I was reminiscing this morning on the homes (i.e. houses) in which I had lived with my family throughout my childhood. I don’t recall many of the details of our first house, in Innisfail. I do remember our large playhouse and the fact that we lived next door to the deJongs, a family with which we remain close friends to this day. We lived in Innisfail until I was almost seven years old.
We then moved to Red Deer, a bigger city, a bigger school (first Oriole Park Elementary, which has since been converted to a French immersion school, then Red Deer Koinonia), and a much nicer house. I remember the odd pairing of vinyl siding and brickwork on the front exterior. I remember the small but beautifully appointed back yard. I remember the playground directly across from the house. I remember having a crush on Cassandra, my next door neighbour. I remember the large kitchen with the island and the two fireplaces. Upstairs belonged to the adults but the fully developed basement was all ours. I already mentioned the fireplace, but I also recall the wall-to-wall carpeting, the kitchenette, and the large open room so perfect for all kinds of fun. We lived in Red Deer (Ohio Close to be more precise) until I was almost 11 years old.
We then moved to Olds, back to a smaller town but a very interesting house. I remember that the basement was undeveloped but also had a large play room. I remember having my own bedroom for the first time in said basement. In contrast, the upstairs was almost luxurious – a separate family room (white carpet, we had to be very careful in this room) and sunken living room complete with a large fireplace. The hallway was bordered by faux stone arches and once again there was a large kitchen and dining room. More distinctly, I remember the absolutely massive backyard, which remained large even when we built a garage and fenced it off. Similarly, we built an incredible wooden deck which went 3/4 of the way around the house and made summer BBQs and lounging such a pleasure. Of course when I say “we,” I mean my dad. Finally, I remember sharing the house for a short time with the St. Cyr family (also close friends). 11 people in the house made for some less than comfortable experiences but it wasn’t all bad. We lived in Olds until I was almost 14 years old.
We then moved to Swan Hills, the smallest and most remote community in which we had yet lived. Oh! I forgot to mention that between Red Deer and Olds we spent a few months living in a duplex in the small town of Bowden. We were originally going to have a new house built but ultimately bought an existing one instead. I have fond memories of long summer days in Bowden. Anyway, Swan Hills was the first place in which we lived in two different homes. I don’t remember much of the first one except that it was quite close to what could be called downtown. The second house was much nicer but farther away from the center and from my junior high school. Swan Hills didn’t have a high school at the time so we bussed nearly an hour away to the town of Barrhead. We lived in Swan Hills until I was almost 16 years old.
We then actually moved to Barrhead and I don’t really remember why. I do remember that we lived in an older but exceedingly quaint house that had a basement built like a dungeon and something like an attic in which all the children had their bedrooms. I have fond memories of the brief time (a matter of months) we lived there before moving (just before my senior year) to Airdrie.
Even though it was the last home in which we all lived together as a family, I don’t remember much of the Airdrie house in detail. It was long rather than tall, on the inside curve of Aspen Cr, and pleasant enough. Once again I had my own room in the basement and, for a while at least, my own king-sized bed. We lived there into my early college days and then, following my first journeys abroad, I did what nearly every young adult from Airdrie does, I moved to Calgary. What a wonderful stroll down memory (sometimes less sharp than others) lane.