This is the first of a three part series where we go down memory lane together. The idea behind memory lane is that one person takes the other to one or more places that hold special meaning from their past. It can be anything from an old hang out spot, a school, or anything else. The idea is to learn something new about the person you’re with and to get a new perspective on their life.
We decided to start this whole memory lane thing with me because experiencing anything from Susan’s childhood would require at least an hour of driving. We didn’t have that kind of time on this particular day, so I went first.
Susan is pretty familiar with most of the spots that hold any kind of meaning to me as a kid. My parents still live in the house I grew up in, so she has seen all the neighbourhood spots where I used to play and go to school. I didn’t always go to school down the street though. From grade 4 to 10 I went to a school that was quite a good distance from home. So I thought it would be fun to take her to the school I went to and tell her some stories about what it was like.
If you’re looking for a way to feel older than you are (note the sarcasm…) then take some time to go somewhere you haven’t been in years. Driving to my old school made me feel both like I had been there yesterday, and that it had been 100 years at the same time. I remembered almost every turn in the road, every corner store, and even the smells in the air. However, the area has developed quite a bit which made certain parts of the drive almost unrecognizable.
It’s kind of sad to see a place you spent a lot of time at as a kid all run down. I remember that particular school building as always being pretty creepy, but it was always kept up nicely. Now the windows are boarded up (well, most of them), the playground is overgrown, and the walls are covered in spray paint. Just pulling in the parking lot brought back vivid memories of lining up outside the side door waiting to go into the school, or playing outside during recess.
Since taking Susan to my old school brought back so many memories, I was able to share a lot of details about my childhood that I would likely have otherwise forgotten. I am sad that the building has essentially fallen apart, but I’ll always remember that place in a positive light. Of course, now whenever I think of it I’ll always remember us screaming in fear as we drove around the back of the building and saw an open window.
If you have a spot that meant something to you growing up, take a little trip and share it with someone. You’ll be surprised at the detail of your memories, and maybe even create some new ones along the way.
I didn’t meet Brad until the year he graduated high school, so I haven’t visited many of the places he frequented on a daily basis as a child. Oddly enough, I have visited more places in New Brunswick, where he lived until he was six. Of the places I have revisited with him, I quite enjoyed seeing the various landmarks from his life before me. That is, until our most recent walk down memory lane.
Brad decided it would be fun if we took a drive to his old elementary school, which has since been closed. I knew in advance that the school was no longer in operation, but I didn’t realize the building was pretty much condemned. Since Brad went to a private school for a large portion of his education, I had images of driving up to a slightly aged and neglected, but otherwise stately building, something reminiscent of Roman architecture. What we drove up to was more like the ruins of Hiroshima.
Considering how much my heart rate rose just from the creepy overgrown playground and being in such an isolated location, I’m not sure how the drive around back didn’t send me into cardiac arrest. Initially, it sounded like an innocent enough suggestion. Why not get the grand tour, right? However, as we turned the corner onto the remains of what used to be a paved driveway, I knew I was in for it.
Picture a dark and narrow pathway with the actual building on your left and creepy pine trees next to a cliff on your right. As we were nearing the end of this pathway, to our left, next to the former teacher parking area, was a pitch-dark open basement window. Its glass had long since been kicked out and plastic flapped along its wooden frame. We both screamed in horror as I locked the doors and Brad motioned for me to take a picture. Take a picture?! The worst part was that in order to get out of there we had to turn around and drive past it again. Thankfully we managed to escape any axe murders or fire-breathing dragons that may have been lurking in the basement.
For those of you considering taking your significant other for a walk down memory lane, be sure your location isn’t the perfect setting for a Stephen King novel. That being said, I will admit it was kind of fun to scare ourselves into a feverish sweat. It was scary at the time, but I can look back on it now and chuckle.