Weekend Away

So on Friday I wrote about being on Via Rail on our way to visit family. We were headed to my Dad’s for the weekend to help him move and Little Miss came along to visit and be cute. We also had to train it back home Sunday evening. After I wrote I met the most interesting man on the train who ended up sharing the four seater family area with us. He was great, talked gibberish with Little Miss and regaled my brother and I with peices of his life story. Was truly amazing and fascinating. He was trying to distract himself from is ultimate destination as much as possible and us letting seemed to help, as well as gave me a new contact here in Toronto for when I am ready to go back to work and for my brother who is currently job hunting.

My Dad is moving, not away, but in with his girlfriend/fiancee. It’s not far but does mean he’s leaving the house that he grew up in and then my brothers and I grew up in, 3 generations have lived in that house and now we’re leaving it. There are just under 50 years worth of family memories scattered about that house. It’s actually quite saddening to me to realize that Little Miss won’t get to run and play in the yard that I did or learn to ride a bike or camp in a tent in the yard that I did all of these things.

My grandfather and Dad moved into the house when my Dad was a little boy after his Mom died from MS. She wasn’t even 30. My dad spent his formative years there and at my great-grandparents one town over. Even after my Dad moved to Toronto my grandfather stayed and lived there until his second heart surgery and my parents break up, when my Dad brought us three children there to live.

This past weekend we continued the sorting of memories into three piles; keepsake/heirlooms, junk and give away. It was hard. Not all of it, course my old barbies or hot wheels were an easy choice for trash or give away but certain things were hard to decide if they should be kept or not with the limited storage space we’re keeping.

Some Keepsakes/Heirlooms

1. My grandmothers wedding dress. Yes, her WEDDING dress. In pristine condition only a tiny bit of yellowing due to age. She was more petite than I so it isn’t as if I’ll wear it at my wedding but it’s a piece of one of the most important days of her short life and something solid for my Dad to help remember her by.

2. My grandfathers war medals. We knew they were somewhere but he never talked about WW2 ever with any of us, even my Dad, he refused to bring the horror of the past into the present. To see medals honouring him for something he refused to acknowledge was a heavy moment.

3. My Dad’s baby bib. Maybe that sounds silly but ‘C’ and I are into retro and this bib is as 50’s retro as you can get style wise, it’s from the 50’s. I brought that home and we’ll frame it and put it in the babies room.

4. My grandparents wedding china. That’s for me when we buy our house. It’s gorgeous bone china from England with gold filigree and roses on it. We looked it up on a whim and the value is ridiculous, definitely a valued heirloom in more ways than one.

5. My grandfathers Lock Box with family papers and collectors coins. some of the papers were reciepts for things like the family dining table which we found out is 104 years old, or the mantle clock which is from the 1890’s. None of us realized how many large items in the house were antique.

Things that we decided to give away went through two stages; the first being on the lawn for a day with a free sign and then to a donation centre. Saved us additional effort on lifting and carting stuff off. The surprising thing was how quick some things went and what they were. Old chairs needing all new upholstry and stuffing and old childrens toys went the fastest while a TV still in perfectly good working order didn’t get taken and was given to charity instead.

So of course as the weekend was a working weekend it went by very quickly. We still got in family visiting but no friend visits really, which is ok since we’ll be back up in a few weeks, but the family was nice. We made dinner altogether and had homme made breakfasts. There was even a surprise visit from one brother who was supposed to be in Ottawa but managed to come visit when he heard his niece was in town. We ad gotten our train tickets on sale after the CP Rail strike and got off in Fallowfield from Toronto and were supposed to catch our train home from there as well, instead on the Saturday we called and had them edit the tickets so we could board in Kingston due to a family hospitalization.

So, sunday evening we caught the train from Kingston to go home. It was late, 15 minutes late. Not bad until we kept getting delayed and held over at every station after that. We were just over an hour late getting into Toronto, which is not the latest I’ve even been home but not good when you have a baby and are pumping. Doubly not good when your baby who hasn’t pooped all weekend decides to go through 4, count them 4, diapers on a 3 hour train ride with diarrhea. Thank goodness she didn’t explode out of her diaper while we were on the trains but it did happen later. Little Miss loves to travel so far, she finds the people and the views fascinating. She loves eye flirting with people and smilling doolily at them and staring out the windows transfixed as the countryside glides by, but that doesn’t mean when she decided she was tired and Mommy was not a good enough bed that she didn’t put up a bit of a fuss. We just managed to hold off a full scale baby freak out until home but it was a VERY close call.

Roundtrip train travel experience #2 was an overall success and since we will have to do it again before the end of July that’s a relief. We’ll see if this love of trains continues as Little Miss gets older.

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