In 1963, my family moved from rooms in the basement of Rideau Cottage in Government House grounds to a new house my father built at 204 Lakeway Drive in the new section of Rockcliffe Park on the other side of MacKay Lake. It cost $55,000 to build. Last year we sold the house for $850,000 and my parents moved into two rooms in the Edinburgh Retirement Residence nearby.
Returning to my childhood home for the last time a few months ago after the sale had gone through was a signal moment for me. Memories flooded back of the exciting day we moved into the new house when I was 9 years old. It was so bright and clean and modern!
But 42 years later, the carpets were badly worn, the interior walls desperately needed a fresh coat of paint, the curtains threadbare, the furniture upholstery frayed; in general the house looked tired and old. The house where I had grown up was now a dingy and lifeless place and no one lived there any more.
Actually, I still have the keys to the front door that I took with me when I moved out to go to the U of T in 1974. I imagine that by now the locks have been changed, fresh paint applied, new carpets laid, another family's photographs mounted on the mantlepiece.
Perhaps there is another child playing in the room where I once ran my clockwork trains?