And here we go again. I don't know how long these pedestrian tales (no pun intended) will continue, given that I've taken up bike riding in the last hour or so, but I have at least one more anecdote to put down on proverbial paper. Today's is a sort of blast from the past, thankfully sans Brendan Fraser.
I apologize in advance for this entry's lack of pictures. In an entirely unsurprising turn of events no photos of Brantford's north end can be found in a Google Image search, and I'm too lazy and bereft of transportation to take another stroll and snap some pictures. Thus tonight's post may seem aesthetically drab. Then again, I did decorate my previous entry with photos of Brantford's most dilapidated buildings, so I'm not exactly operating at a loss.
July 29th, 2010; Second Walk - From Home to the North End
I spent the first four years of my life in a cozy three bedroom house in the Banbury Heights survey of Brantford, located in the city's borderline suburban northeast end. I say "borderline" because Brantford is a small enough locale to count as its own suburb (what one might call "recursive zoning"). Naturally, in the over 17 years that have passed since then my recollection of the time spent in there is hazy, to say the very least.
My memories of the first few years of my life amount to what is probably less than a minute of mental time--and yes, I did just quantify memory. A flash here or there, mostly images bereft of sound and any other sensation, and all of a sudden my mom and dad and a band of relatives are loading all of our belongings into the back of a big van. Minutes later we're unloading furniture and boxes into a house just across the street from my paternal grandparents' home, and I've just learned that this is my new home. Keep in mind, at this point in my short life the thought of a family collecting their possessions and moving across town, or to another city, or even another country, is an entirely foreign concept.
But this is just a prolonged, meandering way of saying that I moved, and that I have a very difficult time remembering anything about these early years. With the exception of some trips I had to have taken but can't recollect with any detail, I didn't visit the north end or see what had become of my old house until partway through high school, over a decade later. At the time my best friend Connor was living two or three streets over from where I spent my formative years and during the increasingly frequent trips to his house I was afforded more and more opportunities to stroll throughout the old neighbourhood.
Walking or even driving through this survey has a very unique effect on me, an effect that was felt with no less intensity during my stroll last night. As I pass by certain landmarks--a park on the edge of a cornfield, my old house, my former babysitter's old house, the consolidated public/Catholic school where I attended preschool--it's as though one of those aforementioned brief flashes of memory is being fleshed out just a little. Suddenly these flashes make sense, I'm able to place certain remembered locations in relation to each other geographically and I formulate an idea of what paths I took as a toddler. Even more interesting is the fact that though I know I had to have experienced these memories first hand, I can't mentally connect myself to them. Yet, I have no problem making this connection with memories borne of experiences after my move. In a weird way, it's seems as if the "narrative of my life" didn't truly begin until after I moved to my current permanent residence. That or it took four years for my brain and memory functions to properly develop.
To wrap things up, one of my favourite memories/landmarks is a concrete bridge spanning a creek right on the edge of Brantford. I can vividly remember my babysitter taking me down a path next to the bridge to look at tadpoles in the water. Writing this post, this is a moment when I really wish I had snapped a picture or two, as the way the bridge--simple and utilitarian in construction and design--seems to divide the neighbourhood from the semi-forested wilderness just beyond it. It's picturesque, to say the least, and the novelty of taking the occasional time out to visit it has yet to wear out.
And yeah, I don't know how to properly end this. Till later.