Ahhhhhh! Sigh of relief! Finally, I’m in complete solitude!
My Mecca, my home away from home, the beautiful abode that holds hundreds of moments from my childhood: 2630 Strathcona Ave.
Driving up and down the winding roads, through Princeton, a left at the bridge, a quick meander through Coalmont, past the shoetree, Tulameen is just around the bend. As a child, I remember the drive being so long, constantly asking, “Are we there yet?” in between Alanis Morissette songs on a mixed tape. I liked this tape because my dad would let me sing all the words, even “chicken shit”, which was a big deal for a six year old.
As an adult, these roads don’t seem long at all; in fact, they give me just enough time to ponder about the past and become excited about my current visit. I pass the hockey rink, where my dad and aunty played as children, and where my sister and I have done the same. I pass the general store, where I recall my sister and I buying a plethora of sour peaches, licorice, and ice cream, after spending our afternoon selling “Magical Blend”, a mixture of lemonade and iced tea, to passersby. After a quick right, then a left, I pull onto the cabin’s grasses.
It’s nothing fancy, and it’s not a lake house; it’s a cabin, a real life cabin, in which my grandpa built, with the help of some friends, in the mid 20th century. It’s like nibbling on a delicious treat that your grandmother baked, and comparing it to a cookie from Costco. Everything tastes better when a grandparent made it, and my love for the cabin is no different. I think I’m so partial to this place because it is a representation of my family: The Quinney’s, The Campbell’s, and the Desautel’s.
It’s curious how a space, especially a shared space, can be a perfect mirror of the personalities that inhabit it. Although my grandpa passed away when I was only two years old, I can imagine who he was by combining the stories I’ve been told, who my father is, and who my aunty is. I know that my grandpa and I share a common experience: the drunk tank. Although I am not proud of going to the drunk tank, I can look back and laugh because this shows me that Fred Quinney (my grandpa) knew how to have a good time, but could get a little carried away, and these are characteristics I see in my father, my sister, myself, and even my aunty.
Even though my dad can have a bit of a temper, he is also very helpful, and fairly carefree. My father’s personality connects to my auntie’s in this way because she too is very helpful, but she is much better in the communication department. Contrasting to my dad, my aunty is structured, pays close attention to detail, and doesn’t put up with anyone’s shit. Although I don’t remember much about my grandmother either, judging by various stories, I can only assume that my aunty’s headstrong, detailed and structured traits come from my grandmother (The Campbell side). As for my father, he certainly did not pick up on the same Campbell traits as my aunty; in fact, I believe that he rebelled against them, which gives him a more carefree attitude.
My sister and I are two very different individuals. My sister is very much like my dad, and I’ve always been told that I am a lot like my aunty. Although he would like to claim otherwise, my dad is a softy. He is compassionate and loving, but often shows these traits through jokes. Similarly to my dad, my sister is also very compassionate and loving. Both my sister and my dad would help out anyone who needs it, although my dad might curse a bit prior to doing so. I, like my aunty, am compassionate, headstrong, and stubborn at times, which brings all of my family’s traits into a full circle. My dad, my aunty, my sister, and I are all a family-sized salad; we have a similar base, but we all add in new, exciting aspects, which together create contrast, harmony, and variety.
Alone in the cabin, left with my thoughts and my kitty, I look around and remember the lovely memories within these walls. The table reminds me of the Thanksgiving my mom, dad, sister and I spent up here. The oven was old, and the turkey didn’t cook, but the first thing about that weekend that comes to mind is drinking hot chocolate and playing an old trivia game that was probably from the 60’s. I remember being shocked at learning that the person who invented the toilet was named Thomas Crapper.
The old, orange couch reminds me of mornings of fuzzy cartoons that came in and out as my dad repositioned the rabbit ears on the old television, the scent of bacon, and the sounds of laughter.
As we got older, the front door was our get away. But that damn door was so squeaky! Fortunately, my dad snored so loud that my mom had to wear earplugs, which made sneaking out a breeze. Which brings me to the memory of being taken home in a police car. My best friend and I were out past our curfew, which prompted the adults to send the cops out looking for us. Other than being out a little late, we weren’t doing anything wrong, but I can still remember the ocean of guilt that flooded my veins as I pulled into the lawn in the back of a police cruiser. I was in big, big trouble. For years after that, however, my dad and his friends would make fun of my friend and me for what happened. My dad is always quick to forgive, and quick to make jokes.
Since my dad and aunty were kids, until recently, there was an infamous bread box. My mom had accidently left a loft of bread in this bread box one summer, and when we returned the next summer, my mom opened the tin box, and the bread was still just as fresh as it was the day she left it there. At the time, we all thought this was amazing, now, I wonder whether it was the insane preservative overdose in the bread, or some kind of anonymous chemical in the metal bread box.
Although I don’t remember my grandparents very well, I can imagine who they are through who my dad, aunty, sister and I have all become, and I see a little bit of every family member throughout different aspects of the cabin. The personification of a space turns a wooden shelter, equipped with couches, a stove, some beds and a water pump, into a home that provides warmth, full tummies, rest, and appreciation of the past. This cabin may not look rich, but if memories were monetary, these wooden walls would be Persian Princes.