It may seem like yesterday, but it happened thirty-seven years ago. I had been looking forward to this day since I was about twelve years old long — all grown up and very ready to leave home. Isn’t that what we all crave as teenagers? Freedom. I wouldn’t have to ask permission to do anything. Mom and Dad would be 200 miles away? I could make my own decisions. How many times had I stomped up the stairs hollering, “You just wait until I turn eighteen? Then you won’t be the boss of me!!”
Like many of my friends, I had been raised in a very strict home. We went to school and TO church. So just what exactly was I waiting to do? Dye my hair pink? Tattoo L-O-V-E on my knuckles? Go to a movie? pierce my ears? Party all night? Frequent the taverns? Chase the boys from
the AGRICULTURAL college?
Oh, how rebellious! I hope you find this is as hilarious as I do.
It was early September and my cousin and I were heading off to Teachers’ College in Truro, Nova Scotia. My worldly possessions, including a flashy new typewriter, were packed in my suitcases. Get me out of here where everybody either knew your business or thought they did! I was ready to spread my wings and soar. Goodbye and good riddance, Lockeport.
On that day, Dad had gone fishing before daylight so just Mom and I went outside to wait for my Uncle Ernie, Aunt Margaret and Cousin Sandra to arrive. Soon enough, their car pulled into the driveway.
I was caught totally off guard by my reaction when the moment came. It was time to say good-bye. We were not a “huggy and kissy” family. Standing beside the well, Mom and I looked into each other’s eyes. An enormous lump totally blocked my throat. I couldn’t say a single word. Mom looked at me, her chin trembling, and managed to choke out, “Melda, I don’t know what I’m going to do without you.” We cried, hugged each other and off I went.
Life in Truro was exciting. You probably are wondering just how far I strayed from my upbringing. I did not dye my hair pink. I did not get a tattoo. I did not check out the taverns. I did not chase the boys, wink, wink.
BUT I got my ears pierced. For years, I had heard, “If God meant for girls to pierce their ears, he would have made them with holes in their ear lobes!” Oh, Melda, what a rebel! Maybe I should have changed my name to Jezebel.
I went to the movies with girlfriends. It sounds pathetic, but I can even remember the names of the movies — Saturday Night Fever with John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John,You Light Up My Life starring Didi Conn and Michael Zaslow, The Good-Bye Girl with Richard Dreyfuss and Marsha Mason. Three movies in three years! Using today’s ratings, I expect each of these movies would be rated “Family.”
Sandra and I went to church twice every Sunday. We sang duets regularly. We even had the nerve to accompany ourselves on accordion — NOT, on guitar — NOT, on drums — NOT, on piano — NOT….. Are you ready? On our $14.95 ukuleles. I am blushing with embarrassment at the thought. I hope everybody who was there forgot about it years ago.
We took our studies very seriously. We attended every class. We passed in our assignments before the due date. We never asked for an extension. We lived in the library completing the mandatory readings and research. We studied hard for tests and exams.
If I’m not mistaken, we had halos and wing sprouts.
If you think I am exaggerating, as I am prone to do, just ask, Sandra Roache, Evelyn Hiltz or Wendy Kaiser.
But most important of all, we did it while wearing earrings and God did not strike us dead. Woot! Woot!
Our first trip back to Lockeport was Thanksgiving weekend. As we drove down through Brighton, it appeared as if everything had changed. Lockeport had shrunk and there were only about a dozen streetlights. Everything looked so small after the bright lights of Truro — haha!
In just a few weeks, many students will be coming home for the first time for Thanksgiving. Run to meet them, shower them with love, tell them how much you miss them, cook their favourite meals, do their laundry, let them sleep in, but, take it from me, don’t ask too many nosy questions.
Isn’t life funny? In September 1975 I couldn’t get out of the little yellow house with the red roof fast enough. Now forty years, I count the days until I can to return to the same little yellow house with the red roof.
…Life has come full circle…