Saturday, April 18, 2009

My Edmonton

My wife and I last lived in Edmonton in 1980. We had a year in Ontario in 1978-79, we were back in Edmonton for a year after that, and we've been away since then. For some time we travelled back at least once a year, often with financial assistance from parents. (I was the perennial student, perhaps evoking some sympathy). I think we were both back for Christmas 1987, with my wife pregnant with our first child. I think we kept assuming that we'd be back at least once a year, that people and places would be familiar and we would just need a little updating.

If I'm right, we weren't back again until my father-in-law's memorial service in the fall of 1990 (I held our second child, who was a few months old). I went back on my own for my father's memorial service in 1995, and I went again in 2005 partly to celebrate my niece's graduation from high school. My wife and son joined me on a trip in 2007--the first time they were there since 1990.

Part of the reason for absence was that we lived so far away: Toronto, Minnesota, New Brunswick, the Toronto area again. Our daughter was severely handicapped, and we were usually her main caregivers. (She died in 2004). Our income was limited, etc. Still, it's a bit of a shock to me to go back (I still want to say home) and think and feel that I wanted to be more a part of the lives of people there than I have been.

We owe a lot to my mother for paying for family reunions on my side in 1996, 1998, and 2000. It was great to see my brothers and their families, and these were about the only vacations my wife and I had in those years. There were no similar gatherings on my wife's side, nor among friends in Edmonton.

My race day approaches, and I got some runs in the beautiful river valley in Edmonton. I think this shot shows part of the McKinnon Ravine, leading from the bottom of Government Hill, at the north end of Groat Bridge, more or less straight west. In the 1970s there were those who wanted to build a freeway through here to connect the west end to downtown. I had a job with a community newspaper that allowed me to interview members of City Council along with other local notables. One councillor showed me plans for the freeway with great pride.

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