When I started Boomdeeadda, I really had no idea how often I would post or if anyone would actually ever visit. Well, almost two years and over 270 posts later, here we are. I had some fun the other night going back to a number of older posts and reading them again. Do you ever do that too? I think I’ve learned a lot about blogging from you and hopefully my posts have improved along the way. With that in mind, I thought I’d share the odd one again with updated text or links on a new monthly feature I’m calling, ‘Salvage Sunday‘.
Please enjoy, ‘History In The Shadows’
Just a shadow of its former self, Willingdon was once THE social centre for many Ukrainian farming families living near by. The town grew up very fast with the arrival of the railroad and incorporated in June 1928. Now, neglected buildings with their peeling paint, stand silent on main street. Waiting, wishing, for someone to open their creaky doors once more. Even half falling down, vintage architecture has charms I can’t resist. I long to know their stories.
My dad was born in 1932 and raised on a farm near town. Heat was from the wood burning kitchen stove and ice-cold water was drawn by bucket from a well beside their little house. The biffy was just far enough away from the house to make you think twice in the middle of the night. Daddy would try to comfort me and say, “No, no, there’s no bats out there”. But I’d make him come with me anyways. Doesn’t this sounds like camping to you?
As a kid, I thought life on the farm was a pretty great adventure. We’d walk to the river to find little treasures washed ashore, or snoop through the rafters of outbuildings for long-lost comics. Too bad we weren’t smart enough to hang on to them If you have an old pile at home, check these titles, maybe you’re rich! I always thought the artwork was a lot of fun. Did you have a favourite?
After lunch, maybe a tractor ride, saskatoon picking or just playing with the dogs. Birthdays were extra special when we got to spend them with Grandpa on the farm.
In his later years, Grandpa moved off the farm and retired to a small house on the edge of town. The last time I drove through Willingdon, I looked for some of the old familiar haunts. Where’s the corner store I bought orange soda’s from? Where’s the gas station? Gone!! But there, framed in blue sky, were the tired facades that only hinted at a prosperous past. So few families are farming in the area now, even the grain elevators have disappeared.
On my way out of town, I drove past my Grandpa’s old house. There it was, the big red garage. I can still see Grandpa standing there, waving goodbye to us kids as we blew kisses out the back window of daddy’s silver Chrysler. This town may be fading away but certainly not my love for the family history that falls in the shadows around it.