My grandparents, both born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, a small Canadian town over North Dakota, illustrate the classic teenage couple of the 1950s; think Sandy and Danny of “Grease.” Married in 1954, they would go on to have four children in “The Peg,” my mother being number three. My grandfather was a plasterer in the summer and, due to the heavy snowstorms and bitter cold weather, was a taxi driver in the winter. In 1964, my grandfather decided to become business partners with his good friend, move to Southern California, and start a plastering business of their own since the weather did not permit the type of business in Canada.
When my grandfather proposed this idea to my grandmother, her reply was, “Sure, why not?”, which was surprising considering she would be leaving two sisters and her mother behind; my grandfather would be leaving four brothers, a sister, his father, and his mother, who thought all of her grandchildren would become Hollywood actors. They loaded their lives on a moving truck and made the journey through North Dakota, Montana, Wyoming, Utah, and Nevada in a dingy brown 1959 Ford Station Wagon featuring wood panelling on its sides.
It took them five days to reach The Gol...
... middle of paper ...
...anhole cover while trying to retrieve her brother’s baseball that went down the sewer drain. That manhole cover, sill visible on the street, anchors memories of that home, that new beginning.
My grandfather still lives in this house until this day. It’s paint color has been untouched, though spruced up, and the brick porch is now crumbling from age. The plaque he was awarded by the plasterers’ union hangs on the wall and treasures from my grandmother’s and his Canadian past are scattered around the house. If my grandparents hadn’t been brave enough to leave all that they had known in Manitoba, their lives, as well as their children’s, would have been drastically different. Didion elaborated on this by explaining, “It would be easy for us to sit back and enjoy the result of the past. But we can’t do this. We can’t stop and become satisfied and content.” (17).
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