A little girl. Hoisted upon the wooden bridge spanning the gully. Hopscotch squares scribbled upon gray tar. The perfect flat rock. Double-dutch on the faded rocky schoolyard. Stone steps scarring the century home gateway, post elementary built. Three stairwell tiers to the battered library. Collecting each morning on the main landing to sing and praise, glory be to our almighty.
Worn dusted roads running the length of the railway tracks. Lifting toes firmly planted into the small triangle of the metal outpost to thrust ourselves to hobo status. Walking the length fearful of an oncoming train listening cautiously. Humble steps through wooded parkland climbing the embankment to our suburban high school.
The flat handed palm unto the padded worn tennis ball kissing the brick side wall in the complex. Our 'inner city' handball. Concrete speed bumps barring any forceful foray into our little village. Stolen kisses. Capture the flag. Cigarettes butted out in the playground sand. Wishing for a few more stolen moments before the street lights glared.
Crates for end tables. Make believe school house in the unfinished basement atop overturned cardboard box desks. Pigs roasts. Sunday figure skating late afternoon. Penny black balls by the paper sac full.
I remember Sunday school – we were boldly called out as “Dogans” in spite of our Irish Catholic heritage. And still my mother sent the three of us to Protesant Sunday school at the behest of Dr. Nancekeville (sp.) the community doctor. But it was grandma who would rise at the urgent rapping at the side door force us into our streetwear and hand us each a quarter for the collection can.
Lori the eldest would wholly contribute her quarter. Lucy and I would ping the side of the can making a tinny sound reminiscent of coin dropping onto coin. Keeping the quarter. Following an hour of gospel and story we would escape to the small town's centre with prime intent to spend our ill gotten monies furtively. And without guilt mind you, my parents utilized this two hour reprieve to sleep in.
Born in Oshawa I have lived in approximately 17 homes in my life – attending I am quite certain every Catholic School in Durham Region. Our experiences make us – tell us inherently what works and what we need to work on.
I do not rue my upbringing. I celebrate and equate my diverse introduction to this world to my innate curiosity and creativity. Face it head on. Learn from it. Celebrate. Look back and go WOW this is who I am and how I came to be.