Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Places I'd love to revisit, but can't without looking like a creep.

Oh, the places we've been!  In life, people can either move around from house to house, school to school, and job to job, or just stay where they are.  Still, no matter what your own past  situation is, there are some places you've been that you really can't go back to, even if you wanted to.  Whether it's a place that holds fond memories that belongs to someone else now, or an intriguing place you wish you had explored more that doesn't exist anymore, going back there is going to get you arrested for being a peeping tom/pedophile/trespasser.

I'm very nostalgic so here is my list so far.  I can see myself expanding on this in later posts. 

1. Sam the Record Man:

(picture found on this site, in case someone wonders or complains)

This wonderful music store near the intersection of Yonge & Dundas in Toronto was one of my favourite places to go for music when visiting the city, before I found out about Sonic Boom on Bloor & Bathurst (I have a blurb about that place in an older post).  It was founded in 1937 as part of a department store and this flagship location opened in 1961.  Sadly, it couldn't keep up with the mp3 take-over of music, and had to close its doors for good in 2007. 

I loved going because there was so much history there.  Artists would visit for signings, and the walls were riddled with graffiti from visitors from over the years.  The layout of the store was pretty cool too.  It was two floors, and each genre had its own room with its own music on the P.A..  There was a malt-shop-like snack bar in the rock section (which I don't think was used for a long while in the end) and the Movies room was decorated like a 50's movie theatre with chairs and everything.  I could always find the music I was looking for there, too.  I still buy cds, I'm into a fair bit of older music, and living in a suburb east of the city, going to the music stores there is useless.   

Why I want to go back: I went one last time pretty close to when they closed down.  You could tell they were getting empty, and were starting to auction off the fittings and decorations.  I wanted so badly to take pictures of the place, but all I had on me was a really crappy cell phone camera with little memory, so I missed out on a lot.  I still regret it to this day.

Why I can't go back:  Well, the store is closed down!  It's been closed for 3 years.  The building is still there, but Ryerson University bought it for something or other, and since I'm not associated with Ryerson in any way, what reason would I have to go?  I'd probably be trespassing.

2. My high school.

There are probably millions of people in the world STILL in therapy because of the horrible time they had at high school.  I can't say I had a great time either;  I was mostly ignored, didn't have a lot of friends, but I wasn't teased and managed to get along with everyone. 

I went to a Catholic high school in Pickering (east of Toronto) called St. Mary, and yes, we had to wear the standard uniform, kilt and all.  It was known for giving a better education compared to the public schools, and had the best music program in the region.  It didn't have a pool, but our sports teams did reasonably well, and the first year I was there, they finally started up a football team (the school only opened in '89, and I was there 1996-2001).

Why I want to go back:  Heck, I miss the place.  I should have taken more pictures with classmates and students, and should have taken one of the old mural in the cafeteria before the art class went over it with their not-much-better replacement.  Just walking the halls and remembering good times would be fun.

Why I can't go back: I don't attend the school anymore.  My sister doesn't attend the school.  My brother doesn't attend the school.  I don't teach there, I don't cook in the cafeteria, and I certainly don't clean the place up at night.  A random adult wandering in the halls would be wrong, and I'd likely get (forcefully) kicked out.

3. My elementary school.

I went to three different ones, but the one I stayed at the longest (grades 2 to 8) was St. Isaac Jogues in Pickering.  It wasn't the best-off school in the area (probably better in the earlier days) and not the biggest either (there was and I am sure still is a port-o-pak of classrooms in the back).  We were right next to St. Isaac Jogues church, and even though I'm a staunch atheist now, I still will admit that was pretty convenient.

Why I want to go back:  Pretty much for the same reasons as why I'd like to revisit my high school.  I probably went into almost every room in that school, not including the boys' bathroom, but definitely including the boys' change room in the gym (we used to go to Italian class in the school on weekends, and when we did plays we'd use the change rooms to prepare as the stage was in the gym).  Now one room that I never went into that always intrigued me was in the boys' change room and was always locked, and I think it was either a storage closet or gym teacher's office.  I would have loved to see what was behind that door, even if probably wasn't all that exciting.

