Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Road Trip Down Memory Lane...

 A street we lived on back in the late 50's, early 60's


It's been well over 35 years since my sister and I had returned together to the small towns (Hanna and Delia) in Alberta where we'd lived for much of our childhood.  It was Sis's idea to spend a weekend back where our roots began.   I thought, "Why not?  It should be fun. "  She picked me up mid-morning and so we began our road trip venturing down memory lane.

Memory is a funny thing.  I'm four years younger than Sis so, it makes sense some of our recollections would be different, but most interesting (to me) was how different!  I was repeatedly amazed how as children, our age difference drastically changed our perceptions.  Although, we know each other well, it was the unexpected things we discovered about the other that was most remarkable.

 For instance...

Our first stop was Delia, where we'd lived for about 7 years.  It's a tiny hamlet of less than 200 people.  Not much different from 50 years ago.  We drove around reminiscing where we'd lived, who we went to school with, where we played, gone to church, shopped...so many memories.  Some good...some not so good...


When we stopped at this old graveyard on the outskirts of Delia, I discovered that it had been a place Sis frequented as a young child.  She'd pack a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, then bike out to spend time in this lonely spot.  Her reasons were complicated and poignant and something I'd never heard her speak about.  This now desolate location managed to open up old wounds, but at the same time it was strangely cathartic for her.  Although it held no particular memories for me, it now gave me a keener insight into my sister's world as a young girl. How odd to learn these things after so many, many years?  And so the road trip went...

We laughed, we cried, we speculated on the "what ifs"...

 




It was strange going back to where we'd spent so much of our childhood.  Bizarre how so many of the ancient buildings that once housed families, friends, neighbours where now barren and bleak.  We could almost hear the echo of the many voices, the laughter, the tears...faded memories...


Most peculiar was how the weather grew cloudier and more deary as our road trip progressed.  A perfect setting on what felt, at times, like we were roaming around an old Hollywood sound stage.  Honestly, we both felt this weird combination of the here and now with the eerie quality of a time-warp. 

 



 As our road trip was ending, we left behind the ghostly murmurs in vacant buildings and decaying memories swirling over long-neglected graves.  The cold, dreary clouds began to part as we drove west, homeward bound, heading back to the present where (God willing) future memories and road trips begin.