Elementary Memories.

Winter 2008

Occasionally, I come across pictures and webpages where someone gets to revisit their old elementary school, old house or old place of work in an abandoned state.

I've always been jealous of this and wondered what that would be like.

Therefore I've always kept my ears tuned to any news about the places tied to my life. When I heard that they were going to tear down this particular building in B.R., I needed to go see about visiting the apartment where my elementary school best friend lived.

I was in town for only a brief period of time, so I needed to use the holidays to my advantage since I knew that the pizza place below would be closed early. Leaving for a walk around 8 or 9 at night, I moved across town, bundled thoroughly, through the cold streets of my youth. Coming to the building, I had second thoughts as I was unsure about going in buildings in small town Canada.

I decided to push it as far as walking up the staircase to the apartment door. A break in traffic quickly ensued and I made my way up the stairs to find that the entire door handle had been smashed off and the door swung open freely.

Opening the door, I startled a creature which I couldn't see because I forgot my flashlight. The creature darted towards the door I just opened, as I propped myself up onto the ramshackle handrail with the 15 foot drop behind me - I was more worried about a racoon not biting me than falling 15 feet apparently - it was a split second decision.

Although the creature never slowed to anything besides a blur, I'm pretty sure it was just a cat.

I have no idea what this building started out as, but it was a restaurant, then my childhood friend and his family bought it, renamed it and kept it as a restaurant. The place never really blossomed in the B.R. market and his family only lasted as the owners for 3 or 4 years. After their departure, the place had literally 5 name changes as people came and failed at trying to make the place succeed.

Then this year, T.D. bank bought the property and made no secret of their plans to tear down the building to construct a bank. It's definitely nothing to grow sad over (the building being torn down), except for the fact that they're trying to mold my B.R. into more and more of a cookie cut, boring collection of structures0.

0 - B.R. is still a community, but if they continue to bring in the standard stores and build the standard buildings,
it will simply be a collection of buildings - the same Shoppers-Sobeys-T.D.-Royal Bank-&c. &c.

The reason I came here was for that strange feeling and the nostalgia of it all.

Several problems prevented that though. Firstly, we're talking about my best friend when I was in grade 4 or 5. I don't vividly remember those times as they're so very long ago. Racking my brain, the only memory tied to this residence was playing with those rubber WWF wrestlers here one day and not wanting to go home - that's it. Therefore, as I walked about, it wasn't as if things started to 'click' in my head and restore memories.

The memories probably didn't come back because my friend's family has been gone from this residence for 10+ years. The place didn't have many artifacts left and it also had been renovated; so it wasn't their home anymore anyway. It was as if they converted my elementary school to a cardboard factory, then abandoned that cardboard factory - it wouldn't hold the same nostalgia as before.

I stared out at Valumart for a second, then went on my way. There was nothing to see here...this place was in no way any different from any other apartment I've come across on my travels.


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