As I’m siting on the train waiting for the wheels to start turning and the gentle rocking to put me to sleep, I’m realizing how different this trip has been than all my other trips to Winnipeg.
First, and most obviously, I haven’t been back in about 34 years. The same number, in hours, it took me to get here and will take me to get home.
Second, and less obviously, this is the only trip to my parent’s home town when I’ve actually been with one of my parents. (at least in my memory, I was here a couple of times that I don’t remember because I was a baby)
But most interestingly, this trip was a fascinating look at Winnipeg from my maternal family’s perspective.
I’ve always been here to visit my father’s side, staying with my grandmother in St. James, and then heading to the family cottage in Lake of the Woods. I came every summer from the time I could remember. Usually traveling alone up from my mother’s parents in Ottawa. But this trip was all Thrift all the time!
From the wedding to the BBQs, four out of five cousins and three out of three second cousins (from this batch of Thrifts anyway), and lots of mom walling and talking down memory lane.
I even found out that we are descended from someone Louis Riel locked up, one of the “old Winnipeg families” : Salter.
We were even staying across the street from the building my grandfather used to work in. It lit up every night, though I’m pretty sure it wasn’t because he used to work there.
Most importantly though, was getting to meet my cousin’s spouses and children. What a delight!
I hope I’m back well before another 34 years pass.