The Wayback Machine


Came downstairs to a body on the couch. Just to clarify, that’s a LIVE body, not a corpse.

Boy # 1 is down visiting from Toronto, and had a friend over for the evening last night. Being a considerate host, he offered his friend the guest room, and crashed on the couch.

Took me right back in the Wayback Machine this morning. When I lived on Bolivar Street, the young folk often used to congregate at our house. For all that I’d occasionally get frustrated with cleaning up after people, and wonder why I was spending so much on groceries, it was a good feeling to know that this very diverse bunch of kids had a safe, comfortable place to be themselves.

I remember waking up at 3 a.m. and smelling bacon and automatically thinking “oh, so-and-so is here”. Coming down to heaps of blanketed bodies, stepping gingerly around them. Porch nights, cigarette butts everywhere, someone puked, coffee’s on, kids. Waking in the dead of night to a banging on the front door because someone lost his key again, and it was too cold to sleep on the porch.

Maybe it wasn’t the best parenting in the world. I never claimed to be the best parent in the world, it didn’t come naturally to me. I wasn’t good at being the heavy, and I lack patience. My theory was, though, that some of them were pretty vulnerable kids, regardless of their tough exteriors. I’d get quite frustrated with them, sometimes, lecturing and railing against them for their thoughtlessness, but no one was ever cold or hungry at my house. No one was ever abused or disrespected. Grace made sure that everyone got enough love.

So – yeah, things got broken. Wine glasses, crockery, unimportant things. A few things went mysteriously missing. Accidents happened. Thank GOD Josie went to Air Cadets and learned to use a fire extinguisher, that’s all I can say! Underage drinking, a few mild illegal substances.

But in the long run, it all worked out all right. My kids love me, and I’m super proud of both of them. Everyone got to be who they were. Sometimes I had to kick people out, sometimes I’d flip my lid. Occasionally my home was disrespected and abused, but I never was, nor were they. Just the carelessness of youth, really, incidents of poor judgment.

They weren’t perfect times for anyone, not perfect, halcyon days, but still – wouldn’t trade them. I learned a lot about a lot of things, had my eyes opened to new music and ways of thinking outside of my small-town hetero WASP experience.

Peterborough Pride Parade today. Happy Pride to all you kids, whether you’re still in my life or not, I remember you, some more fondly than others perhaps, but I wish you all the best in your lives, and I hope that in some very small way, your times at that little house on Bolivar Street helped you.

Love, Crazy Paranoid Hippie Mom

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