I was recently reminded how fortunate I was to grow up in the seventies because of a Facebook page I was invited to join called Chateauguay in the 70’s. It’s been a real treat to catch up with some of the folks I grew up with and learn what they’ve been up to.
We’ve discussed everything from who remembers their old phone number to where everyone lives now and what they do for a living.
The other day, I checked out my childhood home on Instant Street View, shared it on the Chateauguay in the 70s page and suggested others do the same. Many did and some even compared instant street view with photos from when they lived there decades ago. After posting it to my brother’s page (above photo), I took a virtual walk around my old neighbourhood.
It took me right back to my childhood. You should try it!
I used to get on my bike, go around the block and pick up Theresa, then the two of us would ride to Gloria’s house, pick her up. Go play in Maple Park for a bit, go to Cam’s and get a cherry coke and hickory sticks. Maybe ride down to the Chateauguay River, sit on the bank, talk about stuff while lazily tossing rocks into the river or take off our shoes, roll up our pant legs and cool our feet.
I remember cutting through the field, walking the back way to the Chateauguay Shopping Centre, getting greasy fries in a paper bag, adding salt and vinegar and shaking it up, buying farmer sausages at Buster’s for a buck and eating them on the way home, joining in on skipping games at the end of my street…
Blue bells, cockle shells, Evie, ivy, over. I like coffee. I like tea. I like the boys and the boys like me. yes, no, maybe so, yes, no, maybe so…
Hopscotch, Red Rover, Frozen Tag, Mother May I, Hide and Seek, Trick or Treat, Cowboys and Indians, building forts, street chalk art, fire crackers, footsie, belly laughing, roller skating, mall walking, singing and dancing.
Often we went out after breakfast and sometimes we didn’t come home till supper. Those were the days. Outside was our playground. We never ran out of stuff to do.
~ HUMP DAY CHRONICLES ~
What was your favourite childhood activity? Which decade did you grow up in?
Those were my brother Michael’s words when I posted on Facebook what a blast it was to visit with my family last week.
You may have been thinking that I was MIA but really I was at the Schwenkonsortium.
The only thing that could have made it even more spectacular is if my daughter had been able to join us.
She would have loved the impromptu photo session courtesy of neighbor Roberto. But more on that in a bit.
I arrived at the Pierre Elliot Trudeau Airport in Montreal early lastTuesday afternoon.
And was greeted by Uncle Arno who’d been on a business trip in Chicago and decided to visit The Schwenks before flying back to Berlin.
After making a quick stop to say hi to my brother and his family, Arno and I headed west to my parents place on the border of Quebec and Ontario.
There was a lot of catching up.
There was a lot of eating out at restaurants.
There was a lot of playing Mackebeen (not sure on spelling) with mom.
And there was a lot of reminiscing and laughing about the good old days like where Oma and Opa were born, how they met and when they got married.
I had the group in stitches as I read old German documents out loud with exaggerated pomp and loud stereotypical German authority in my voice.
I had the pleasure of meeting Pauline who comes in once a week to look after my dad. It takes a special kind of person to be a caregiver and Pauline definitely fits the bill.
Dad thinks so too, because on Thursday when she came and we sat down to eat together, dad didn’t hesitate to tell me that I was about to sit in Pauline’s spot!
On Friday night the kids – what mom calls my uncle, brother, sister-in-law and me – went to L’Acadamie on Rue St. Denis for an excellent meal prepared by Chefs-in-training.
The food was F A N T A B U L O U S !
And you can bring your own wine!
My brother and his wife had veal with pasta. Uncle Arno had yellow tuna and rice. Nephew Spencer opted for Salmon. And I went for grilled chicken with a pink pepper sauce.
Did I mention that I love Montreal?
After dinner Uncle and I headed back to the Schwenk homestead to reminisce and laugh some more with mom and dad (uncle’s brother).
On my second-to-last day, Uncle Arno and I headed to Mike’s place for a barbecue. Arno left for the airport to fly back to Germany after dinner.
The rest of us family, neighbours, friends sat outside in the beautiful 30c/86f temperature enjoying each other’s company.
It was a surprise birthday party for nephew Spencer, whose actual birthday is in July but was being celebrated in September because his parents are lame – Heather’s words, not mine!
As the sun set and the sky grew dark, neighbor Roberto set up his camera for a fun, somewhat visually experimental and creative photo shoot.
Brother Michael, SIL Heather and I stayed up until 2AM which seemed like a good idea at the time, but not so wise when we got up at 4:30AM to head to the airport so I could catch my plane back to Calgary.
All in all, it felt good to be home. I really should go there more often.
~ HUMP DAY CHRONICLES ~
Do you cut loose when you’re with family? Do you see them often enough?
