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So what’s with the name?

September 5, 2007

 Many of you are probably wondering about the name of my blog. I’ll have to start at the beginning.

I was born in a small northern Quebec town. A mining town. My father worked the copper and gold mines. When I was only 2, the mine was closing and we moved even farther north, to the middle of nowhere, and my father found work in yet another mine. But that didn’t last. After having spent 20 years mining, my father had had enough.

It was the early 70’s and the auto industry was booming in southern Ontario, mainly Windsor. My father, who spoke only French, came first to make sure he could secure work, and we followed a few months later. Acquaintances helped him fill out applications in English, and within a week, he had 3 job offers.

So here I am, in Windsor Ontario. I love this city. Sure, it has its issues, but it’s what I’ve known for most of my life, and it feels like home.

The thing is, we have no family here. None. And after my first surgeries, I stopped traveling with my parents up north, so the only time I got to see family is when they came down here. And some of them did, but not often. After all it’s a good 12 hour drive. 

So in my early 30’s when I finally decided to spend a small fortune and buy myself a van that I could drive, in other words buy my freedom, I realized I now had the ability to visit my relatives, to visit the place where I was born, where I lived as a small child.

I was apprehensive about going. They barely knew me. I hadn’t gone in over 25 years. Would I feel welcomed by these people I barely knew.

I most certain did. Beyond any of my wildest expectations. My uncles had built ramps so that I could get into their homes. My aunts and cousins cooked the most amazing meals. I was ushered from one house to the next, eating and talking and playing cards late into the night. I felt like I had never left. Cousins drove for miles from neighboring communities just to spend a few hours with me and get to know me. It was truly the most wonderful time. My Godfather guided me for a drive out to his cottage where I used to LOVE to go swimming. It was my favorite place in the world when I was seven.  He didn’t own it anymore, but he knew the owners wouldn’t mind. We drove out to my Grandfathers land with my father and my uncle. (It’s the land you see in the header of my Blog)  We don’t own that anymore either, but the current owners let us drive around and even came in from the field to sit and chat with us over some ice tea.

On the first night, I was headed back into town to sleep at my motel. I was driving alone and didn’t quite know for sure where to go, so I wanted to head in before dark. No real signs out there, you just have to know where you’re going. Alone with my thoughts, I started to get a bit emotional. This was home too. Abitibi. That’s the name of the region. I looked in my rearview mirror and saw that the sun was about to set. I found a spot to pull over, lowered my ramp and got out. Silence. Complete silence. Clean fresh air. I sat there and watched the sun set.

abitibisunset2.jpg (click to enlarge)

I was in awe of it all. How can you be gone from somewhere for so long, having left before you were able to form memories, and yet, it feels like home? I suppose you can take the boy out of Abitibi, but you can’t take the Abitibi out of the boy. 

I feel that I am a living breathing part Abitibi. It’s in my blood. I’ve just relocated 12 hours south. Therefore, the blog name.  AbitibiSouth.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. September 5, 2007 11:09 pm

    Thank you for sharing that story Syl. It touched my heart. What lovely people your family are…how lucky for all of you to have each other. I hope you see more of them now. You’ll surly have to take Kelly there to meet them and see your birthplace. And that sunset. Now we know where you and the name come from. Thanks. 🙂

  2. September 6, 2007 4:30 pm

    That photo captures what looks like a fantastic moment.

  3. September 7, 2007 12:13 am

    This is a wonderful story. I am so glad you shared this with us!


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