It had been nearly 40 years since I last was in Toronto. Those are very strange words to write.
About 2 hours ago, I landed at Pearson International in Toronto, cleared customs and made a mad dash for my connection; but I was back in Toronto.
It was November 1972 and I was 7 years old. One day I came home from school and we were moving.
We stopped at my dad’s place to say goodbye on the way out of town. Mom arranged for one of her friends to drive us from New York to Toronto. I remember that the car was lovingly referred to by her owner as Bitsy. As a side note, I have a friend from college named Betsy, who is driving cross country this week and I hope she’s having fun.
We drove through the night. I remember crossing the boarder in the back of the car.
Mom and I stayed at another friends home. This friend was a veterinarian and had a whole menagerie of animals living there. Being asthmatic, the Canadian winter and the constant exposure to animals put me in the Children’s Hopital twice in about 6 week period.
Mom and I left Toronto on a bus a short time later. Again, I remember the night-time boarder crossing. We were headed to San Francisco to live with my God-Mother. I remember that my mom hauled the TV all the way from New York. Everytime we changed busses, the driver had to pull out that embarassing TV. Did they not have them in california?
The bus stopped in Vegas, we liked it, so we stayed. That marked the start of the second big stage of my life, the Vegas Years.
The flight tracker on the headrest in front of me reports that we will be Flying over Sherbrooke, Montreal in the next 30 minutes.
My second trip to Canada took place during the fourth phase of my life. I was a grad student studying organic chemistry at Boston University. Over Thanksgiving break 1987, my girlfriend flew out from California and we decided to spend the weekend in the first town North of the boarder, Sherbrooke.
It was a beautiful drive up and back. We hit a snow storm once we crossed the boarder. I remember being surprised by the dramatic change in the landscape as well as the French highway signs. We felt secure following the signs to Sherbrooke, until we came to a fork in the highway and both roads lead to Sherbrooke. Looking back, I guess that was better than neither sign telling us where to go.
It’s funny how the memories from so long ago are all so very crystal clear.
Tomorrow, I will be back in Toronto on a 6 hour layover. Does it count as a visit if you only touchdown in the airport? Maybe I’ll go outside and breathe the air again. I guess I shouldn’t consider the 6 hours an eternity, the last 40 years haven’t.
So far, I count about 7 to 9 big phases of my life to date. How many do you count in yours?
First draft posted with WordPress for BlackBerry.