Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Home in Halifax

My grandmother was born in Canada. She was one of more than 10 siblings. A few I can still name: Leona, Agnes, Catherine - and of course my grandmother - Matilda.
My grandmother came to the states and married my grandfather, but lots of her siblings stayed put. The result of this is that there's a small town in Nova Scotia where we are related to everyone.
When he was a kid my dad was sent by my grandmother to her hometown where he would stay for the summer with his cousins.
He took my mother here on their honeymoon and brought me for the first time when I was a year old.
I can't remember 43 years back but for as far back as I can remember, this town has changed very little. Houses have been repainted, a few are gone and a handful have been built. Satellite dishes and clothes lines used to dot every lawn, the clothes lines remain but satellite seems to have given way to cable.
We used to come during April vacation when I was a kid and when I got older right after college let out in May. Sometimes I would tag along going to school with my cousins and in the evenings we would hang out in the shed listening to Duran Duran while surrounded by salted fish that was hanging up to dry.
My sister would play in the yard with neighbor kids who didn't speak English and not notice.
Now my kids come and trail after my cousin Joseph who takes them fishing and lets them climb on the roof of the same shed.
The dominant industry in town remains fishing related while hand-painted signs out in front of houses advertise the side jobs of the resourceful occupants who live in them: smoked mackerel, fire wood, fresh bread, quilts.
I am always struck by repeatedly seeing my grandmother's surname on mailboxes and street signs, in amongst the Surettes, Doucets, and Boudreaus. I feel a sense of belonging to this timeless and welcoming place.
It's true that you can't go home again but lucky for me I'll always have Wedgeport.

album: Home in Halifax • artist: Stan Rogers

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