If You Grew Up In Winnipeg, Manitoba

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If You Grew Up In Winnipeg, Manitoba

One of the Facebook groups I belong to is called If You Grew Up In Winnipeg, Manitoba.

First some facts. Manitoba is one of the prairie provinces in Canada. Winnipeg is the capital city of Manitoba.

Winnipeg is my hometown. I was born and raised there. My children were born and raised there. My son still lives there although my daughter has long since moved away.

Back to the Facebook group. Members post photos and memories of growing up and living in this city.

Here are a few recent posts. As you will see, there is a wide range of topics and I have just selected a few.

This photo is of the maternity pavilion at the Winnipeg General Hospital from back in the 50s when I was born.

Clock radios were popular back in the 60s and I had one on my nightstand back then.

In March of 1966 we had a blizzard that crippled the city for days. People were stranded at work and this milk delivery truck got hung up in the snow.

Assiniboine Park is home to the English Gardens in the summertime. This famous statue is known as The Boy With The Boot and greets visitors at the entrance.

This is part of a map of the City of Winnipeg that features the neighborhood where I grew up, River Heights.

These cookies were a chocolate covered marshmallow with a jam filling and a cookie base. Paulin Chambers was a customer of a business I owned. When I’d drop by for a visit I always enjoyed sampling one of these fresh right off the conveyor belt.

The Paddlewheel Princess was one of the boats that had cruises on the river during the summer. Unfortunately it was destroyed by fire a few years ago.

TV tables were another item commonly found in homes back in the 60s. TVs were usually in living rooms back then, not in family rooms. We had these exact ones when I was growing up.

July 1 marks the celebration of Canada Day. When I was a kid all the neighbors would get together at the park on my street and pool their fireworks. This one was always the grand finale.

Other topics covered on this site deal with restaurants, night clubs and even dance and music schools. Someone put up a post the other day about learning to drive. Anything nostalgic goes on this site.

What I find interesting is that a lot of the reminiscing seems to be done by people who have left Winnipeg and live elsewhere now.

I don’t get back to Winnipeg often. It’s changed a lot in the last 10 years since I’ve been gone. When I do go back I see new roads and new housing subdivisions. Once familiar stores are gone and big box stores have taken their place. But what is most disturbing to me is that the crime rate has soared as the city has grown. And that makes me sad.

Penpals

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Penpals

June 30. I’m still in Mexico. Borders are still closed. Canada is still enforcing the Quarantine Act.

In another lifetime it was month end at work. It was the last day of school when I’d take my kids out for brunch after picking up their report cards. Another tradition was going to Chuck E Cheese later on in the day.

And then I moved to Mexico ten years ago to teach English. One of my first projects was setting the students up with penpals.

I’m actually still friends with my first penpal. I was living in Winnipeg and Carole lived in Minneapolis. We were 12 when we met. We have been friends for over five decades.

Today technology such as Face Time, Skype and Zoom have changed completely the concept of long distance relationships.

Today’s generation will never experience the thrill of rushing home from school to check the mailbox for a letter.

They will never have the opportunity to browse through stores in search of the perfect writing paper, envelopes and hasti-notes.

I also remember going to the post office in search of commemorative stamps rather than ordinary postage stamps. And the joys of sealing that envelope with wax!

Mail was only picked up at certain times. In the city there was next day delivery. International mail usually took 3 days.

I must admit that I now refer to email as snail mail with all the other options available. Here in Mexico the postal system is almost non-existent making FedEx a good friend.

But it’s nice to reminisce about the past as I compile more stories for Memoirs For Madeline. My granddaughter is only two and I wonder what communication will be like when she turns 12.

Nomad Not Now

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Nomad Not Now

I’ve been here in Aguascalientes for 8 months now, with the exception of a few days in Culiacán back in December. I haven’t stayed in one place that long in the past 10 years without traveling on holidays and weekends. The term ” nomad” when describing my lifestyle is apparently no longer appropriate at this time.

COVID-19 has quite effectively grounded me for the time being. I’ll just have to wait and see what transpires. In the meantime there is still new territory to explore right in my barrio.

