Saturday, 13 April 2013

A trip down memory lane . . .

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I'm feeling very nostalgic this morning. I belong to a reunion page on Facebook that has 543 members.   It's not a high school reunion page or anything, although it very much feels like that at times.  It's a Community Center Reunion page.   My father was in the Canadian Armed Forces and so we moved a bit when I was growing up, but my teenage years were all spent in Greenwood, Nova Scotia, which is where my parents also retired.   As a teenager I used to hang out at the Community Center, or the Rec as we affectionately called it.

About two years ago now, someone had the idea of having a reunion of all the kids that had ever hung out at the Rec through the years and they began this page on Facebook.   Like I said it has 543 members and I can't even begin to tell you how many showed up at the reunion last summer.   I missed it by a couple of weeks and was sad about that, but we just couldn't stay Canada side for any longer than the two weeks we were there.  Most of those 543 members are kids that hung out at the Rec between the late sixties and early seventies.

Most sites would disappear after the reunion, but this page has only gotten stronger and bigger.   It seems there are a lot of us that never want it to end.   I can think of a good reason for that.   For most of us, as Armed Forces "brats," extended family was very far away from where we were living.   Most of us didn't know Cousins and Aunts, Uncles . . . Grandparents . . . and the people at the Rec became our extended family.   Here was a whole group of people who had and were experiencing the same thing.   They all knew what it was like to be the "new" kid trying to fit in, and a whole other host of things that go along with being the child of a serving member of the Armed Forces.  In short we have a special bond . . .  gone are the scales of immaturity and the stigma of belonging to this crowd or that crowd . . . we are quite simply friends which share a common history . . .

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(And we thought we were so stylish!)

Back home the month of May is apple blossom month and they have a huge festival every year called the Apple Blossom Festival, which lasts pretty much the whole month.   It's quite the celebration  and all of the communities in the valley pick Princesses out of which one is chosen at the end as the Apple Blossom Queen.  It's quite an honor.  Yesterday someone posted a really nice link to a video of all the girls who had ever been Queen Annapolisa.  It was so fun to watch and right there Queen 1975 was one of my school/Rec mates, Kathy Welch.   I remembered her being Queen Annapolisa and I remembered her dying tragically in a motor cycle accident on Prince Edward Island just a few months later.    Sad, so sad . . .

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(Me.  I was 16 and in Grade 11.  The jumper I am wearing is one I sewed myself.  I thought it was so cool!  It was made of corduroy and had square purple corduroy pockets on the front near the hem)

The Rec was a great place to hang out.   There was a huge common room which had pool tables, and ping pong tables, Foosball tables and lots of other tables that you could sit at and share some conversation, play cards, etc.   There was a canteen where you could buy chips or burgers, candy bars, etc.    There was a bowling alley downstairs and a gym upstairs.   Some of the guys had a band and they used to practice in a room up over the stage at the end of the gym.  I remember hanging out there the odd time watching them practice.   There were adults there to supervise us to make sure things never got really out of hand and they were cool.  Everyone got a Teen Aires card which meant that you belonged to something and at least once or twice a month they would hold dances in the gym, with live bands.  I used to love those dances.

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(Is this how your hair smelled??   Mine did!)

Yesterday someone posted about the "last dance" of the evening syndrome and a flood of memories came back to me of dozens of last dances . . . and how very special they were.  I was never able to hang around much after that last "dance."   If the dance ended at midnight, my dad expected me through the door at five past, which meant as soon as the song ended I had to beat it home asap!   My dad was very strict and I knew if I was late it might mean that I wouldn't be allowed to go to the next dance and so I made sure I was home when I was supposed to be.

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They were great dances though.   I remember my ex husband (he was our paper boy) always used to ask me to dance once.   Not twice . . . but once.   He used to ask all the girls to dance . . . once.  Of course once we started dating, he only danced with me.   But I digress . . . I was remembering yesterday the best dance that I remember from that time period.   A band called "Flood" played.  Our Rec Teen/Aires committee always took great pains to get in great bands for these dances . . . most were bands from Nova Scotia like Matt Minglewood . . . but sometimes they got in bands from further afield.  Such was "Flood."   They were from England and mostly played Beatles and British pop songs.   I thought they were fantastic.

The night of that dance there was this guy that kept asking me to dance all the slow dances.   He was a Golf Pro that was in Greenwood for the summer that year and a bit older than most of us girls.   Best thing of all was he was British and had a dreamy accent which had all the girls going ga ga over him.  To make a long story short, he walked me home from the dance that night and just before he kissed me goodnight (sigh . . . ) he asked me if I would like to go out with him sometime.  Of course I said yes and gave him my telephone number.   I was 16, and hadn't had a proper boyfriend yet . . . he was 21.

True to his word a few days later he called and asked me to go out for coffee with him.  I was thrilled.  I didn't even drink coffee, but that didn't matter.  It was actually my first real "date."  My dad ruined it though by taking the telephone from me and telling him that if he wanted to take his daughter out this guy had to pick me up at the house.    That was the kiss of death for this particular date, but I didn't know it at the time.   I only knew that a few night later when I waited for him to show up and when he didn't . . . I thought I would never forgive my father for totally  ruining my life!!  Sigh . . .

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(Did you do this to your jeans?  I did, but used cotton fabric inserts for colour and style!)

I mentioned this on the group yesterday where we were talking about the dances and lo and behold . . . I was not the only 16 year old this 21 year old man had asked out.   There were lots of us!   In fact according to the consensus there were not many girls he didn't ask out that summer . . . and here was me all these years later still think I was special!  Oh boy . . . one of them thinks she has a photo of him somewhere so when she digs it up I will show it to you!  I remember him as being really dreamy . . . but . . . we all know how that goes.   He probably wasn't dreamy at all.

At any rate I think my dad was a pretty smart dad for keeping the wolf at bay.   I was far too young to go out with this man . . . and my dad knew it.   Good daddy!

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(I remember wearing bandanas and halter tops, bell bottoms, knitted vests etc.!)

I love all my friends on this reunion page.   A bunch of the guys are doing a sky dive together in May when I am home this time, and I may pop along to watch them all jump . . . or not jump.   It should be good for a laugh . . . and I find myself wondering how many of the almost 60 year olds will actually do the jump and how much of it is male bravado!   In any case it will be good to connect. with them once more and I find myself feeling pretty grateful this morning for being a part of such a great gang of people.   We support each other still .   We laugh with each other, we mourn with each other.   We just plain care for each other, and I think that's something which is pretty special in the world we live in today.

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I've been practicing doing faces in better detail with my watercolors.   This is what I did yesterday.   I'm getting there . . . actually she looks somewhat like my sister's daughter . . .when she was a teen,  Not sure why, but there it is . . .

A thought to carry with you through today . . .

"Let everyone sweep in front of his door and the whole world will be clean."
~Mother Teresa

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Saturday's offering in The English Kitchen . . . White Chocolate Drizzled Orange Cake.   Scrummo!


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