Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Moose Jaw

One of my closest friends (my biggest confident) just asked me if I was able to come to Moose Jaw this weekend because she will be there visiting family. I unfortunately cannot because it's so far away, and I'm lacking the money for the weekend trip. Which is sad because it's been WAY to long since I've seen Nehal. Thank goodness we're able to remain such great friends from so far apart. Seems like that's the way most of my friendships are.

I started to think about how wonderful it would to see her, and I started reminiscing. Not only about her, but about Moose Jaw as well. We met in Moose Jaw, and then lived in Regina for a while at the same time. Then we each moved away, but she will always be my 'twin'.

Actually, come to think about it, I met my other two closest friends there as well. I met Karen outside of Moose Jaw at a camp (of sorts), but anytime I visited Moose Jaw, we met up, and our friendship grew each time. I met Denise at a writing camp in Moose Jaw. I used to be embarrassed to admit that we met at a 'geeky' writing camp. However, I am a writer so there is nothing to be embarrassed about.

My point is Moose Jaw was where I started friendships with three great woman. Growing up, I lived four hours away from Moose Jaw. The fact that I have found such lasting friendships from a city I lived so far away from was the luckiest thing to happen to me.

I met them all in my teens, but my love of this city came way before I met them. (None of us live near MJ anymore). (For the sake of laziness, I'm condensing Moose Jaw to MJ).

I can remember the excitement I had going to Moose Jaw, from Plenty. (both in Saskatchewan). One of the reasons was my love for the city. I'm from a town of 200 people, so going to a city with around 30 thousand was such a great thing for me. I really had no idea this was small in comparison to larger cities. I loved the stores and the mall and the restaurants. Plenty had one restaurant and one grocery store.

Somebody made me love MJ. The whole reason my family got in the car about four times a year for the four hour drive with two little girls that DID NOT sleep during car rides was to see Grandma McCrea. My Grandma lived there, as well as my aunts and cousins. I can remember the frustration I had during the car trip waiting to get there, and I remember the excitement I felt when I saw the lights proving that we would indeed get to our destination -grandma's house.

Grandma's house was one of my favourite places. It had an attic that she used to rent out, but now was where the grand kids slept. The stairs were steep, but that didn't stop Jodi and I from climbing up and down the stairs, with an energy I seem to have lost. Jodi and I would play with the paper dolls that my aunts had played with growing up. It wasn't quite Barbies, but we loved them. My dad was the only boy in the family. He had two older sisters and one younger sister. My grandfather passed away when dad was 10, and as far as I can tell grandma dedicated her life to raising her family after that.

I can't put into words how much I loved visiting, and I don't think the feeling ever went away, even as I grew older. Leaving was always sad. Grandma always told me to leave something behind because it meant a guaranteed visit back. I'm not sure if I ever did leave anything, but I'm sure I will be telling my kids the same thing when they visit their grandparents. I'm big with goodbye's. Jodi hated them, but I always made sure I was the first and LAST one to hug grandma. I'm still like that with my mom. Grandma would stand at her window, or outside the door, and wave to us as we drove away. I don't ever remember crying when we drove off, and I guess it's because I knew we'd be back.

The summer before I started Grade 12, I stayed all summer in MJ. Stayed at grandma's house. It was just her and I. This was the year I was going for my writing camp. I already knew Karen at this point, and was excited to get to know her more during my visit. I was most excited to live in Moose Jaw, and hang out with my grandma. Grandma thought I was home sick because I was so quiet. Truthfully, I think I was just quiet. I enjoyed the silence with her. It was comfortable, and whether we were talking or not, I felt love. (I feel love with my whole family). I met Denise at the writing camp, and we became fast friends. I think Karen and Denise both called Grandma: Grandma McCrea. I also met my first ever boyfriend that summer (I was a late bloomer in the dating life). The relationship ended shortly after I returned home, but  was a great experience. Grandma was there to share it with me.

After high school, I left my life as I knew it to travel in a program called Katimavik. I was away from family for 9 months while staying in three different provinces in Canada. Everyone in my family kept in touch with me while I was gone.

When I returned, I still didn't know what I wanted to do with my life. I took another year off before I went to University, and chose to once again, move in with my grandmother. I searched for a job in Moose Jaw, and spent the year with grandma. It was a nice break before I had to head towards 'real life'. This is the year I met Nehal. I also met my now ex. We stayed together for five years (most of them in Regina). Both he and Nehal also referred to her as grandma.

When I moved to Regina to attend University, I was still able to get to Moose Jaw and visit Grandma. We remained close. Eventually, grandma moved to a smaller place in MJ. She had been threatening this for years, but nobody was ready for her to leave her house. My cousin bought the house from her, which made everybody happy to keep it in the family. My four plus years in Regina were great because I was able to remain closer to grandma and the city I loved. After I moved to South Korea for a year of teaching, it was not very often that I got back to visit. 

The reason for this long blog about Moose Jaw and my grandma is because I realised that every time I've visited I've seen my grandma. The last time I was there was for her funeral. It was time to say goodbye to her. It was such a hard day. Cameron went with me to the funeral, and I was so sad to have him there with me. As always, the support in my life. It also made me sad, that he didn't get to meet her, and see what a great woman she was.

I also realise, that the next time I go to MJ, I won't be going there to see her, I won't be staying in her house, and frankly, my love affair with Moose Jaw has faded because of this.

That's it for now. I was going to write about the funeral next, but I'm not sure that I need to. This says it all.


Anonymous said...

Very sweet- Why did you out me for writing camp but didn't out Karen for attending Church camp??? Unfair!!! LOL

Erin said...

Man... you just outted me and Karen. It was because the 'church camp' wasn't in MJ.