I grew up on a farm near what is now called Saugeen Shores, (Port Elgin, Southampton and Saugeen Township amalgamated.) My highschool was in Port Elgin, so I suppose I can claim that town as my own, even though it doesn’t exist exactly as that anymore – the town or the building. It’s weird to see the shopping centre where I used to go to school.
The sunsets are still incredible, and the beaches along the shores of Lake Huron are still gorgeous, no matter how built up and touristy they try to make them. There are maple trees and cottages everywhere and the population more or less doubles every summer. It’s sort of famous now for its Pumpkin-Fest weekend in October as well.
I’ve still got lots of family there, and that’s why I go back. It’s hard to get all nostalgic about things when they’re forever changing and I don’t recognize them anymore. When I was quite small one of my aunts took me inside the car of a passenger train because I was dying of curiosity to know what it looked like in there. Now the train station is gone, the trains and the tracks are gone, and I’ve walked along the ‘rail trail’ like a tourist trying to remember how it used to be.
When mom and dad left the farm they lived in a little white house right beside the rail trail and the changes just kept happening. A little grocery store where they liked to shop closed down, forced to do so by the opening of a giant chain. They lived on Victoria street, but when the two towns joined the street name was changed to Arlington because there was already a Victoria street in the adjoining town. Mom was quite put out. To her ” the Arlington” was the name of a not so classy hotel on main street known for carousing and drunken revelry. Plus she had to send out change of address notices when she hadn’t even moved anywhere.
Every visit there’s something new, the old things disappear, people change, things get better, or things get turned upside down – its hard to keep up. Nothing ever stays the same, but then why would you want it to? It’s a great way to annoy the next generation, remeniscing about how things used to be.