In response to The Daily Post prompt, the early years
My early years were defined by a series of moves. We moved province to province, city to country and back again. We moved within the same city many times too. Like Goldilocks and the three bears we seemed always searching for “just right.”
A move for me was a grand adventure chock full of possibilities. There were new friends, a new bedroom, and a new school, complete with teachers and students to show my treasures during show and tell. There were moves that were sad too, a craft project left behind and Valentine cards lost in transit and never opened. I’ve dreamed many times of finding that too large heart stuffed with cards addressed to me and relishing in the stilted words and corny sentiments from long ago.
Through necessity, I learned to fake confidence. A skill that served me well as I met new friends, teachers and neighbours. Never letting them see me sweat I drew people in with my false bravado, charm and humour. No friends from that time remain. It was not possible to get close, as the moving van would soon arrive and take me to the next destination, where the process would begin anew.
Our home in Northern Alberta was the highlight of this tumultuous time. I was five, my brother seven, and my sister twelve. There were no close neighbours, no potential friends, we relied on each other. We played games, created blanket tents held together by clothes pins and donned our Klondike days attire as we sashayed up the gravel driveway singing, “Ain’t she sweet..” We laid on our backs and considered clouds as we watched the shapes shift into endless images for our perusal and entertainment.
I found a rusted bike with flat tires in the shed and taught myself to ride by persevering. I maneuvered it up and down our gravel driveway and after many falls, scrapes and cuts, succeeded in making it all the way up and down without falling. I was rewarded with a brand new bike later that year. The value of hard work and perseverance still remains central in my life.
My boy cat, Seymour turned out to be a girl cat. We learned this when she gave birth to six kittens. We watched them open their eyes for the first time, take their first steps and catch their first mouse under the watchful eyes of their Mom.
We saw flying squirrels, were fearful of the cellar and loved the smell of wax on the freshly buffed hardwood floor. My sister was the boss and in my memory she is central with our parents retreating slightly out of focus. She had the best plans, my brother and I her lackeys going along for better or worse. We ran from bears, trying to keep pace with her as she sped away on her bike. She convinced us that the landfill was quicksand just beyond the barely there fence.
It was home. I can still close my eyes and walk through its rooms. I can look out the windows and imagine the night sky or a bright blue sky beckoning me outside to fields of lilies and a day of possibilities when life was simple and we were young.