Where there is a will there is a way

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Old world, New world

I have visited home before - but not during winter.  I think any person who has permanently left their homeland and relocated can understand the depth of feelings it is to leave one world and have it absent completely for a long time - then suddenly return to it.  Just the chill in the air - that's something I haven't felt in ten years - when you come out of a warm space like a car or a house and come out to a colder chilliness - brings back my entire life of memories and experiences until 27 years of age when I left here.

Here is Calgary (said CAL-gry).

Snow crunching, air chilly - memories of air frigid and the cold despite dressing really really warm.  All sorts of memories have been flooding that sometimes play through my mind at random times in semi-tropical home.  The satisfying crunch thin ice over a puddle of water in the park - just the freshness of home.  To be honest, not usually freezing but fresh and sunny.  Snow melting, bright, fresh days.

My family's home was overwhelming - as I thought it would be.  But having grown up in a heritage home and having thought it was normal at the time - since then I have lived in newer houses, and I can feel the history of the wooden steps, everything far more handbuilt than now. Switches that push in with a loud click, they don't flip, beautiful wood and wallpaper.  Like a farm cottage, really beautiful.  The shape of closets and spaces all over the home - original 1913 bathroom with old taps and a bathtub with claw feet.  But as different as it was at the time - my family bought a run-down "haunted house" at the time and completely restored it - but it took 20 years and alot of effort.  The kids grew up helping our parents.  Now it's a gorgeous historical home - even more bizarrely in the middle of sweeping change of this neighbourhood around it, like a beautiful stone in a river.  I hope they never change it.  Many little box homes remain on the streets around it, but about one in 10 has been transformed into a monster multiple living plex - rising up like the future around it.  But enough remains of what I knew, the old, which is also new again to me.

My favourite was when the garage door raised up, returning home for the first time - and even more from the old world was exposed.  A completely wooden garage inside, hung completely with tools - many old but kept in perfect condition.  The floor, wooden - the window - the same from when this garage was built to keep the cold out.  The garage is not that old I don't think, as the house, which is from 1913, but it's still such an old way of living inside it.  There is even a cellar under floorboards of the garage - the "greasepit" for working under the car.  But my family stored potatoes in it for a family of 10 to live off of all winter long.  Which we grew here on this city property.  So not a normal City of Calgary residence at all.  A special, special place.

I will take photos tomorrow in the light - it got dark here at 5pm!  But I will disturb people now.  I did photograph one very small thing.  My dad has built many things around this place - every wooden chair shines, every bookshelf made into a better one - and now he has a masters woodworking shop in his garage.  In fact I am besmoggled by their management and care and just the strength of their "good husbandry" - I think it's a term that means they look after things well.   Everything is clean, fresh, painted, simplified, organized.  I feel extremely intimidated, or besmallered - my way is very small in contrast to the strength of their organization.  People who used to run a ship of 2 adults and 8 kids - who now just manage themselves.  Anyways of the many other well-maintained tools about this place, shelves, quilts, etc, this is the little wooden structure my Dad has made just for drying small plastic bags he has washed.  I will take lots of more photos.  Just for us all to learn from, including myself!  I want to remember.

I really really want to paint our home, and not be lazy - there are so many tiny unfinished projects I have not even bothered to finish.  A kids dresser half painted, a fairy dress unsewn with pattern and material ready, a unicorn stuffed animal cut but not sewn.  Kids room unpainted.  Whole house unpainted.  Hideous curtains.

See why it's overwhelming to visit home?  For now - besides documenting it all - I will enjoy that long missed experience of the crunch of snow.  And helping my NZ family to not slip and break any legs on that slippery ice!

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