Back when I was a kid I received a home darkroom developing kit. I remember the gift coming from a favourite aunt and uncle. I’ve been lugging that kit back and forth across the country, as I’ve moved from job to job, for probably 50 years. Last weekend, I decided to haul it up from the basement. I found a paper envelope in the kit. Inside, a black and white negative. Odd size. Definitely not 120, more like 116 or 616, film formats that Kodak manufactured for some models of Brownie cameras from 1899 to 1984. I plopped it on my scanner and pressed the button.
The image that emerged was of a scene that looked familiar, yet one I hadn’t seen for a long time.
As long as I remember, these towering sentinels have stood watch over the town. At bedtime, I would gaze into the darkness to find reassurance in those patient silhouettes. Beneath them, the industry that gave the town its life and its livelihood banged and thumped and hummed hypnotically. Embraced in that lullaby, secure in the shadows of those dark sentinels, I could drift off to sleep.
It’s funny how the things we grew up with, become the familiar. The rhythms we were born into stay with us all our lives. Continue reading →
What if, one day, when you were a grown-up, you went back to your old home and climbed the ladder into your parents’ attic?
And, way in back, in a dim corner, barely illuminated by the flashlight in your hand, there was a box, a trunk, a large, dusty wooden trunk, with a lock that used a skeleton key?
So you contemplate whether or not to open it, to turn the key and open the lock, carefully, because you don’t know what might be in there, and the attic was a place that you seldom entered when you were a kid, not only because it was hard to get to, but because it was a cold and dark and drafty and scary place, and only the grown-ups were allowed in there. Continue reading →
Cottonwood Falls Park, Nelson, BC. (Darrell Noakes)
Deep in the recesses of my mind is a distant memory of a place my parents took me to once. It was a beautiful place, a canyon with groomed pathways, a lush garden, and a long waterfall that saturated the air with a cool mist. The water seemed to flow out of the sky. It splashed over rocks into a creek and then ran under a bridge and out into a wide, deep, slow moving river that shimmered with hues of green and blue.
I doubt I could have been more than two or three years old at the time, and we spent barely an afternoon there on a hot summer day, and we never went back. The memory of that place has persisted all my life. Whenever I think of the home where I grew up, I think of that place. Sometimes it enters my dreams, where I can still see myself running up and down the pathways of the canyon.
Whenever I asked my parents where that place was, they always shrugged. Continue reading →
Randy Glover posted on his Lost Kootenays blog an old photo of children sleighing on Goepel Street in Trail, BC, in 1947. You don’t see that so much these days.
Well, here’s a modern update. It’s minus 16 degrees Celsius in Saskatoon today, and there are kids playing in the street.
Our Saskatoon neighbourhood has changed a lot over the years. Maybe it’s now come full circle. Given the age of this subdivision, I bet that at about the time when we were growing up and playing in the streets of Trail, there were kids here doing the same. Continue reading →