Pets are different down here in Mexico. They’re not the usual dogs, cats, hamsters, turtles or fish. The other day my neighbor posed for me with his pet rooster.

I was out for a walk the other evening when the clouds began to roll in. I captured this shot of an apartment building. The church I attend occupies the main floor. No elevator and the apartments are on the second to sixth floors.

One of my neighbors sells candy, frozen chocolate bananas and chips. Here is a new colorful sign on their house.

This friendly little one sleeps on the sidewalk or in doorways in an attempt to find shade during the day. Temperatures have been hovering in the 90s for weeks now.

I always enjoy looking at the artwork on buildings around here.

The flowers are blooming everywhere.

This nomad will continue to roam only in Aguascalientes for another month.

Dear Daddy

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Dear Daddy

Another Father’s Day without you today. We haven’t celebrated this day together in 44 years. You were taken from me way too soon.

When you died I lost my hero, my best friend and my sense of security. You were always there for me. I could talk to you about anything and everything. And there has never been anyone else in my life who could fill that void.

I treasure the memories I have in my heart. I can still see you assembling the swing set in the backyard on Brock Street. You were so patient in teaching me how to ride a bike and then later on teaching me how to drive a car.

I remember the day we were at Ashdowns buying tools and I fell in love with a pink pyjama dog. I cuddled with Pinky every night for years.

I absolutely adore this photo of us at Van Kirk Gardens. You always sculpted a beautiful garden around our house. You knew my favorite flowers were marigolds and there was always a special place set aside for them.

Sometimes you’d go back to the office to work in the evenings. I’d take along my homework and go with you.

At Christmas we’d go for rides to see the lights and always check out the Carlings display. It was such a magical place with a nursery rhyme theme.

We had intense conversations when we went for rides or walks. Two of your favored phrases have stuck with me through the years. Honesty is the best policy. Two wrongs don’t make a right.

You instilled a set of values in me that have made me the person I am today. And I have tried to pass these on to my children, the grandchildren you sadly never had the chance to meet. They have missed out on having an amazing grandfather in their lives.

There isn’t a day that goes by when I don’t think of you.

Sending you lots of love today and every day.

Happy Father’s Day!

June 17 Memories

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June 17 Memories

Aguascalientes has now changed from red to orange on the virus map. Trudeau is keeping the Canadian border closed. Leavenworth seems farther away now.

But I’d rather be where I am today than where I was seven years ago on this date.

Seven years ago today I was having surgery at Concordia Hospital in Winnipeg, my second knee replacement.

Another memory. Eight years ago today I was also in Winnipeg. It was the day before my first knee replacement.

Today I just returned from a short walk to the Cocina. My fridge is now full of fresh vegetable and fruit salads, chicken and pasta.

Today is June 17 and I am living in Aguascalientes in the midst of a pandemic, creating more memories.

Out For A Walk

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Out For A Walk

I go out for longer walks every day now. I have a variety of masks in my wardrobe and I am careful about physical distancing.

Seeing as traveling outside of the city is not a possibility, I have decided to venture down new streets to explore instead.

Vibrant colors of flowers are everywhere. This photo was taken on a nearby boulevard.

There are lots of street vendors in my neighborhood. It’s mainly juice and fruit during the daytime but this one was different and intrigued me.

Cafes and bars are open and tables are well spaced, even outdoors.

The car wash is open again and costs 30 pesos. The American dollar currently has a value of about 25 pesos.

Sculpted greenery is everywhere.

This doorway has its unique charm.

As I passed by the Fiesta Americana, there was a ceremony going on where hotel employees were being presented with hampers.

I wonder what I will find on my next walk.

Facebook Memories

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Facebook Memories

Thank you Facebook for not only reminding me of my friends’ birthdays but also of reminding me of the different places where I have lived.

Apparently four years ago today I was at The Saloon in Mazatlan with friends doing this.

Today I’m in Aguascalientes sipping coffee instead of doing Jell-O shots.

