I had extreme deja vu the last couple days. Not the kind where I felt “I have done this before”, but the kind where you hear your grandpa’s voice echo in your memories or you speak and it’s your mom’s words. Maybe that isn’t deja vu, maybe it is old age where you actually turn into your parents or grandparents (much to your 16 year old self’s horror).
I am not that horrified. That surprises me.
It all started when I read a blog from a fellow in Yellowknife. I lived there when I was 6. Yellowknife, North West Territories, Canada. It is in the Arctic. (Yes it is cold, yes it is hot, yes there are a lot of mosquitos, yes I saw a ptarmigan, yes I ate caribou, yes I ate arctic char, yes it was too cold to start the car in the winter so we walked. When Grandma came to visit she brought a suitcase full of food. In the early 70’s it felt like another planet. TV Football games came up on the truck in a can a week after the fact. Everything was a week after the fact. It was kind of like living in the past.) I googled street viewed Yellowknife last night. I found the fire station – it was red when I was a kid, now it’s blue. My school is gone and a new one is in it’s place. It is just as rocky as I remember, it is on the Canadian Sheild. There is more grass than there was when I lived there but everything else looks the same. Except my house. I found it. It was a blue duplex. It now has crazy shack-like additions all over the other side of the duplex – not my side. I remembered the road where the ravens worked together to open a trash can. One would lift the lid, and two would carry out the trash bag. It was a sight to behold! Those birds were smart and the size of turkeys, at least to a 6 year old they were.
I was so excited to see my house, I called out to my kids “HEY! Want to see the house I lived in when I was in Yellowknife?” They both came running and looked for 1.2 seconds then they saw a cloud that looked like Pooh and Piglet. I almost yelled “Get back here I am showing you my history and teaching you something!” But I didn’t. I never let those words leave my lips. I remember my Grandpa saying those to me when he was showing me endless booooooooooooooring stuff about Humboldt, Saskatchewan. Suddenly, I realized how Grandpa felt about reliving those memories and wanting to share them with me. Did I care? Eventually I did. Not at the time. As an adult I sat and listened to the Humbolt stories. Sometimes my kids ask me about when I was little. Rarely I talk about the Arctic. I lived there for 2 years. Maybe they will ask more one day. It is fun to sit around at family picnics and talk about the funny stuff when my siblings and I were little. Our kids love hearing those stories.
Tonight at the family picnic, we were talking about how my parents dressed when we were young. Dad in his Family Tartan Suit jacket with matching tie. Mom with her hair teased a million miles high. It’s funny to remember the perms and leisure suits, dickies and white paten leather shoes with matching belts. Fashion of years past is hilarious.
Somehow the topic was changed to pickles and brine. Then mom turns to dad and has the following conversation:
Mom: Remember that town we were in where all those people bought that Buffalo mozzarella to take home on the plane?
Dad: What town? We have been in 500 000 towns.
Mom: You know, THAT town where the cheese was.
Dad: Well THAT helps.
Mom: YOU KNOW THAT TOWN, it had that place, the place with the THING!!!
Dad: Well, THAT narrows it DOWN!
Mom: It started with C something, You know THAT TOWN!!! WITH THE CHEESE!!!
As if emphasizing THAT TOWN helped dad remember. My sister and I laughed, but I had a scary realization, some day that is going to me. There would be me yelling to my kids, you know, THAT THING! That THING I NEED!! Then call my daughter every girl name I know but hers. I can see it coming.
Oh well, it makes for a fun picnic.