your old Neighbourhood
|Armstrong Avenue Elementary School, my old school in Burnaby||
Activity: Our family lived in the same house for forty years. To say I've got memories of my old East Burnaby neighbourhood would be an understatement.
One day we drove by the old house and my kids had so many questions we decided to take a walk to my old school, Armstrong Avenue Elementary School. Every step of the way brought back another memory and I honestly couldn't stop talking.
The kids laughed when I told them about my friend Ricky, and how he pried off a piece old gum on the road in front of our house, and popped it into his mouth, and started chewing. And then we happened on the house my very first girlfriend lived in. Many of these memories are triggered by a landmark (obviously, I wouldn't bring up my first girlfriend out of the blue). Since then we've walked through my old neighbourhood a couple of times. On every occasion I've surprised myself at what I can still remember about the good ol' days.
I can't help but think if we hadn't gone for those old neighbourhood walks, my kids probably would never know what a rich and fascinating life I had (that's stretching it a bit).
Age group: If your parents are mobile, bring them along as well. Their memories will be even deeper and richer than yours. You may even find out something you never knew before. For some strange reason grandparents divulge anecdotes with their grandchildren which they wouldn't dream of telling their own children. I remember my mother-in-law telling my son Nathan about the time she took Auntie Cathy and Mary (my wife) as babies for a walk to the grocery store. Apparently she bought one too many cans, because the bottom fell out of the carriage. Needless to say the babies weren't amused. What I'm wondering is how my mother-in-law made it home!
Expense rating: Free
: When I think about it, I don't know much about my parents and even less about my grandparents. I wished we'd talked more and written things down. Part of the problem is, we never thought about it back then. That's why visiting your old neighbourhood is such a neat idea. It's the perfect opportunity for sharing your past.
: I made the mistake of telling Jen about the time my 1959 Vauxhall automobile went rolling down the hill. I forgot to set the parking brake. This is over a year later and Jen still hasn't let me forget it -- especially when she's standing the corner for doing something wrong. Be careful about the secrets you share.
Details: The best way of visiting your old neighbourhood is by foot. Everyone is relaxed and the conversation is natural. If you kids have an aversion to walking, you can try riding bikes or scootering. Just make sure your group sticks together.
Area: The old neighbourhood where you grew up
Season: All seasons
Educational highlights: At some point in their lives your kids will want to know about their heritage and how you grew up. Unless you figure out some way of sharing this information your life will never be past down to your grandchildren and great grandchildren -- to say nothing about your own children. We've walked though my old neighbourhood a couple of times, and even though it's dull and boring on the outside, it brings up a million stories.
Fun for the adult?: I'll never forget the day I ran into Fred at Cariboo Park. I hadn't seen him since grade 10. We couldn't stop talking. The kids actually got bored of the park. Yes, this is fun for adults!
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