Five years ago today I was still teaching and this was my classroom at Hotel Torres in Mazatlan. Most of my students were working in housekeeping or security at the hotel.

Today I’m retired and not teaching. Now I sip my coffee rather than gulp it.

But I’m really feeling nostalgic/homesick now. I spoke to my friend Debbie earlier today. She was shopping at Walmart in Wenatchee when I called, one of my favorite places. Then I found this pic from last summer in Cashmere.

I would certainly welcome some of that Washington rain today. 90s and sunny here in Aguascalientes. It’s been quite a while since we’ve had any rain.

Thanks for the memories Facebook!

EVERYTHING IS OPEN

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EVERYTHING IS OPEN

I went to bed on May 31st and woke up to an entirely new world the next morning that suspiciously resembled life before COVID-19.

Although people are still wearing masks and practicing physical distancing, most of the smaller shops that have been closed for months have now reopened. Restaurants are also now open for dining in.

A friend came in from Zacatecas and we went to Terraza Italiana for coffee. In the photo below you will note the physical distancing I observed.The tianguis In Las Flores was in full swing this morning. Much more than just food was available for purchase. Physical distancing was not at all evident.My feelings are quite mixed about this reopening. I would have preferred a more gradual reopening in stages. By the same token I enjoyed sipping freshly brewed coffee in a cafe rather than the instant Nescafé which has been my norm for several weeks now. It’s also nice to see the streets filled with activity once again.

But thousands of new cases of COVID-19 are being confirmed every day. This virus is here to stay. On the one hand we need to protect ourselves but on the other hand we need to build up immunities.

I have no faith in the statistics they provide us with, especially here in Mexico where testing is practically non-existent.

I’m beginning to question the idea that travel is more dangerous than staying at home and I look forward to the borders opening up again so I can go home to Leavenworth.

Quarantine has done its job of slowing the spread. But quarantine does not prevent COVID-19.

The fact of the matter is that life simply cannot go back to the state it was in prior to COVID-19. The economy has been crushed. The fragility of our mental health is evident in the catastrophic increase in suicide rates. And now the anger and frustration of being confined is showing up in the forms of protests and race riots.

Enough of man’s inhumanity to man. There is a new reality now and society needs to adapt. And the sooner the better.

Tomorrow is June 1

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Tomorrow is June 1

I’ve been reading a lot about June 1 lately. That’s the date tourism is supposed to resume in a big way here in Mexico. Hotels are to open again and the beaches are expected to fill with vacationers.

In the past week restaurants have begun to welcome customers once again. Of course they do have to follow some rigid guidelines. I’m still sticking to takeout for the time being. I’m quite content with that right now.

I must admit that I’m just a tad reluctant to go to a hairdresser yet. I’ve passed by a couple of them in my neighborhood and it just looks like business as usual. No physical distancing. In one of them the stylist was not even wearing a mask.

I noticed that several shops had signs stating that only two people were allowed in at a time. Some food stores limited their cliental to only one per family. Absolutely everywhere you go there are bottles of antibacterial gel on countertops. That’s something that I’ve usually found seriously lacking in the past here in Mexico.

By the same token, there are no shortages of soaps, disinfectants or other related products. Nor is there a shortage of toilet paper. Food shortages have never been an issue.

Just yesterday the internet was flooded with articles about how the whole country of Mexico has now been declared a red zone. Who do you believe?

June 1 is tomorrow. I wonder just how “open” this country will be.

Too Soon? Not Soon Enough?

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Too Soon? Not Soon Enough?

Things are starting to reopen here in Aguascalientes. That leaves me a little confused. Cases and deaths are setting record numbers in Mexico, although I must admit I don’t have much confidence in the statistics released daily. Even the state officials can’t seem to agree if Aguascalientes City is a green area or a yellow area.

I went for my daily walks today and noticed that several shops, restaurants and doctors’ offices had reopened.

We’re all getting cabin fever from being cooped up for so long. Yet I know that I have mixed feelings about reopening.

I will continue to maintain an appropriate physical distance and will wear my masks when I venture out. And I will definitely avoid crowds.