The false front of the general store across the street from where I lived still displayed whispers of its prominent role in the façade of the pioneer town, despite its crumbling, weathered wood. It persistently beckoned to me, daring me to venture inside. Ghosts of past patrons could still be found wandering the aisles, if I imagined fervently enough.
Having lived in Dawson City, Yukon, as a
child, I was surrounded by many wonderful historical features, all freely accessible for the curiosity of the young and old to fully explore at leisure. Needless to say, they became my playground. Looking back I realize how truly blessed I was to have had such unlimited access to the past.
The last steamer to run the Yukon River, the SS Keno, whose massive paddlewheel felt three stories high, was berthed on dry dock at the riverfront. Her freight deck host to this childs' reenactment of numerous Klondike-ers legends and their stories. I swear she called to me daily..
I recall skipping along the wooden sidewalks, carefully avoiding the cracks, as I made my way to the abandoned train station, where railroad cars sat on their rust laden tracks, all lined up as though about to disembark, their big brass bells fully intact. I can still hear the deafening clang as I announced, "All aboard!"
I reminisce often of the endless hours spent driving the sun-drenched, ruby-red stagecoach the earliest settlers had ridden into town on. It rested, ever so casually, on the neighbours' lawn,patiently awaiting its passengers; the lady known as ‘Lou’ and that 'Dangerous Dan McGrew'. Many a journey had us avalanching from side to side, kicking up dust so thick it would seep through our bandanas and propel us into coughing fits, which in turn lead us directly to those forebidden spitting competitions. Such an imagination! How blessed was I to have had this expansive backyard, steeped in history, in which to paint such amazing memories?!
Then one day, to my delight, my Dad invited me to join him on one of his numerous expeditions. I'm sure my Mom prodded him along, and I probably begged just a tad. I was elated when he finally deemed me old enough to tag along. We would go trekking through the forest, or motoring down the Fortymile River, following a lead given him by one of the bush pilots, in anticipation of unearthing the remains of another long forgotten ghost town buried alongside the riverbank. We were always in search of the next big find.
Uncovering those curious pieces of the past from beneath the ruins, no matter how minute, revealing hints of a lifestyle of those who lived before, always sparked my imagination. What was it? Whom had it belonged to? How old was it? Dad never seemed to grow tired of my inquisitions. He always had his theories. It belonged to someone, used somewhere for something, sometime or another. Although he is no longer with us, his endless curiosity and love of old relics definitely lives on. Here in lies the footprints of...
Somewhere In Time
Today my former stomping grounds are no longer available on a whim. Cultural treasures are all roped off. The train museum has been moved indoors to be observed from a distance, by tour only, in honor of preservation for the many generations of townspeople and tourists yet to come, and rightly so. Times were certainly different back then. Still, I am truly grateful for the freedom I experienced, and the parents I was blessed with. Not to mention how fortunate I am that the old floorboards didn’t give way while playing hopscotch under those dilapidated rooftops! Thank goodness the paddlewheel didn’t take flight as I perched upon the highest rung declaring ‘I’m king of the castle’!
The gravitational pull towards antique malls, repurposed barn doors, and the tendency to occasionally push the envelope, continues to be influenced by my father. The vivid memories of him building a canoe in our living room still makes me smile. Thank heavens my mother was born with the patience of a saint and was so accommodating of his resourcefulness!
I have been blessed growing up in bucolic surroundings, underneath the northern sky, and feel very fortunate to have inherited my fathers maverick heart. My thirst for knowledge and discovery is far reaching. It has taken me to such places as the remote villages of Africa, where the reality is life changing; the top of Warwick Castle in England, where the view is absolutely breathtaking; and through the locks of the Panama Canal, which are massively impressive. Yet, I know there is still so much more out there, waiting to be revealed to me.
As my horizons expand, my desire to follow my heart has become more and more prevalent. The path of enthusiasm toward the art of the written word, plus my passion for design, whether born of salvage or crafted from my own imagination, dually calls to me. I will be journaling my life experiences, my design savvie, and some little light-hearted travellin' cheerios, from what I hope to be a somewhat unique perspective. I invite you to make yourself comfortable, pour a glass of wine and please join me...
Somewhere In Time
Meet you at the post!