Touring Toronto is strange. Even saying that is strange. You really can’t tour home, right?
“Tour” suggests that I’m going to a far away land to see things I haven’t seen and take a first look at new sights. I should know all of this, and I do have vague memories of places, but not really.
We went to look around the small town where my mom was born, north of Toronto. For a couple decades, my grandpa had a furniture and appliances store, with washing machines across the ground floor and beds, recliners, tables, and chairs on the top floor. I could run up and down the aisles and see fun stuff I’d want to use. Maybe I’d climb up onto the top bunk of a bed, or try out a chair. I could sit at the base of the stairs, turn on the biggest plasma T.V. in the store and watch “Live with Regis and Kelly.”
We pulled up to the back of the store, and I looked out at the store from the van as we waited for the weather to subside. The garage looked a lot smaller, but I figured that I was just bigger now, and had exaggerated it in my memory. When we got out and walked into the store, however, it really felt like everything was wrong. My grandpa had retired a couple years ago, and pretty much everything was gone. We stepped around in the main part of the building, where he had rented it to some people who had established a dollar store. It was a very nice dollar store, I must say, but very odd. I could recognize the places where there “should” have been tables and chairs, where the front desk “should” have been, where I “should” have looked at rows of washing machines, all cleaned to bright white.
We walked around the town, which wasn’t as meangingful to me. Maybe to my mom, looking at her childhood vastly changed, but to me, everything about that town was fixed around that one store. As I turned each corner, I had an image of what “should” have been there, only to be surprised with a small change.
It would be naive to assume that life stands still for just one person, but it nags at me that everything is just gone. I’m much too young to be nostalgic, but I now look back and wish I had taken the time to lean back in every recliner. Or maybe have a scavenger hunt with my sisters, hiding items in washing machines. Or maybe spread my coloring books across three tables. Or turn every T.V. to the same channel and get full immersion. Or spent a night in that top bunk.