Calgary, Christmas, daughters, Diana Schwenk, Events, Fairview Shopping Centre, family, friends, Gangnam Style, generosity, Good byes, Hockey, joy, La Vieux Chateau, laughter, living in the moment, love, memories, Montreal, parents, Relationships, Storm
I don’t care how poor a man is; if he has family, he’s rich ~ Dan Wilcox and Thad Mumford
Following are some Christmas snippets for your reading pleasure. Unfortunately, I was negligent in taking the quality of photos I intended to take and I hope my family will send me the ones they took!
Here’s the thing about family. It’s difficult at times – all those personalities. All those quirks and preferences. And for the most part they never tell you what you want to hear. They’re too busy telling you what they really think! Isn’t that the value of family though? There’s an old saying that goes, “…you can pick your friends but you can’t pick your family…” I’ve heard it said with negative connotations … like you’re stuck with them or something. But I think that’s a good thing – through thick and thin they’re in it with you – they’re not going anywhere.
I was a proud Aunty at my nephew’s hockey game. His skating and skill have greatly improved in just one year. They didn’t win but the Ref missed an important call and that affected the morale of a team of 8-10 years old. They played with heart though and even have two girls on their team!
Fairview Shopping Centre
If you’re a last-minute shopper like me and Michaela you already know that malls a few days before Christmas are a zoo! But we asked my sister-in-law to drop us off at Fairview so we could do some last-minute shopping. Well we got it done and thank God they fill them malls with chairs so you can sit down with all your packages and rub your temples while you tell yourself it will be different next year! FYI, it’s never different…
Christmas Eve and Christmas Day
We spent Christmas Eve at my parent’s place and enjoyed a meal of Rouladen, rote kohl and potatoes. My mom asked me to make a toast before the meal to remember those in our family who aren’t with us anymore. We raised our glasses and thought about those no longer living and those too far away to join us. I looked around the table at my brother, Michael, his wife, Heather, their son Spencer, Heather’s parents, Alice and Horace, my daughter, Michaela and my parents and said, “… you know some people think Christmas is about presents, but I think the best gifts are right around this table, family is better than any gift and I am so glad we’re all together…” Clink, clink…
Christmas Day was hosted by Michael and Heather and we enjoyed turkey with all the trimmings. It’s amazing how hot a house gets when there are 9 people in there and the oven has been on all day! I tell ya, the whole holiday vacation, there was no shortage of food! Michael said a heart-felt toast (almost as good as mine on the previous day wink wink)
Breakfast at La Vieux Chateau
La Vieux Chateau is the favourite, hands-down restaurant in Hawkesbury, Ontario. It’s owned and operated by a local family (awesome people) and Dad likes to treat us to breakfast there. Almost every morning we went into town to have breakfast as a family and I really enjoyed meeting the locals.
We weren’t sure if we would make it back to Calgary on the morning of our scheduled flight. Montreal saw a record 48 cm of snow and morning flights had been canceled. But my brother braved the 55 km to my parent’s house to pick us up and bring us to the airport. Our flight was scheduled for 6:45pm but we didn’t board until 8:30 and then it was too slippery for the fuel truck to come fill the plane! Ahh eventually we took off and landed 3 hours later than our original landing time. What the heck if we’d left on time I would not have met the coolest 87 year-old lady from Barbados and I wouldn’t have had the pleasure of sitting in the bar with my daughter!
Driving Michaela Home
On the 29th, I drove Michaela back home to Camrose ( a 3 1/2 hour drive) and along the way, as we had become accustomed to eating breakfast out, we stopped at Smitty’s for a breakfast brunch in Red Deer. It’s always hard to take her home and it was wierd the next day how quiet it was at my place. Still I’m grateful for the time we spent together and as I type these words, a smile is tugging at the corners of my mouth as I remember Oma dancing to Gangnam Style in the dining room inspiring Michaela and I to invent very odd and new dance moves to this song.
I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas too and remember it doesn’t matter how little you have, if you have family you are rich.
~ THE HUMP DAY CHRONICLES ~
I’d love to hear some of your Christmas snippets, please share them below and Mom the link below is for you!
My daughter and I are flying to Montreal tomorrow morning!
We will be spending Christmas with my family.
For me, it’s the first time in 23 years.
For my daughter it’s the first time EVER!
I will try to post some tidbits while I’m away but my time on here will be sporadic.
I will miss my online community ❤
I will miss your brilliance and inspiring stories and messages.
Be good to each other and…
I wish you a Merry Christmas and very Happy New Year!
Hugs an’ Kisses
God gave us one mouth and two ears, we should use them in proportion to each other…
I love engaging in conversation
I love the back and forth flow of words
I strive to understand
I strive to be understood
On my good days I’m curious and open-minded.
