Change unsettles me and I find myself digging in my heels, and trying to stay in one place as life drags me along. I cried and was periodically sad for a couple of months when my younger sister moved away to school. One Coldplay song in particular often moved me to a silent stream of swift-flowing tears. She was growing up and in Montreal would be legal drinking age... she would come home, but it wouldn't ever be the same as before.
I still picture my grade school as the old building, even though I have been in the new building numerous times. I remember the yellow-gold curtains and the grade four portable, the spot where I split open my chin on the ice, the kindergarten doors which we would visit from time to time, the spot between the portables where we endlessly traded stickers, the pavement where we played our skipping games, the gravel where we staked our claims in Land.
I can precisely envision my grandparent's house in Corinth, which was over 100 years-old. Even though they lived nearly a decade in another dwelling, to me this was always their home. I remember the greenhouse, the smell of potting soil, the moist feel of the tiny little plants, the sound of "Big Bad John" or "When Irish Eyes are Smiling" enlivening the atmosphere from the ancient radio on St. Patrick's Day.
I remember my grandparent's bedroom which my sister and I slept in at night; we were always falling towards each other, and sometimes were awakened by the trains shaking the house after the warning signal shattered the quiet murmur of the night. That happened more often though in the smaller bedroom in a different era, when we would awaken to count the cars between the engine and the caboose... I had the cot and my sister had the bed with our scratchy but clean and well-aired blankets. We had a tiny black and white tv in the room we could sometimes watch tv on, but the grainy images deterred us from watching much, especially when there was a better television down the winding stairs. My brother had a room to himself in the front of the house, where there was also a crib and beneath it a communication to the downstairs living room.
I can recall how many times we ran to a window to catch a glimpse of the black buggies clip-clopping past and how excited we were when the general store owner across the tracks gave us penny candy for free. I remember Tinkerbell who mimicked the sounds of the outside birds attracted by numerous feeders.
Recalling the beauties of the gardens and remembering the back porch cookie and juice breaks, I am pierced by a sadness, because, not only are my grandparents passed into glory, but also this place does not remain the same except in my memory. Now junk clutters the greenhouse and the house has been disemboweled to re-adjust it to pre-electricity and convenience days.
Some places you can no longer return to, and some habits you must replace. Some people you have to say good-bye to, and eventually you yourself will be old and your memories scattered to the wind like so many particles of dust.