Time for a road trip, my dad, mom and us three kids all packed into our old station wagon. I guess it wasn't so old but it sure seemed that way at the time. We had 458 miles to drive on our trip from Virginiatown Ontario to Kitchener Ontario. For those of you who are not familiar that is a province in Canada. We were off to visit my grandpa and grandma on my mothers side. This is the first trip that I can remember. Excitement coursed through my little body.
It's strange the things that stand out in my memory from 46 years ago. My mom and dad were much slimmer back then. Mom had wavey black shoulder length hair and wore those cat eye glasses from the fifties. I always thought she was so pretty in a plain and simple way. Dad wore dark jeans rolled up at the bottom and had a matching jean jacket. He always had a certain swag and wore his belt buckle to the right side of his waist. He saw himself as an innovator. I also remember the cap that he liked to wear, to me it looked like a captains cap with the nautical symbol on the front and gold rope just above the black visor.
The trip felt like it took forever, we did our best to amuse ourselves in the back seat. We played licence plate bingo and sang songs until the sound of our voices was too much for dad to take and he told us to be quiet. The radio rarely played more than static and Dad turned it off until we came to the next town. I pressed my face up against the window and let it be cooled by the glass. I was prone to motion sickness and this made the trip feel excruciatingly long. We would stop occasionaly at a roadside park to use the rest facilities and have a snack. I was relieved to have these short breaks and quickly began to feel normal again.
As it became darker my parents layed out blankets and pillows in the back of the station wagon. The three of us kids were tucked in and we continued driving through the night. I fell asleep with the sound of the tires turning on the asphalt. We arrived in Kitchener in the early morning. Kitchener was quite a bit different than Virginiatown, our small town of 300 people. As my eyes adjusted to the brightness of the morning I was struck by how cool everything looked. I had been familiar to the rugged terrain of the north, mining towns with simple main streets and a restaurant, barbershop and perhaps a theatre. In Kitchener everything looked so big, department stores, more than one theatre, numerous restaurants and several banks lined the main Street. The buildings also looked so much higher. The downtown seemed to stretch on forever. We drove to Victoria park and had a picnic breakfast. On the way to the park we passed stately homes on tree lined streets. There were beautiful leafy poplar and oak trees spreading their branches over the road. They provided an interesting contrast to the pine trees that dominated the northern landscape. Victoria park had beautiful expanses of grass and more leafy old trees with exquisite bark. I watched as squirrels played running back and forth between the trees. The squirrels easily ran up the tree trunks into the branches; it was like a manic game of tag. I was also enthralled with the huge wooden gazebo, it was very ornate. The floor was raised and made out of wide planks, it had a white painted railing and was covered with a brown shake roof. I imagined what it would be like to make this magical place my home.
Once our parents freshened up it was time to go to our Grandparents farm. I quickly forgot about my magical home as we piled in the car. Their home was located just outside Kitchener near a small town called Roseville. After about 20 minutes we were driving in the country, expanses of open land filled with corn and wheat.there were very few trees except a few out in the fields. As we drove down the country road dust flew up behind the car obscuring the path from which we came. Finally the car slowed and we pulled up to a long rectangular gate. My mom got out of the car and opened it, my dad drove down a dip and through the gate, granddpa and grandma must have heard the engine and they came out to greet us. Grandpa had a sparkle in his eye and I knew this was going to be special place.