Dear Readers ,
You know of my love of ocean, beach and all things sun and sand.
What you may not know however is, although I have often written about recollections of childhood beaches along lakes and rivers; my true and best memories of my youth do not take place near any sort of water source at all.
In fact they take root in the steamy heat rising from city pavement in the thick of Montreal’s inner courtyards and interconnected fire-escapes and alleys.
From 3rd avenue to 12th avenue back to 6th where my person took shape, in the long stretch of summer days where the thermometer rose above 100° F (yes my formative years took place in Fahrenheit, long before Canada would adopt the metric system) my world was made up of alley -ways, inner courtyards and the squeeking of clothes – lines on top of clothes – lines.
Dozens and dozens of back doors propped open to catch a well needed breeze .From each open door the scent of freshly waxed kitchen floors and the day’s supper heating on the stove top.
Heat rising off the fire escapes, cats sunning themselves, popsicle stained smiles , ” kick- the -can” , marbles, skipping ropes , nickels and dimes in our sweaty hands as we awaited the ice – cream man, filled our days.
But the best part?
When dusk finally came we were allowed outside in our pyjamas. Bedding down right there on the balcony!
Dozens of kids doing the same on the balconies above and below us enabled talking and giggling until the wee hours.
Occasionally someone’s mother would shout out and threaten to take us inside but.. … We knew we were safe as that would require too much energy in this heat.
We finally fell in to slumber inhaling the wonderful scent of the sun-baked wood of our balcony bed and long before roof-top pools were fashionable ;the promise of our little inflated swimming pools in the morning. …