On my not-so-good days I’m stubborn and it’s more important to broadcast my views.
The year was 1987.
I was on a Greyhound bus with my best friend.
We were heading back east because her dad had passed away.
It was a 3 1/2 day drive.
That’s a long time but we managed to stay civil all the way there.
I don’t know if you’ve ever taken a bus across Canada without stopping anywhere to get a good night’s sleep and shower…
By the time we got to Kitchener, Ontario the bus was ripe with body odor.
We spent a few days there so my friend could be with her family and then continued on to Montreal, Quebec to visit with my folks.
When it was time to go back to Kamloops, British Columbia we’d become a little … well…sick of each other.
The 3 1/2 day bus ride back dragged on and felt like forever. We began to snap at each other over really stupid things.
Finally we didn’t want to sit together.
When we got back to our respective homes, we didn’t even want to speak to each other. This went on for 2 – 3 weeks.
During this time I gave some thought to our cross-country trip. How had it become such a disaster?
I mean seriously, the reason I went in the first place was to support my friend during a difficult time.
Why had I been such jerk?
I should have understood.
I should have shown a little grace.
I should have been more supportive.
I don’t remember who finally called who but we started talking again and I’m glad we did. We forgave each other and went on being friends even to this day some 20+ years later.
Today we joke about our ‘Bus Ride from Hell.’
A bus ride that taught me when I stop listening…
when I insist on broadcasting my opinion…
dialogue turns into monologue and relationships fall apart.
It’s a lesson I still have to remind myself of.
Sometimes I forget and am quicker to speak and slower to hear.
I’m not always true to who I am.
But as someone wise recently told me …
we all have our off days, so when you mess up just forgive yourself and try again.
So when I slip
I forgive myself
re-engage in the conversation
and become quick to listen and slow to speak.
God gave me two ears and one mouth – I need to use them in proportion to each other.
Do you struggle with using your ears and mouth in proportion to each other?
Happy Father’s Day to all the great Dads out there – especially mine.
I’ve written about my Dad before here.
But with Father’s Day just around the corner, I feel a need to dig around some more in my treasure chest of yesterdays and pull out a few more memories.
My Dad is a simple man. I don’t mean simple-minded, just simple in needs.
A hard-working man who spent decades working at Kraft Foods, Canada in Montreal, Quebec.
He was a good provider.
And although not immediately obvious when first meeting him; Dad has more than one side.
Dad sold part of his precious stamp collection so that he could make a down payment on our first family home.
Dad collects everything including, but not limited to: stamps, coins, license plates, antiques, military and police uniforms and badges, pins and pretty much everything he’s ever owned – much to Mom’s dismay!
A quiet man…well most times. Dad likes to push people out of their comfort zones…well kinda. I think I inherited this from him but I will spare you the incriminating photos. 😉
There was the time I came down for breakfast and Dad was reading the paper and drinking his coffee just like he always does.
Only this particular morning he was doing so in his underwear, undershirt, long-haired red wig and cowboy hat!
I stood there, mouth open, staring.
He looked at me, with a hint of a smirk pulling on the corners of his mouth, over his glasses and said, “What?”
Another time during one of the most powerful thunderstorms I’d ever witnessed, Dad went outside with an umbrella and watered the lawn.
I can’t even find words to describe the looks we got from neighbours!
The Cure for Everything
Most of you have probably seen ‘My Big Fat Greek Wedding’ where the father’s cure for everything is Windex, right?
Well in our household, whether you had acne, sprained your ankle, got a painful sunburn, cut yourself shaving, had a cold sore, toothache, stomach-ache, earache, cramps in your leg, the hiccups, a bad cough, a runny nose, growing pains, a mole, a wart, a fat lip, a black eye, Chicken Pox, Tonsillitis, ingrown toenail, hang nail – you name it – there was only one sure cure.
He’d look at you and simply say, “Put Nivea on it.”
Kindness and Generosity.
Dad has a kind and generous heart.
Dad always tips well and has a good rapport with all the waitresses in the restaurants he frequents.
Many of them have known him for decades and he gets invites to weddings and other special occasions all the time.
It’s not unusual for him to slip me or another family member a couple of bucks now and then.
When you tell him it’s not necessary, his brow knits together and he says, “Ach come on just take it.”
Years ago when my friend’s Dad passed away, he put his hand on her shoulder and said, “If you want, I can be your Dad from now on.”
He still asks about her now and then and inquires about how she’s doing.
Hopefully I’ve inherited a bit of this side of him as well.
I hope you have a great Father’s Day Dad.
And even though I can’t be with you in person, know that I’m thinking of you and smiling.
What is your favourite ‘DAD’ memory?
- To My Dad – A Daughter’s Love Letter (300dayjourney.wordpress.com)