Wednesday, November 25, 2009

A Promise

I promised I would write a piece on my feelings when I walked down Holmwood Street and saw where I used to live.
I lived there for a short time probably - I'm not sure -could've been a year or even less but it was a fantastic house at a wonderful time. Now I think that but that is the blurr and deception of nostalgia and why it is so often a drug of choice for people. Then, I suppose I was driven mad by living with a bunch of hippies and I was the only one with kids so...difficult. The year was...hmmm...1973 probably. There were between six and nine adults and two kids. I don't remember cats but sure, we must have had a cat or two.
We had a wringer washer in the basement, I do remember that. And sometimes, often, I would haul all the clothes down to the laundromat on nearby Bank St. (no car amongst the lot of us) We were within two blocks of Landsdowne Park where Ottawa held (and holds for a bit longer) football games, the Ottawa Ex and big name concerts. I remember seeing Johnny Cash there and also going to the cow barn to here reggae which was very hot right then in Ottawa - Big Youth. And I heard Billy the Mountain by Zappa there too. We lived on the left hand side (right in the pic) of the house and I don't remember ONE thing about our neighbours on either side. Nothing.
The bedroom my husband and I had was on the second floor - in front with a bay window. It was large and nice. We had heavy lead glass windows in the front door that made rainbows on the walls. We had a huge kitchen that I recall painting a pukey Barbie doll pink and then painting over! We cooked sometimes together but mostly apart. I was really falling into alternative life but my husband wasn't - he worked for the government and enjoyed sports while I wanted to go to Hibou Coffe House and like that. We were coming apart and we were just kids with kids. My parents were great - if they judged me they did it nicely behind my back. His were a bit more openly shocked with our lifestyle and the falling apart of our marriage - they were from Holland and freer in some ways and tighter in others. I started working part time at a boutique in Billings Bridge. Quelle disaster - I was trying to sell 'nice' buttoned-down clothes and I have never been a fashionable babe. I was writing in my journal and wanting to draw and paint and I was offered somehow(!) a chance to make a movie with the help of a local studio. I ignored it - why I don't know. I had taken a couple of courses at university - Carleton - but stopped a year later when Harry and I split up. I wanted the communal hippy life and this wasn't quite it but it was close. The rush of feelings that I got when I was there

was for an opening in my life that occurred in that place - an idea of something more than going to work and coming home. Something bigger or deeper and potent. Immanence I think with a bit of grace. For waking up and trying to stay awake.


Stacy Post said...

Interesting, Jan! Your old home is lovely to see. I've lived in a few homes with leaded glass windows and I'd forgotten how the glass makes rainbows all over the room. What a treat! Each house holds memories...good and bad. I especially love your last line, "For waking up and trying to stay awake." Thanks for sharing!

arlommoen said...

Lovrly old house. The life style is strictly for the young and hardy.Still I'm sorry I didn't have the opportunity to be a hippy.Nrver learned to jitterbug either. No way to do either at sea. Lost youth!