January 3, 2007

First cars and childhood homes

Time is a funny thing. It speeds, it slows, it stops, it starts.

I just sold the little Honda Civic Hatchback I had owned for the past 10 years. I bought it when I was 19 and had the landscape of my 20s spilling out in front of me: an uncharted territory. This little Honda carried me down the West Coast to California and up through the heart of BC to a midsummer music festival in Smithers. It took me west to the Islands, east to the Interior and was ever a Trooper (as I so lovingly named her).

It is interesting how objects become material witnesses to our lives. Just over a year ago, my parents sold the house I lived in throughout my childhood and adolescence. I was about 5 years old when we moved into the old character house on Georgia Street and it's the closest definition of "home" that I have come up with so far in my life. The last time I was in the house, I walked from room to room and paused for a moment in each one to allow 20+ years worth of memories flood my mind ... the bedroom in which I lost my virginity, the stale smell and slanted ceilings of the attic, the basement full of my father's dusty old books and LPs, the wood-burning fireplace and bay windows of the living room that hosted so many Christmases, the details on the kitchen walls - pencil marks charting the growth of two daughters, the wooden door worn away by the dogs, scratching to get outside. Memories are virtual, but it's difficult not to be nostalgic about the objects that hold them.

I had much the same sense of nostalgia as I prepared to pass my little Honda onto it's next owner. It was my vehicle - literally and figuratively - from childhood to adulthood. Nevertheless, as I approach my 30th birthday, I am beginning to realize that home cannot be simply described as a place, or a decade's worth of living encapsulated in one's first car. For me, life exists somewhere in between memories and dreams ... and is defined by the people that populate both of these.


  1. Congrats on your first blog post Mel! I'm so happy you started a blog...these things were created for amazing writers like you.

  2. Sigh... the civic died when the mags went anyway. At least you can't run red lights anymore! :P

  3. "The world is full of people whose notion of a satisfactory future is, in fact, a return to the idealized past"

    -Robertson Davies, A voice from the Attic

  4. Hey Melissa, Happy New Year and welcome to bloggerland...hope you don't mind that I linked ya.

  5. You've been tagged! Check out my latest post.