Thursday, 23 March 2017

A Story of Vancouver in the ‘70s, part 7

Early October in Vancouver is harvest time. Plants are lush and fruits and vegetables ripe for picking. The Sunday before we moved to Calgary, we celebrated Thanksgiving with friends. After feasting indoors, we spent time outside on the porch and in the garden enjoying the company and the mellow air. 

A few days later, I had my first view of Calgary. I took one look at the brown grass and leafless trees and thought, “How soon can I get out of here?” 

It took 10 months to get back to Vancouver. In the meantime, we worked. I changed jobs a few times. I remember working in a fabric store. Winter-dry hands aren’t the best for handling fabric. It was a Vancouver company and the paycheques were late around Christmas, the truck bringing them was stuck in the snow in the Rockies. I also had a few jobs in working for the oil industry in Calgary offices. 

In the dead of winter, Chris and I were sharing a downtown flat. It was so cold I can remember hovering over the radiators and only the part of me closest to the heater felt any warmth. It was in Calgary that we found out that -40 is the same on the Celsius and Fahrenheit scales by going for a walk in it.   

There were new friends and new experiences while we were there. We changed residences and roommates on several occasions. Our original crew seemed to drift apart except for one time. We all agreed to take a trip back to Vancouver, just for a visit.

 An early October picture taken in a Vancouver suburb

Sunday, 19 March 2017

A Story of Vancouver in the ‘70s, part 6

That memorable night in the ‘70s began with an invitation to dinner at Colin and Diane’s new place. We hadn’t seen them as often as we did when they showed us around Vancouver in the early days but we were still friendly. Diane and Christine came up with some interesting schemes when they got together. 

The new place was on 12th Avenue. It was a flat in a low rise building just down from city hall, not an area I was very familiar with. It seemed like a pretty good part of town. We found their door and rang the bell. There were footsteps and then the sound of a door chain being released and then another and another. Chris and I exchanged puzzled looks as we waited for the door to open. Then there was Diane’s smiling face and there were hugs all around. 

Chris asked her about the locks. Diane shrugged, “Lot’s of crime in the area,” she said. We had a great evening eating, chatting and playing a game. But, as I sat there I started to feel uneasy, like someone was walking across my grave. Was it the thought of all those locks to keep out intruders or was there something else that had me rattled? 

The feeling didn’t go away after that night. From remarks that she let drop I knew that Chris was uneasy about something as well. The feelings festered until we came out and discussed them. We both felt that something bad was going to happen. We had to get out of Vancouver. So that was how we ended up in Calgary.

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

A Story of Vancouver in the ‘70s, part 5

There was a night during our time in the Vancouver of the ‘70s that remains in my memory. Was it in 1975 or 1976? I can’t really pin it down. I don’t know if I would have remembered that evening no matter what or if it is etched in my memory because of what came later.

By that time the boys in our original crew had left town. They believed there were more opportunities in Alberta and they wanted us to come and join them. Christine and I were not sure that we wanted to leave Vancouver.  Living in Kits was interesting. There were funky stores to explore and a great music scene and the new arrivals from Nova Scotia quickly became friends. Did Calgary have that to offer? 

Chris and I were still mulling the move over. We would discuss Calgary whenever we saw each other, which wasn’t that often. I am not sure why Chris wasn’t that keen on the move as it was her boyfriend who was asking her to join him. I didn’t have that kind of incentive. Besides, I had heard that it got cold in Calgary. Then came that night that influenced our decision.