Coming Home

Coming Home Talbot-St-to-east-photo-D-StewartComing home after an absence, you see it differently. When you leave one home to visit another, you get it both ways. Going back to Ontario after a year in a new home, I was both visitor and resident simultaneously. I was surprised St. Thomas looked the same, but how much does anywhere change in one year?

St. Thomas at night

Talbot-St-to-north-dorothystewartMy eyes had changed, though. I saw beauty in things I’d never really noticed for a long time. Waiting for a pizza one night, I looked at the main street – the buildings themselves and the details of architecture we often forget to look at. Chef Bondi Pizza, in business since the early 1970s, next door to Your Fish & Chips, in business for even longer. Both with signage I’ve known all my life.

At 10 p.m. the street was empty enough to stand on the middle line. Yet cars are driving somewhere, people singly or in pairs walk home or to the bars, dogs and their people are out for their late night constitutionals.


Aylmer, Ontario

Being in Aylmer at a Scottish-surnamed, German-speaking family-run Mexican food shop, The Tortilla Store, buying corn Tortilla-Store-Aylmertortillas in bulk to bring back to NB. Looking at the parking lot of The Bargain Shop across the side street. A horse and buggy parked alongside the cars and minivans.

Teary-eyed outside the John Street Tim Hortons in Aylmer. Waiting for my coffee, I automatically nodded to people at the tables. They nodded back. They may well be the same ones I’ve seen for years at the same tables at the same time of day. It doesn’t matter that we don’t know the other outside this common meeting ground, we always nod hello. Then again, maybe I’ve never seen these particular people before. Doesn’t matter, we always nod hello.

horse-and-buggy photo D StewartMissing Aylmer; the complex mix of peoples in a small town, there long before the term cultural diversity became common parlance. Stores and restaurants that have remained exactly the same since I went to high school there.

I hated Aylmer and all small towns then, thought the big cities had it all. Eventually learning that, really, big cities become living in your own small neighbourhood for the most part and that getting away to see fields and forests requires a Clarkes-Aylmer photo Dorothy Stewartmajor expedition. In Aylmer or St. Thomas, you drive only a few minutes and you are in countryside with cows and horses or woods.

In a London department store, the young sales clerk who waits on us isn’t busy so she starts chatting. She’s counting the months until she graduates from university and can leave the small-town dust of London behind her for the Big City. She can’t wait. I remember being you, I think as I listen to her talk about what London doesn’t have. But she will do well in Toronto. I can see the virtues of Hogtown, but London Ont is big city enough for me now. I was born and bred in real small town Ontario and I have grown old enough to appreciate that.

Home to NB

coming home, field-walk-photo-Jim-StewartThen returning to New Brunswick and what is now home. No take-out pizza close enough to get it home still warm. No Tim Hortons without a 20-minute drive. But the stars fill the sky as they cannot do against the lights of any city or town. The fields and woods beckon us to come for a walk. Silence other than the songs and squawks of birds.

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8 thoughts on “Coming Home”

  1. Lovely article and photos, Dorothy. (I’m having a good catch up on your site here… just what the doctor ordered.) I long to be surrounded by nature and no people, but you’re right, there’s a lot to appreciate in these small towns. The Copper Mug, for one… 😉 All the best for 2014 to you and Jim. Carrie xo

    1. Hi Carrie, it’s so nice to hear from you. I’ve wondered how you are, and hope you and yours are well. I miss your blog posts. The Copper Mug in Tillsonburg? We’ve been there – really nice place. Jim says hi and all the best to you too. xo

  2. hi dorothy i’m doing some info for my cousin-do you have anything on the pike from port aux basque nfld,and do you site that allows adoptions year ago

    1. Hi Lorraine, do you have any more info on the Pikes you are looking for? First names, approximate dates, etc? And you’re looking for old adoption records? I did a quick search and found nothing. Have you tried the provincial vital statistics dept or archives or local church(es)? Maybe the Bay St. George Genealogical Society would have something in their documents (link to it on Nf Mi’kmaq Fam History page) or maybe some better ideas on how to find them. If the adoptions were informal, church records (with notations) might be the best bet. But that’s just a guess.

  3. Hi Dorothy,
    Loved your article and also enjoyed our visit while you were back in town. Lovely wedding and you both look great! You got me thinking about another down town business that is almost a landmark on our main street, Yurek’s Pharmacy.
    Yureks just celebrated their 50th year in business. That was my Mom’s drug store from the day they opened theirs doors and is now our drug store. I was thinking how I had watched the Yurek boys grow up on a calendar and now I am watching Jeff’s two little girls grow up the same way. Perhaps, I have just been stuck too long in one place. LOL

    1. Hi Linda, thanks and it was so good to see all you guys. I didn’t know Yurek’s had been in business for so long. Makes you think, if independent businesses like these can keep going all those years despite the chains and big boxes also in town, they must be doing something right!

  4. Hi Dorothy~sorry I did not get to see you when you were here! I had a nice porch visit at my place with Jim!

    I love your article! You have a very good talent for writing!

    Enjoy fall and your little piece of heaven in NB!

    Peace love and hugs,
    Maggie U

    1. Thank you Maggie. I too am sorry that we didn’t see each other. That’s the problem with short visits. Hope you have a great fall too. xx

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