As I sat in the backseat of my Toyota Corolla, the sleeves of my newly purchased Bluenotes hoodie were quickly running out of dry cotton space to wipe away the hot tears that were invading my face. I was watching my dad pull out of the driveway of 6 Tamarack Street, my childhood home in Pine Falls, Manitoba.
In August of 2008, my parents convinced me to move halfway across the country to attend university in New Brunswick, where they both grew up before moving to Manitoba; a place I’ve called home for the past 26 years.
That day, my parents promised I could come home for Thanksgiving dinner, less than two months away. Since then, I’ve returned to my humble abode several times for holidays, laundry facilities, brand-name cereal and a nutritional meal every once in a while.
A few weeks ago, my dad interrupted my Saturday afternoon nap with a text, breaking the news he put the for sale sign on our front lawn.
Over the past 26 years my life has changed dramatically from moving to New Brunswick, back to Manitoba, to New Brunswick, back to Manitoba and back to New Brunswick again- but 6 Tamarack Street always stayed the same. It had the same gravel driveway where I learned to ride my bicycle. It had the same backyard deck, where visitors would randomly drop by and sip coffee all afternoon. It had the same kitchen where my dad and I would play our bagpipes so all the neighbours could hear.
It was my home.
But this time, there would be no going back for Thanksgiving dinner.
I knew it was coming, later, in the future, someday, a long time from now. My parents had always wanted to move back home to New Brunswick.
Now that day is here and my dad keeps sending me texts of for sale signs on the lawn to prove it.
Growing up, my house was the best street to live on. It was across the street from the Shell station, where all the cool kids hung out on Friday night. Even though I wasn’t one of them, I was still able to peer out my bedroom window to check on who was dating, who wasn’t dating and who was buying a sub sandwich at 11 p.m.
It was right beside the arena where I grew up playing ringette and later had my high school graduation. The legion was right across the street where my parents would meet their friends after work and where my mom would later retire. It was also right next to the park where my friends and I would spend hours playing grounders on the play structure.
It might not have looked like much to some people. The basement was filled with piles and piles of wood that I wasn’t too fond of stacking in the winter. The kitchen was decorated in old birthday banners and sticky notes written with boys’ names in hearts by my high school best friend, Emily.
But it was everything to us.
Six Tamarack Street was where my friends and I got ready for dances, had hundreds of sleepless nights discussing important topics in my bedroom such as boys, boys and- more boys.
It’s where we baked chocolate chip cookies on the kitchen floor with the neighbours because they were too short to see over the kitchen counter.
It’s where you could find every single student in the neighbourhood learning something of value from my mom in our living room. That or dissecting some sort of animal for a biology project.
It’s where we would watch 18 hours worth of movies on Christmas day.
It’s where my dad would make maple syrup for the entire community from the trees on our front yard and host lobster boils –again for the entire community in the backyard.
It’s the place I went and hid under the covers when life was impossible.
My home brought a sense of recluse, safety and warmth to everyone who went there.
I get it. Change is inevitable. And now, this home will be nothing more than old memories stuffed inside old banana boxes that shaped me into the person I am today.
There really is no place like home and mine was the perfect place to grow up. But now it’s time to build a new one.
On behalf of my family, I want to thank everyone in the Powerview-Pine Falls community for making my home such a wonderful place to grow up. I wouldn’t be the person I am today without the love, kindness and nurturing I received from my small community, 120 kilometres north-east of Winnipeg.
I hope someone somewhere will be able to benefit from it as much as I did for the past 26 years.