This challenge question describe the town where you grew up in. Do you still live there, visit?
The town I grew up in was small about 13,000 people in it’s hey day I think we reached 16,000. It was a mining town where you pretty much went to school with the same people from kindergarten to grade 12. Unless you decided to go to the French high school then you split up.
I must admit as a kid growing up there it was nice to know everyone my house was located on a main street, surrounded by hills (my town is known for them used to joke it should have been called E hill instead of Lake) across the street from a strip mall that the stores changed on a regular basis depending on how the mining industry was doing. It had many reincarnations but one thing remained the corner store, there was a gourmet restaurant there in my teens that served the best food and probably encouraged the foodie in me.
We had a bush in our backyard that’s what we referred to it most people call it the woods or forest or something. I was surrounded by nature and hills made of clay/sand which were great in the winter I had 3 sliding hills to choose from and man we did over and over again climb up those impossibly big hills. Well in a child’s eyes.
There was a creek that divided the backyards from the bush not a big one, it was like a little trickle that flowed into a bigger creek that was supplied by the rainwater drains. Used to play in that creek, catching frogs and all sorts of goodies. It was a kids dream could find anything you want there and then some. There was a path in the bush that had big tumbling boulders where me and my friends used to play. We used to climb them they were huge and some of them were laid out in a way that they would create these like caves that we would play hide and seek. I built some tree houses in the trees in that bush and I even attempted to climb those trees. I used to live in that bush and then one day we stopped, don’t remember when or why just one day someone said were too old to play hide and seek in the bush and it stopped.
We had a park at the top of my street where we would play for hours with swings, slide, monkey bars, climbing thing, merry go round, teeter totter and with a basketball court that I used to play on with the guys from school. I was big into basketball till someone told me I was too small to play.
There were parks in pretty much neighborhood to play in offering different things one had a tennis court to accompany the swings/slides, one had a big grass field that we would play touch football on or just run around and be kids. There were arenas we would skate in, inside and out go to the local hockey team games and cheer them on.
Where I grew up was beautiful all this nature, beaches, lakes, hiking trails, gravel pits, look out towers places we could all get lost and we did in all the various places. You could tell when the seasons were changing it was like a postcard. There were a lot of places that a kid could get in trouble and even more when we got older and well some of us did. You see my parents would never let me play in the bush at night or hang out at the lake/pit with my friends so we partied at my house. Dad thought it was safer, that was his logic. So in my teens my house became the place to be w/friends had many a poker game marathon tv/movie watching as well as some really good blasts. In my last year of high school one night at one of my parties said it was okay if my friends signed my wall and they did, every wall in my bedroom.
He was right though, many of my friends have suffered injuries I even had friend drown in high school going from the island in the middle of the lake to the shore. Car accidents driving home from those parties.
When we weren’t hanging out in the nature you could usually find us at the mall that had around 30 stores and really only 3 major stores a Woolco, which became Zellers there might have been something in between. hanging out in the food court eating pizza and being kids. There were different plazas or areas of shopping we had a downtown with shops and more then one grocery store, a bowling alley, a library, an arts centre, hotels hospitals and clinics, an alcohol/drug treatment center. Everything a small town 30 mins off the main highway would need to have
We would usually walk every where so we could save our money for the show/treats that night at the theatre that played 2 movies. There were buses but it was just easier to walk unless you wanted to visit your friends that lived farther away which most of my friends did. We did a lot of walking we planned the stuff we did by the time we had to walk there and back to make curfew if we had one.
We had a youth center till the adults shut it down for encouraging us to be hooligans. There was an arcade, then a pool hall/cafe. Big events such as summer concert, where former 80’s bands would come play for the weekend, at the ski hill, then it became a street party held in the lower part of the town.
Funny recalling where I grew up kind of makes me nostalgic and realize it really wasn’t all that bad, was it, funny how you think when your growing up that your little town sucks but once you’ve been away from it for over 15yrs you gain some perspective and realize that small town living was not bad at all sure you were not exposed to a lot of stuff like your friends and colleagues from bigger cities were but how many people can say that they are pretty much on speaking terms with most of the people they grew up with.
I don’t live there now, a lot of my friends moved away then moved back because it is a terrific place to raise young kids but after that you know the teenage years it gets tough there is not much opportunity/jobs since the mine closed and you end up getting stuck in patterns.
I used to visit but now I don’t have any family there my brother lived there with his family for a bit and used to visit then the last time I was home was in 2005 for my high school reunion of all things. My dad moved away when he decided to build a house somewhere else.
It just feels foreign, it’s not home anymore although I did grow up there from the age of 2 on and off till I left to go to College then I came back for 5 months and haven’t lived there since. I feel like a stranger in my hometown. I can still walk down the streets though and run into someone I know. It just doesn’t have that same pull it used to.
I keep saying that I’m going to drive there and go around taking pictures of various things that I used to do. a lot of the places I used to cherish are gone my old grade school was torn down, as was some other buildings and now it is just empty land. Someone else lives in my childhood home, the friends I do have left are acquaintances, not people I could show up on their doorstep and visit with. Well that’s not true I probably could and they would open their home to me, I choose not to just drop in.
It just doesn’t feel like home anymore and more often then naught I remember the bad over the good. Some of my worse memories are in that town, but so are my good. So I haven’t visited would like to but I want to do it on my own, so I can relive all the memories if they come up and deal/heal and move on, so that will have to wait till I can drive. Because I know that my hometown still holds the key to having closure on some of my baggage growing up, that I have buried inside of myself.
It really wasn’t that bad was it.