I recently stumbled upon the
Valley East Today website as I was surfing the net, longing for news from
my home town. It was here that
I found articles and images of people that I would soon see again.
You see I was heading home for Christmas after 9 years!
Yes, I had been back a few times in the last nine years, but
typically I would do so in May or June when the days were nice and warm
but the nights were crisp and cool.
I left Hanmer back in 1988
after completing my university degree at Laurentian University.
I had decided to move to
where I would begin my career path to
become a Chartered Accountant. Who
knew that I would now live in
I was born and raised in
Hanmer. (OK so technically since we don’t have any hospitals in Hanmer,
I actually was born in a
hospital many years ago….)
My parents built a house just across from where the Ecole
Secondaire Hanmer now stands. Before
then, the field was full of blueberries (or snow) and evergreens.
My mother was a teacher with the local separate school board and my
father was really a Jack of all trades.
He had worked in various fields including as a union steward and a
janitor at the Ecole Secondaire Hanmer.
We later sold our house
and moved to
which runs behind the old "Chenier"
store off of
I have very fond memories of
being raised here. The
roads in the summer were often graded and oil was poured on it to keep the
dust to a minimum. Oh and who
remembers the days that we could actually taste the sulfur in the air
(from the shorter Inco smoke stack) and hear the testing of the air raid
sirens coming from the local army base!
Summers filled with jaunts
to either the “Pit” or the
to swim to our hearts content.
Don’t forget the YMCA swim lessons that occurred in Capreol every
summer and/or the wonderful camping (minus the blood suckers) at
winters always brought
us great cross country skying and snow mobile trails.
I remember a carefree time
when no one worried about leaving their children to play outside.
Everyone knew everyone which at times was a pain (since they could
also rat you out if you were seen doing anything wrong…) but for which
today I am grateful.
I had the opportunity to
return home for Christmas this year and what a blessing!
It was just like I had described to my fellow co-workers.
I explained that going to church on Christmas Eve is magical here
because when the service is over, you usually walk outside to a soft
falling snow. That is exactly
what happened! It was
wonderful to see everyone and to get reacquainted with people I had not
seen for a long time. I had
the opportunity to show my daughter what winter is really all about and to
take her sliding, to build forts and igloos and to participate in snow