I went to Westview when it was a junior high school and then I went to Maple Ridge Secondary School for grade 11 and 12. Maple Ridge Secondary is just down the road from us in the other direction.As I have mentioned before, we live in the neighbourhood I grew up in, so I know my way around the area...the short cuts, the hidden paths, the alternative routes. Mike always jokes and says, “Are you sure you know where we are going?” Or he’ll say, “Can we get there from here?”
There are many memories from our house to Westview. We could go a number of ways and they would all bring back many fond memories. I choose a route that is quiet and quick because Mike cannot miss a minute of the game. We have about thirty minutes, so I had to choose carefully.We headed out toward 216 St. and crossed at the cross walk there. Instead of continuing on 121, we headed one block north and took a less travelled road toward 214. I lived on 214th when I was a kid but way at the end of the street, quite a bit further north. My friends Debi, Lori and I walked to and from Glenwood, our elementary school every day on 214th. Back then, the road was broken by a large treed area. You could walk around or take the “Trail” through the mini forest to 124th, otherwise known as Shady Lane and continue on 214 down the hill to where we lived.
Once Mike and I get to 214 St., we have three options. We can turn left and go back to 121, the busier road that we avoided once already and then turn right to Laity St. Or we could turn right and then take the first left to Laity St. and pass by my old pall Jennifer Kendall’s house. Or we can go straight through on a narrow path for pedestrians only. We of course take the path. The path leads us to a short dead end road that connects us to Laity St. We have a few options from there, but I know Mike can’t miss a minute of the game and it’s getting close to game time. We could turn left and then take a right on Wicklund which leads straight to the school. This is probably the quickest way…this is the street Jen, Mel, Kim and I would take to Kim’s house for lunch at lunch time. Instead, I veer a little right as we cross Laity and continue west toward Westview down Jodi Bronson’s old street. Half way down, I stop to say hello to a dog that was out in his front yard with his owner. Mike told me we didn’t have time to stop for a dog, but I knew we had plenty of time because after we pass Jodi’s house, the street winds around at the bottom of the hill taking us north to Stonehouse, once we hit Stonehouse, we turn left, cross the street and hit a path that leads us right to the turf soccer field in behind Westview where Madison and her team mates were warming up. Mike didn’t know about this path and was relieved to get to the game on time. I had taken this path hundreds of times when I walked to and from school with my friends Colleen Anderson and Kathy Johnston…how could I forget?The streets, the houses, the paths, the friends, their faces, their names, the laughs, running the track at the school, playing softball on the ball diamond next to the track that no longer exists...I haven't forgotten. It was many years ago, but could have been last week.
Mike’s brother was in town on business yesterday. While we were getting ready to go see him, I asked Mike if he was excited to see Gary. Mike said he wanted to see his brother, but didn’t want his brother to see him. He said he doesn’t want anyone to remember him this way.We had a really nice time with Gary and he and Mike talked about old times and childhood memories. We laughed a lot and squeezed as much conversation as we could into the hour and a half we had together. Our visit with Gary reminded me of our walk to Westview and all the memories that came with it.
I told Mike later that we all have been given a memory and I assured him that he will be remembered as the standing tall, broad shouldered, fast runner, fast talker, quick witted, vibrant, smart, funny man that he was and still is on the inside. ALS can’t take that away!