Sunday, 18 July 2010

Where is home to you?

In my childhood, home for me was Toronto, for the first 25 years of my life. Going to "The Cottage" was our endless summer pursuit. First with a husband, and then with 1, 2 and 3 children. At first we all crowded into the 3-BR cottage. Things became tough, and we first rented Aunt Adie's cottage, 4 doors down, while she stayed in her heated, winterized in-law suite in her cottage, with the older cottage wing - unheated, and truly a cottage. Aunt Adie was married to Mom's brother, Uncle Fred. They were a pair. 


At this point, born in 1905, it was now the 80's, she didn't have a car anymore, and depended upon family for groceries. She would often tap at the door connecting the two places, asking for one thing or another, or reminding us not to put anything but toilet paper down the toilet. Still on an ancient septic system (dating 1960), I am thankful that the municipality is clamping down on old systems, and requiring cottagers to convert to sewers. The old systems cannot be healthy, and the environmental issues are extreme.


In 1981, my family moved to Ottawa. For the next 25 years the anticipation as we drove up from Gravenhurst, spotting familiar landmarks, passed Torrance, then saw Long Lake Road, and then the southern tip of the lake, we would all yell, "Yong Yake!", mimicking someone's youthful inability to pronounce L's. It was so exciting. After a time, Dad was fired in the bankruptcy of his firm of 25 years, losing his pension. They lived on Mom's salary, Dad found another job, but with the 80's came a dearth of building jobs. Dad was an Architectural Hardware Consultant. He would read architecture plans, and write up a list of required hardware. His company would bid on fitting the building with door handles, panic bars, hinges, etc., a meticulous job, with a gr. 10 education, he spend 4 summers in the US earning his certificate and qualifications. We were so proud of him! 


Our Toronto home was half of a semi-detached house, built on farmland that the Walker family (Walker Ave.!) had owned. Uncle Dee lived next door. He was Aunt Adie's brother. Small world. Mom and Dad had bought their half of the house from Aunt Adie and Uncle Dee's mother!



Finally, after Mom kept on working at the Rotary CLub of Toronto, a job she'd held for 30-odd years, at the ripe old age of 66 (1991), they decided to sell this ancient, delightful Toronto home, live in the cottage and build the house. You can see the front lawn, Mom always said it was the size of a postage stamp. The new owner, a single woman, converted the lawn to garden, as is the way with these small homes. I remember Dad mowing the lawn with the push mower.
TTC is 60 years old!


Uncle Fred died after an angina attack, falling off of our cottage deck. Aunt Lill, mom's beloved sister, died in her cottage, 2 doors down, in her bed with Aunt Adie at her bedside. Mom died in her home, with my brother at her side, on the same street in Bala.


Well, here we are...searching for a new home. Everyone who knew about this house has passed over, Mom & Dad were so happy to build it. Their first apt. was on top of a bakery, they had mice! They'd lived in this ancient house (right half) on Walker Ave. for at least 38 years. It's hard to pin it down, although I found a record of their names on a voting list for 1953. They were married in 1947.


8 comments:

EG Wow said...

It must be exciting yet hard to be in the middle of a transition. I hope everything goes smoothly for you!

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

Life is full of choices. Your memories will always be with you. Your post causes me (as a sort of homeless person) to do a lot of musing!!

W.C.Camp said...

I guess that means the deal went through!! CONGRATS! Enjoy the search for the next stage of your life - your family would be proud at how you honored their memory.
W.C.C.

Michelle (artscapes) said...

I have been asking myself the same question lately - what is home? I imagine this is a tough move for you. But with every change there is something to look forward to. I hope your move goes well...

Yogi♪♪♪ said...

I just now counted. I've lived in 23 different houses in my life. In a way I envy people who have roots in a place, but then again my home is basically where me and my family am at any given time.

Cathy Olliffe said...

Jenn, I know you don't want an award but you deserve one. I mentioned you on my blog today.

Gill - That British Woman said...

what a lovely, but sad sort of post. That must have been a hard decision to make, moving...

Gill

Vagabonde said...

I really enjoyed this post and the illustrations. So you are looking for a new home, will you keep your Muskoka house? Now should be a good time to buy a house as the market is down, at least in the US.