I setup a surprise trip for Scott and I to go to St. John’s for the weekend. The trip was more about me getting Scott out to the East Coast as he had never been. In September we’re doing a transatlantic trip but skipping Newfoundland for Nova Scotia – Sydney and Halifax. I couldn’t let go that we were bypassing the greatest province in Canada – Newfoundland.
This trip has been very healing for me, more than I thought it would be going into it.
I’m sitting in the airport where as a 4 year old, in the fishbowl of a waiting area not knowing that my world was about to be rocked. The vision never left me, of my Dad looking through the glass seeing his wife and two kids leaving never to return.
As time goes on, we rebuild ourselves and what I see in St. John’s is kind of a metaphor for this trip. That fishbowl of an airport no longer exists, it’s been torn down with something better a monument of a city and province taking pride in itself, and in it’s aviation history.
This trip, I guess, was about as much as getting Scott out to the east coast where he had never been, but it also turned into me being able to take ownership for my feelings about the city and province of my birth, and have a great time
A bit of reclamation of identity, healing, making more good memories that build on trips in 1995 and 1998, and reliving some very good memories.
I’ve always been a proud Newfoundlander, but given I’ve never really grown up in the culture, I didn’t totally really understand what it meant to be a Newfoundlander, a townie (what they call us from St. John’s), etc… Despite living in Ontario for 36 years out of 42, I don’t consider myself to come from Ontario. I’ve always been a Newfie first.
It’s been hard to really take on being proud of coming from a place where there’s been so much hurt and pain generated, with very complex emotions as a result of a very complex set of circumstances. A place in many respects used as a weapon against me and my immediate family – my mother, father and sister.
St. John’s is an amazing city, and Newfoundland, at least the parts I saw of it from 1974-1979, 1995 x 2, 1998 and today in 2016 is spectacularly beautiful. How my grandmother could use it as a weapon as she did, is unfathomable and was unacceptable. I’ve known that for years, I’ve even felt that for years, but my resolve is now even stronger.
In many respects, this trip was my way of saying, “Fuck you” to all of that pain and replacing it with something amazing, with Scott. Needless to say, it was an amazing time we had.
This place has changed so much in the 18 years since I was last year, much more so than in the prior 16 and then 3 from my previous trips. Just as I have. It’s a fantastically beautiful place.
I’ve been here in winter, summer and now spring, and I think this is the first time where I feel like I could actually move here and be happy living here. Even Scott likes it here. No we’re not rushing to move, but hey, we have our options and housing is considerably cheaper than it is on the west coast. 😉
This past Christmas marked the 20th anniversary of my Dad passing away which happened while I was living in England. I don’t have a lot to be able to honour the memory of my Dad while I’m in Toronto, other than some pictures that I have. Today’s drive to Torbay, Flatrock, Pouch Cove, Bauline, Portugal Cove, St. Philips and Conception Bay South and most notably stopping in at the Ocean Sciences Center, really helped me to relive some awesome memories of driving with my Dad and Step-Mother giving me a tour, and to honour those memories which are far and few between. The whole time I was wishing Dad could have been there with us.
Most of all, you can take the b’y out of Newfoundland but you can’t take the Newfoundland out of the b’y.
We’ll be back, and it won’t be as long in between. 18 years is too long.
When life throws you lemons, make lemonade. *GRIN*