Sunday, 28 October 2012

Being Nostalgic About York University

A stub from the dance that sealed our future.

    Last night Christopher and I went to see my cousin Fiona's play The Rocky Horror Picture Show.  The theatre was one street over from York University.  We got to reminiscing about "the good old days".  We drove past Sentinel Street, the street that would take you to York.  I looked down that street thinking about our wonderful past.  We decided that after the show we would take a trip to the University... just for old times sake.

Look at my big hair, and
much smaller body

    After the show we drove up Sentinel Street.  "This is all new" Christopher said.  We rubber necked looking at everything.  "That's not new."  I said of the apartments we passed.  "There's the pond" I shouted out excited.  "Remember stealing cafeteria trays and using them as sleds to go down that hill?" He just got this wistful smile.  "I remember", he said and reached over and squeezed my knee.

More BIG hair.
   We drove right up to Stong Residence and just sat there looking up at it.  So many memories.  Just looking at it I could almost smell the way the corridor smelled.  I could visualize every part of that place from the mailboxes at the front to the mildewy smell of the bright orange elevators.  Christopher pointed up to the third floor window "There's Slip's Bar".  He had a bar in his room that was very popular.  He charged dollar drinks.  Everyone would stop off and see "Slipper" before they headed down to the Orang Snail Pub.  We got a cheap head start.  His room was always packed with people.  Our rooms always had the doors open.  You were never lonely at Rock House (the name of our floor), unless you wanted to.  It was nice.

    While we sat there, someone buzzed into the residence.  "I wish we could follow him in" said Christopher.  "I think I'd rather live in the past.  If we went up there they would think that we were someone's mom and dad."  I said it with a laugh, but then the reality of my words stuck in my throat, choking me a little.  If Gabe were still here, we would be doing the university circuit this year.  We are old enough to have kids at university.   It was a little like a punch in the stomach.  I had two equally stong emotions.  The first was how could we be old enough to have a kid going to university, when it feels like five minutes ago that we stopped going there?  The second was the longing for Gabe.  The thought of all of the things that we have been robbed of.  My little man will never get to go to University and experience all of the wonder that Christopher and I did.  

Oh he was so stinking cute
    On the way home we talked about York.  It was such a wonderful time, maybe some of the best years of my life.  I was that small town girl, living the dream in the big city.  Sunday nights were touch football in the lot behind the dorm.  We had so much fun.  There was a big group of us that would play, usually only two or three of us were girls.  I learned how to throw a spiral with a football at York.
We played broom ball, and I spent much of my shifts in the penalty box for roughing.  Our house won the championship my first year.  There was a lot of celebrating at Slip's Bar that night.  So many great memories were had at York.  We had so many great friends there that over time we have lost touch with.

    It was a Stong's "Last Supper" that the shy nice guy, Slip from down the hall finally danced with me.   He liked me all year, and I knew it.  It was nice to have someone like you like that.  I had been a nerd in high school, university was a chance to a fresh start.  No one knew that past me, only the present me.  I was sowing my oats, living, I had no time for steady boyfriends, or so I thought.  That dance... Christopher's friend Ian asked me to dance.  I got up, but instead of walking to the dance floor, he walked me over to Christopher and put our hands together.  We danced all night.  From that one dance came 19 years of marriage, and 5 beautiful children.  From that dance and a lot of hard work.
    When we got home last night I pulled out the old photo albums.  I lovingly turned each page, looking at the young faces before me.  We were so young.  My hair was so big (it was the early 90's).  It took me quite a while to get ready to leave my room.  I kept a curling iron plugged in 24 hours a day... just incase.  I look back and marvel that I did not catch my room on fire.  I needed to look perfect before I would leave my room.  My make-up had to be just right, my clothes, my hair, everything.  It was shortly after we were married that I stopped wearing make-up, stopped taking hours on my personal appearance.  I just sat looking at those pictures, my face hurt from smiling.  We were so young, so happy.  York University, you sure gave us some really great memories.

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