i recently returned from a 5-date Canadian Tour (thanks everyone who went!!), and one of the shows was in Calgary, Alberta -- the city where i lived for 5.5 years as a child, and where i went to elementary school!
i'm so happy i flew in the night before my show, and had some time to explore some of the places from my old memories. it's been almost 18 years since i've been back here, and it was quite surreal, and even emotional, to walk & drive through these streets from such a different perspective.
i was amazed by how many memories came flooding back to me. how many things were exactly as i remembered them, and how many things were so different -- some because they have changed, and some because *i* have changed. i'm still processing the experience, but i think visiting these places from my childhood after so much time has passed was somehow cathartic, and perhaps a little magical.
it was strange wandering around my old house, my old neighborhood, and my old school -- having one foot swimming in the past, but the other firmly planted in the present, feeling a little self-conscious that someone might think i was a criminal trying to break into the building, or a psycho planning to kidnap some kid from the school yard. a little like being a foreigner in your own memories.
the visit was strange, and surreal, but quite beautiful. i'm so glad i had the opportunity to return.
i lived in this house from age 5 to 11! those trees used to be like 5 feet tall!!
the Chan's house next door. i remember when Mr. Chan laid those bricks in that driveway!
the Buccini's house up the cul-de-sac. Pam taught me how to Indian Braid friendship bracelets in there.
Eric & Joey's house (i think that was their names). they had a tiered deck in the back that we used as a stage, and where we started "a group". meaning several of us from the neighborhood would get together and do choreography and lip sync to tapes playing in someone's boom box. the group's name was "Equal" (same number of boys as girls), and our best routines ("first singles", as we called them) were to "Under Your Spell" by Candi, and Maestro Fresh Wes's "Let Your Backbone Slide".
used to go sledding down this hill
Pillar Park. notice there's no pillars? i know!! they're gone!! there used to be these tall concrete lipstick-shaped pillars that you could climb up and sort of sit in like they were incredibly tall chairs. Mitchell & Beth would come here to look for the local teens' cigarette butts on the ground, and light them up and try to smoke them haha. most of them were discarded by Angie & Faranez (spelling?). oddly enough, i don't think i ever smoked any, though i did go through a minor pyromaniac phase playing with matches.
so many memories playing street hockey, rollerblading, and/or riding bikes and roller racers and skateboards down this street! doesn't it look like a scene from Harry Potter here?
Triangle Park!! and yes, the "triangle" too has been removed!! basically it was a triangular handle bar on a pulley that slid across a cable stretched between 2 wooden towers
can you believe this view? from a few streets away on the hill where we lived...under the shadow of the Rocky Mountains!
walking around i remembered how i was always the first one to come in from sledding because my toes were turning blue! here you can see why.
Northland Village "mall" down the hill...basically like 10 stores.
to give you an idea of the temperature...this is my breath solidifying in mid-air.
a parking space outside my old elementary school. my 5th grade teacher, Mrs. Beddoes, was severely environmentally conscious, and started our school's recycling program. this spot is where her car was parked one day where she asked me & some other students to take the trash bags full of recycling. we could have sworn she said put them "on" her car. so we all climbed around on the hood and roof of her car trying to get the bags up there, basically covering it with footprints and scratching it with bags full of paper. apparently she had *just* had her car painted, and she was so mad that we all ran to the principal's office crying for protection in fear of being murdered.
Brentwood Elementary School. in 6th Grade, i was a crossing guard in this crosswalk!
i could have sworn these entrance/exit squares cut in the fence surrounding the school yard were a lot smaller. but they stick out in my memory as exciting possible escape routes.
playground outside our old church. i think it was wooden back then. i remember standing on the tower one Autumn day and realizing i couldn't stop sniffing really hard in an effort to clear my sinuses, which may or may not have actually been clogged. looking back, i remember having a lot of obsessive habits, like repeating words over and over until i felt i had said them "correctly". i guess in the '80s no one knew about things like Tourette's or Autism or whatever other ticks i have always teetered on the edge of? haha
we were SO excited when this strip mall was built, and this was a 7-Eleven. getting permission to ride our bikes this far was really exciting, and i always got mad at my friends for going to the cashier to buy one item of candy, then selecting another, going to buy it, then another, buying it...one at a time. stupid.
i really can't believe i grew up in such a stunning location
i cant remember the name of the guy who lived here, but i remember that we were all jealous of him because the last 4 digits of his phone number spelled "DOGS" on the telephone dial pad. we spent weeks trying to figure out what alphabetic words our phone number could correspond to. i don't think we came up with anything good.
there were quite a few parks/playgrounds very nearby that played such an important role in our activities as kids. the pathways that lead to those parks are just as memorable to me.
our mailbox!! i suppose when you live in sub-zero climates, the postperson only wants to stop every few blocks.
this playground has also been re-built (in quite a meager fashion, i must say). one day while playing here, i remember telling my friend Mitchell his cheeks looked like tomatoes. i still feel bad about that.
terrible focus (i didnt want to walk up to the windows and risk getting arrested by the house's current tenants), but this neighborhood watch sticker was SO in this window back in the day!! almost 20 years ago!!
the electrical box in our backyard. i buried a dead bird in front of it once, and made little tombstones with rocks & a marker.
i can still picture my Grandpa standing on this porch smoking while he and my Grandmother were visiting. and one of our cats hiding under it for days until she finally wondered off to die in private.
DEFINITELY the same old rusted lamppost in the corner of the yard!
the spot where i used to make snow angels. except my parents would never in a million years have let the plants in the yard get this overgrown & un-manicured.
i remember sitting by this window on the right waiting for my mother to come home from errands. the heating/air conditioning vents in this house are on the floor and there is one right under the window. i remember curling up by it and falling asleep while waiting, and i may or may not have peed once while sleeping there. i can't remember if that actually happened or not...i might be subconsciously fabricating that part.
our street sign!
i took the C-Train to Silver Dragon before the show and saw this sticker on the train car. i was there during those Olympics!! it was an exciting time. i always dreamed of being a figure skater. i hope it's not too late...