Thursday, January 16, 2014

Home, long ago

Where we laid down roots
Laval, QC
August 2013
Thematic. In another city. Here.
I grew up in a place called Chomedey, a smallish bedroom community, a borough of the city of Laval, just across the river from Montreal.

To the uninitiated it looked like just another suburb, with slightly differentiated houses on neatly tended lawns laid out in a gently meandering streetscape (here's an overhead view.) To those who lived there, this place was - indeed still is - special.

While I'm sure many of my memories are clouded by the idealistic fog of childhood, it was a happy place to grow up. An afternoon's entertainment was as simple as running down your front walk and seeing who else was playing in the quiet street, and exploring the edges of the still expanding neighbourhood was an almost obligatory rite of passage.

We seemed to know everyone around us, and as much as we looked forward to trips into the big city - always such an adventure - there was nothing quite as comforting as when dad piloted the car (a station wagon, of course) back across the bridge at the end of the day and turned for home.

Because this was, and to a certain extent always will be, home.

I'm not entirely sure what makes Chomedey as unique as it is, but I'm glad I grew up here, at this point in time, surrounded by the people who made it less a suburb and more like an extended family. It wasn't flashy or ostentatious, and by today's standards many of the  homes there won't make the front pages of Architect Magazine.

But sometimes the ingredients that make a rich neighbourhood have nothing to do with brick and mortar, and everything to do with the intangible ingredients that pull like-minded, community-focused, fundamentally good people together. As much as this place has changed since I moved out and away, a little piece of it remains powerfully embedded within me.

Your turn: Where did you grow up? What's the one thing you'd like to share about this place?


Snaggle Tooth said...

When young I thought I hated the 'Ville just 15 minutes out of Boston, n mostly liked the large park n woods. But now that I can't return to the 3-story Victorian anymore, I dream I'm there alot! The neighbors were the best- Still in touch with some, n miss the others.

There was nothing better than a summer dusk game of "Kick the Can" with all the streets kids of all ages- Memories that never fade n alliances that never dissolve...

Michèle et Jean-Claude said...

I grew up on Air Force bases, Gagetown, NB, Goose Bay Labrador, Greenwood , NS and a few more. So when you arrived you looked for similarities in the house, you looked to see if you knew any families from previous postings. By the time we moved where we could live off base I was a teenager. My son has lived in two houses in the same general neighbourhood. Guess I had enough of moving as a kid.

Merle Miller said...

I too grew up in Chomedey. The houses were not big...but they held a special vibe. They were homes! The neighborhood was filled with those you could trust with your children. Parents sent their children outside to play without worry. Our neighbors were our extended family, people we could count on. What wonderful childhood memories!! I now live in Seattle and I am very happy that I found the same warmth as Chomedey for my children. They to have been incredibly lucky to have grown up in a wonderful, caring community like I did. :-)

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

I grew up in Washington, D.C.

I used to take an interesting assortment of buses to get to and from H.S. downtown.

It's much better to have a subway (or Metro, as the D.C.tonians call it)!

Anne Goodman-Cuttler said...

I'll always remember the feeling of comfort I got as my parents' car crossed over the bridge back into Chomedey. I was only 11 when we moved to Toronto but I only ever had that feeling there. You described it perfectly.

soulhealer said...

I remember Chomedey before it was Chomedey. Big chunks of it were still wooded and wild. Yes we roamed far and wide but we didn't have to stray too far to find excitement and companionship. Although there was Belmont Park across the bridge. Growing up there, I got a good feeling for how this world develops.