Today I visited a number of houses in an area I used to live in, a neighbourhood called Cardinal Heights in Ottawa East. It is a community with a mixture of French and English speaking people and I remember that as a child in the 1960s. I delivered all three newspapers; the Ottawa Citizen, the Ottawa Journal and the Le Droit.
Most of the homes are now occupied by new home owners. Younger people who like the bungalow design which is the predominant housing style in the community during the late 1940s and 1950s. They were all built by small builders from plans purchased from CMHC for $10. So the community looks somewhat similar. The lots are large and the trees have grown large over 60 years making for an interesting and complex sky scape
So today I visited door to door. Knocking on doors and talking with anyone home who might know anyone interested in moving into the neighbourhood or move from the neighbourhood. It’s a simple question. The answers are predictably bland but the opportunity to communicate is simply marvelous. The things that people say is astonishing and touching.
One home owner told me of her daughter who recently died. I was sad about that. I told her that when I was a teenager I used to deliver her news papers and that it was her daughter who always paid me. She looked at me with a new appreciation and I remembered her name which surprises me because I’m notorious for name forgetfulness.
Another person just driving into her driveway and getting out of her car with a paper tray of Tim Horton’s coffee for herself and her mother was surprised to see me walking up the drive. We began to talk and discovered common ground in our graduation years at Gloucester High School. Yes She knows of an neighbour who used to baby sit my sister and I. She keeps regular contact with Kathy by email and telephone. She reminded me that from time to time when Kathy was unable to sit with us she replaced Kathy and baby sat me!