Sunday, April 20, 2008

Footprints of the Past

It still amazes me that a certain event in a persons life can leave footprints on their heart forever. My footprints are from my childhood and they came from Niagara Falls. To this day when we go to Niagara, I get butterflies in my stomach, memories come flooding back and I can't help but smile. Sean has always told me he wishes he knew what that feeling was like. It is a feeling like none other. And I wouldn't trade it for all the money in the world!
Every summer until the age of 16, we camped in Niagara Falls at a place called Orchard Grove. We stayed for the whole summer, not just a weekend here and there. Last day of school Mom and Dad would pick my sister and I up with the car packed and ready to go - and we didn't return to Toronto until Labour Day! These summers formed my childhood. It may seem silly since it was 2 months of every year, but when I think about my childhood, it is Orchard Grove that comes to mind and puts a smile on my face.
I have been thinking about Orchard Grove a lot lately. Now that I have my own son, I see how vital Orchard Grove was in my life, and I can only hope for the same for him. I have been waking in the morning to the sounds of birds - this seems fairly normal, right? Except that I SWEAR it is the same group of birds that we would hear in our trailer. I know, crazy, but I can't help that feeling. The smell of the crisp morning air, the smell of an early morning camp fire, the squirrels rustling in the trees, hearing and smelling these the last few days has made me stop in my tracks. I close my eyes and feel like I am standing at our campsite - the same site we had for as long as I remember, the Buttons on the right and the Bushes on the left and the Irvins across the roadway. It is this place that I had no care in the world, many people were interested in my well being, had my first job, had my first real kiss, learned to drive a car, there was the red park, survivor in the woods, "3rd washroom", the arcade, the tree by the tilt a whirl, the ATV, the mini Honda. And the people! So many people that I met thru the campground, some permanent residents, some just for a week - all of them....footprints. I am snapped out of this memory every morning with Jonah impatiently waiting to get into the car asking "What are you doing, Mommy? Let's go!"

The owner of the campground, Bill Foreman, passed away in July of 2006. It hit me quite hard. I felt like a piece of my childhood was gone. His picture is at my desk at home, I see him smile everyday and I can't help but smile back, silently thanking him for the most amazing childhood I could ever ask for. And I know that because of him, because of the people, because of the memories, because of the smells - that these footprints of the past will remain in my heart forever.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hey Charlene:

It's Tracy, Betty and Art's daughter. I love you're blog, you write so well. I was reading about Orchard Grove and remembering a carrot haired little girl staring at me as I woke up from the top bunk, I will never forget that. You were sooooooooo cute looking down at me every morning. You may not remember but I stayed there with you one summer. You're grandparents and my Mom and Dad went there a lot in the summer also. I loved going into Niagara and looking at all the wax musuems. Well just wanted to share that memory. Luv ya,