It seems as though 2016 has been a year for monumental anniversaries for me … today, is still another.
We moved to the United States from Canada on July 8, 1966, so that means that I have lived here in the U.S. for 50 years as of today.
I am reminded of my mom on this anniversary, because every July 8th, she would announce to her friends, rather tongue-in-cheek, that it was “the luckiest day of your life that I moved here!”
Over the years, I tried saying that phrase to friends, or, at work to bosses or co-workers, but no one pumped my hand and said “congratulations”, nor did that expression even elicit a smile, so I finally quit saying it.
As to “the big move”, for me, at just ten years old, I was heartbroken to leave my friends and school chums and move over here. I loved school and did well, even getting double-promoted two different times, so it was all about me and how this move would impact my young life as I knew it. But, I suffered silently and couldn’t lament too much about my apprehensions or sadness over the impending move, or thereafter, since my very strict parents would not have allowed such an expression of my feelings; you know the old adage that kids should be seen, and not heard.
My mom was adamant that we should return to Canada one day – my dad promised her in ten years we would, but, of course, that never happened.
My father was a tool-and-die maker that was transferred from Ford of Oakville to Ford’s Woodhaven Stamping Plant – apparently they were in dire need of this type of tradesman, so it was Ford that sponsored our move.
We left mid-day on the 8th, having said our goodbyes to family and friends throughout the course of the week. There was a hang-up at the border getting processed with our paperwork, and we got to the new house much later than planned, as did the moving van which didn’t arrive until the next day because their truck developed mechanical issues.
Luckily, my parents had the forethought to put sleeping bags and air mattresses in the back of the car, left over from the one and only time our family had gone camping, so these became our respective “beds” the first night in the U.S.
On Saturday morning July 9th, we all woke up a little stiff and cramped from sleeping on the floor. We were hungry, so my father remembered seeing a donut shop in the neighborhood, so off he traipsed to Dunkin’ Donuts a few blocks away. He came home bearing a ½ dozen of jelly donuts, coffee and some cocoa for me.
Then we waited.
Finally, in the early afternoon, the movers arrived, and, they too, had been waylaid at the border. They made quick work of filling up the house with our furniture. I still recall my mom, standing at the front window while watching the movers transport the furniture from the van to the house. She was aghast to discover the neighbors in the corner house had plunked themselves into webbed chaise lounges on their front lawn, and settled in with cold drinks and binoculars to watch the parade of furniture going into the house. (Really?!)
Fifty years! It doesn’t seem possible to me. I hooked up with a few people from Oakville, Ontario after I found a Facebook site for my old grade school, E.A. Orr. You may recall that I discovered and relived some early memories with a classmate from kindergarten, Maggie Rust, and wrote about that encounter https://lindaschaubblog.net/2015/01/28/on-this-cold-january-day-i-took-a-stroll/
In the past I Googled my old street address and it looked so different from what I could recall in my mind, and through black-and-white photos in the family albums. So, I mentioned it to someone on the E.A. Orr school site and gave them the address. They were kind enough to send me a video of the interior of the house which had recently been up for sale, plus take some still shots of the front of the house as well. Wow! Nothing looked familiar and I was told that most of the homes in this subdivision, which was brand-new when we moved there in ‘59, had since been razed and much larger homes built in their stead.
Now, I have no family left in my homeland, so I’ll likely never visit there again. My mom wanted her ashes scattered in Canada. An acquaintance of mine did this as a favor to me and chose a quiet rural area near a stream in Amherstburg … Mom loved her ducks and birdcalls, so she would have approved this natural setting as her final resting place.
Happy anniversary to me!
[Images from Pixabay]