thanks for the Memories Colleen, and it would be so great to have your daughter with us this school year!

1 comment:

Dirty Butter said...

I am so glad I decided to stop by today! There are so many things in this post that are so meaningful to me. I love your description of your "salad bowl" neighborhood, and the strong feelings of cultural pride in everyone's homeland and pride in their new country, too.

I can't imagine ever seeing anyone I grew up with in Elementary School again. But I can just imagine what it would be like if I did. Such memories!!

And our wedding anniversaries are almost on the same day! We celebrated our 44th on June 13th!

Reading this one post makes me ashamed of myself that I have not been taking time to get back in the habit of visiting old friends on the Village.

{{{HUGS}}} to you!!