Friday, January 05, 2007
"There's no place like home" - Judy Garland
I am proud to say that the Steeltown is my home-town. I moved away six years ago but it's only been recently that I view Hamilton in a different light. I have many memories of the city. Mostly good but some bad. When I left, I felt it was time to experience life outside the place that had been home to me for 26 years. I have no regrets but I do get home sick from time to time. Though I still remain in Southern Ontario and not too far from home, I crave spontaneous moments with family and friends. I used to love dropping in to see people on a whim, going for coffee with a friend I bumped into at the mall or calling my mom crying that I had a bad day and she would be racing over to rescue me in a moment's notice. Now visits have to be much more coordinated. The benefit of living away is that you can have ample amounts of slumber parties though and be an overnight guest often. It is great fun!
For a time, my heart-strings were often tugged at when I returned to the city. I would reach my destinations and complete any business or visiting I had and then it would be time to depart. I would rarely just cruise around because there were so many places that would remind me of this memory or that person and so much has changed. It would be difficult to go down memory lane - probably because I just wasn't ready for it. I knew the time would come.
This past week, I needed a fix. January does this to me. It is often a very reflective and sentimental month for me. I imagine because we have entered a new year.
I drove around the city yesterday from west to east, north to south. Though it was just baby and I on this joy ride and he didn't understand much, I still talked aloud and narrated a few points of interest. I savoured the ride. I smiled most of the time. I actually laughed out loud a few times too. I also cried. Alot in fact. Not tears of sorrow but just plain old thankfulness. I passed a bus stop where I had my first kiss with my first love. A bench where I sat and shared skittles with a homeless man named. A park where I attended my first outdoor music concert without adult supervision- Jane Sibery at the Festival of Friends. We got her autograph and my sister cried! The hospital that I was born which overlooks the city. The cute little house where my Dad was raised in the north end. I could still see my Grandmother on the porch waving goodbye. The old restaurant my parents used to run on Barton Street. The old Consumer's Distributing Store where I would pick up the catalogues for my "Wish List" every year. The small street that I thought was named after my Uncle Lorne. The hill that my best friend and I would zoom down on our crazy carpets. It seemed so big back then! I also passed the cemetary where some of my friends and family are laid to rest. I passed my old Catholic Girls High School that has now been converted into a nursing home. Oh my goodness, the old variety store that I used to buy bags of penny candy was now boarded up. Oh there's that old pizzeria where my sister and I used to work and where she met her high school sweetheart and future husband. I could smell the yummy italian aroma as I drove by. I passed the market that I occassionally used to go to with my Grandma on Saturday mornings. The bar that I used to frequent with many good friends on Friday nights is still there. The college that I attended for two years has expanded. So many memories. So many great moments in my home-town. A place I will love returning to often. A place I will always call "home."
Thank you Hamilton. You have been good to me.