Why I can't go back:  The same reason for not being able to go back to my high school, only it would be even more creepy because the kids are younger.

4.  My grandmother's old house.

It's hard to accept the fact that you can't ever go back to a place you were welcome since the day you were born.  My grandparents had a few houses since they immigrated from Italy, but the only one I was around for was the one in the McCowan & Eglinton area of Scarborough.  It was a cute little 2-story semi-detached on a street that was pretty diverse.  My aunt used to live down the street, and I suppose you could include her house in this section too.  The family would gather there almost every weekend, whether it was for a birthday, a holiday, or just for coffee and conversation.  I would sleep over with a couple of cousins often, and would never want to go home.  It was a warm, loving place. 

After my grandfather passed away in 2002, my grandmother stayed there a little while on her own, and with my aunt and her family for a while until her new house was built.  She and the rest of us decided in 2005, however, that she would probably be too depressed if she stayed there and should move to Ajax with everyone else. 

Why I want to go back:  So many memories there!  I would love to sit in the rooms and remember all the things that went on there.  All the parties and visits, happy times and sad times.  It would probably be tough seeing it empty or filled with other people's stuff though.  I didn't really go to the house much in the final days of my grandmother living there, and therefore I feel like I didn't have any closure with it. I still dream about it all the time, about her moving back there, or about using it for a party.

Why I can't go back:  My grandmother sold the place after my grandfather passed away.  That was about 5 years ago now.  I don't know if the same family is even living there now.  How creepy would it be if some chick showed up at your door and wanted to poke around because some lady lived there before you?  Yeah, I wouldn't let me either.

5.  MY old house.

I was born in Toronto, and lived in a couple of places in Scarborough, but we moved to Pickering when I was five (1987), and stayed in the same house until 2005.  It was bought brand-new so we wouldn't have any creepers showing up at our door hoping to have a look around at their old place, and it was in a pretty nice area.  The school was a 10 or 15 minute walk away, there was a grocery store down the street, and we were pretty close to the mall too.  We had fruit trees and a big deck in the backyard and shared it with our neighbours who were my aunt and uncle and cousins, and their oldest, Stef, is practically like a sister because of that.

What else can I say about my childhood home that you don't already know about, having one of your own?  It was a place to live and love, laugh and cry (and there was a lot of both), the only place I could get a decent night's sleep, and the only place I wanted to be at the end of the day.

In 2004, everyone needlessly decided they needed a change (or whatever.  I still don't know what the reason was) and we all bought houses in Ajax, the next city east of Pickering.  It wasn't a far move, but it was still a change, and I'm not always accepting of change.  Needless to say, I was angry, but still living with my parents and not being able to afford my own place, I had to follow along.  We had a hard time selling the place though, and even though our new house was built and ready to move into by July 2005, we didn't officially move in until October. 

Why I want to go back:  Like with my grandmother's house, I didn't really have much closure.  We still had the old house for a little while after we moved out and my dad would go back there to fix up here and there before it sold, but I never went back after we left.  I'd just like to sit in the rooms and remember, and maybe see what  the people who moved in did with the place. 

Why I can't go back:  It belongs to someone else.  It would be creepy of me to try and get into a place that isn't mine, and illegal too.  I drive by it sometimes because I still do a lot of stuff in Pickering, but I still feel pretty gross doing it.

Like I said, I'm pretty nostalgic, and I'm sure I'll come up with more places I can't visit anymore, but these are the ones that came to me right now.  If you have any places like this, feel free to tell me about it in the comments!

1 comment:

Bossy Betty said...

Hey, you never know. You could go back to those houses and the people might embrace you OR they might call the cops.

You made me think about places I can't go back to. My grandparents' house is being sold this week. It seems strange to know I won't go there next time I am in town.