Thursday, June 16, 2016

Fifty Years a Canadian

We were very young. I was twenty and my new husband twenty-two. Twelve days married and we were flying off to a new country that we knew little about. We were told it was cold in the winter and hot in the summer but not much else. After our wonderful wedding, we said our goodbyes to our family and friends.

We were supposed to sail but a boat strike was on so we flew on a Boeing 427 or maybe 707, I think. What did I know about planes as I’d never been on one? Peter had to drag me over the tarmac. I think I cried for a solid hour before I was introduced to a Manhattan cocktail. Now that perked me up as it sounded so exotic. I’ve loved them ever since. I had a look out the window and saw a Rolls Royce symbol on the wing and felt safe so I settled down for the rest of the journey.

Why Canada you ask? Why not? We were young and wanted to see the world. Hitchhiking in Europe had given us the bug to do something different but no one had prepared us for the June heat in Toronto.
We landed in Montreal and took the train to Toronto to be met by my cousin Joe in a ’57 Chevrolet. It looked like a bus as we climbed into the back seat. White with big wings on the back. Red terry toweling covered the seats in case we stuck to the vinyl upholstery. No air in this car.

Peter was wearing a three- piece suit with shirt and tie. We didn’t clue into the fact that he could have removed his tie at least. I was wearing a wool (going away suit) that’s what brides wore from the honeymoon. Pill box hat, (I thought I was Jackie Onassis) and patent leather shoes. We must have looked odd to everyone else wearing sandals and shorts. We adapted fairly quickly after I got over the heat prostration.

We both landed jobs quickly. Peter in the Metro Police department and I in an office as a switchboard operator. After a month, we had our own apartment.
Culturally Canada was different but we soon came to love everything Canadian. There was the usual comparison about how people live, music, politics and other aspects of life. I took to it like water. Not so my husband. He became very homesick. After seven years he wanted to go home. So we did.
This time, we sailed to Southampton on a Polish liner with our first child Erik who was two. It was an expensive move. We were back in our condo apartment in three months. Fortunately, it hadn’t sold.

No, you can’t go home again. The family is the same but all your friends in the meantime have gone on with their lives without you. Some have moved away and others talk about things you’ve never heard of.

New jobs, two more children, a new home in the suburbs and many friends to share our lives.
Canada has been good to us. Its our home and we love it. Yet we still call Edinburgh, Scotland, home. I think that is true of anyone who is an immigrant. I like to visit my home country and see family and old friends but when I come back to Canada it feels good to be ‘ home’.

Our three children gave us five terrific grandsons. Watching them grow up in this wonderful country warms my heart.

June 16th/1966-June 16th/2016. Here’s to the next…

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