April 29, 2012

Sharing Memories (Week 18): My Town

Welcome to Week 18 of our 52 weeks of Sharing Memories - A Genealogy Journey for 2012. This is our third year writing our memoirs and childhood memories for our descendants.

If you are just joining us, you can take a peek at the last two years' of prompts by clicking on the Sharing Memories tab at the top of the blog. You can jump in at any time and you can skip topics that you don't like. There are no rules, it's all about getting your memories down on paper. The prompts are here as a guide to help if you are stuck for ideas.

Share your memories here in the comment section, on your own blog, or privately in a journal you keep at home.

I grew up in a very small town called Ajax. In fact it was a village when I was little. There were no sidewalks and no paved roads. Little war time homes were built for the women who came to work in the Munitions Factory at the start of WW2. The town was about 35 minutes by car from Toronto, the capital city of Ontario Canada. When I lived there it was surrounded by farmers fields.

My mother and grandmother settled in Ajax sometime during WW2. My aunt came too but her job was to look after her young son and my mom's three children, while my mom worked to earn money for the two families. Both my father and uncle were overseas during the war and my mother and aunt had 4 children ages newborn to 7 years. So my aunt volunteered to look after them all while Mother held down a job. My grandmother married a guard from the Munitions Plant so she had her own home. I wasn't born yet.

The town was divided in two by economics and by the McDonald-Cartier Freeway (later renamed Highway 401) and the railroad tracks beside the highway, both of which ran east and west. The north side was called "the old area" and that is where I lived.  We had a one story, one or two bedroom home on York Street.  I have to ask my older siblings how many bedrooms there were. We moved when I was 4 years old to a two story four bedroom home on Cedar Street. Luxury!

The new area was in the south side of town and was unfamiliar territory to those of us from the old area. Each area had it's own school from Kindergarten to Grade 6. The new area kids lived in newer homes and their dads usually had better jobs. I don't know if the adults mingled but we kids didn't.

I don't know any other other mothers except mine who worked outside the home. After the war and when I was young she worked in "the City" (Toronto) for a major pharmaceutical company. Most moms in Ajax stayed home with their kids so my mom was a bit of an oddity. 

When kids from both areas passed to Grade 7 we were all put together in one school which was situated in the new area. That was a scary time for us old area kids! The new area kids had home team advantage and we felt like outsiders. We were always made to feel as if we were the poor relatives reluctantly invited to Christmas Dinner.

I'll talk more about my town and my teenage years in my Sharing Memories post next Sunday. But now, tell me about the town/city where you grew up!

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