walking down someone else’s memory lane

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dear anderson,

i just got home from a week-long road trip with my mom.  i know you probably would do the same with your mom, but i know that lots of people would find the prospect of driving about 3,000km with their mother to be absolute torture.  but i knew i was helping her out, and more importantly, i knew it wouldn’t be much fun, so i was prepared.

we went to the pas, manitoba.  a town just north of the 53rd parallel circle of latitude.  this is pretty far north; very remote and uninhabited.  the town was celebrating its centennial – 100 years since being incorporated.  it started out as a major route for the hudson’s bay company and was known as the gateway to the north.  my grandparents moved there in the 1950s when my grandpa worked for the railway.  my mom was born there and lived there until she was about 12, then they moved to the big city (winnipeg – it’s all relative!)

i had been to the pas once before, when it celebrated its 75th anniversary, but i was 7 so i really don’t remember much beyond going to a mall that sold a lot of animal pelts.  so i was looking forward to going and getting some context.  my mom was looking for more.  she really wanted to revisit her childhood, and see if her memories held true.  it was really interesting to see how her perspective of her childhood changed over a few day span.  she went from almost dreading the trip and not wanting to think about her childhood to be pleasantly surprised at how many happy memories she managed to conjure up.  they may not have erased the more unpleasant memories, but maybe when she looks back now things will seem more balanced.

the highlight of the trip for me was seeing where things happened.  as it turns out, i’m almost as interested in where my great-grandparents lived as i would be in seeing a famous landmark in europe.  i took frantic photos in the pas and in winnipeg, and tried to imagine how different things would have looked when they were alive.  here are a few comparisons that i think are really cool.

so, i am glad i went.  i am sentimental and love to know more about where i came from.  i’m also really glad i downloaded an audiobook that we listened to while we drove.  it was 18 hours long and saved me from hours of small talk!!  if you want to know more about my mom’s journey, visit her new blog.

bye for now,

~k

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3 responses »

  1. I’m so glad you came with me on my journey back in time. I loved being able to tell you the memories as they occurred…like the one of the 2 headed calf and the bottled moose foetus in the town museum…or the Lido Movie Theatre where rumour has it I got my first kiss.
    You were so patient listening to conversations about events 50 years old!
    I love the photo comparisons…not much has changed in the houses while every thing has changed with the people…
    On a more technical note…how did you get your photos so small?
    Thank you so much!
    Love you!

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