Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Barkerville .... Oh the history!

Can you hear that sigh of relief.  School is back in.  Company has gone home.  Hubby is at work.  And the house is quiet.  So peacefully, wonderfully quiet.

Which gives me time to write a blog post.  Or two.

This summer was a little crazy-stressful.  We did a lot of cool things.  We saw Mary Poppins on stage, went to a Bob Dylan Concert in Cranbrook, BC, and went on a little week-long vacation.  All within a month.  We also had my parents here two different times - for 10 days and a week.  And we've had some other stuff going on in our house that has been challenging to deal with, but of which I cannot blog.  So lets just say I'm really happy to have the quiet house to myself for even a few minutes.

What I'm going to write about here in this blog, though, is a trip down memory lane (otherwise known as highway 26). 

Let me explain.  At the end of August my family went on an 8-day vacation.  First we visited my parents for 4 days and then we went up the province to visit the historic town of Barkerville.  Here's the really strange part of it all.  My husband was feeling very stressed out and felt like he needed some time just with the three of us - no visiting.  We had planned on going south into the States to stay with an old friend of mine with her husband and 3 kids, but husband didn't think that would be the best thing for his state of mind.  He just wanted to see things and not have to socialize.  So he suggested going to Barkerville.  understanding his need to bond and be away from social obligations, I thought it was a good idea and had to let my friend down.  Hopefully we'll see her soon anyhow.


But Barkerville was not without social obligation, as it turns out.

I worked as a Teaching Assistant on an Archaeological Field School in the summer of 1993.  We were excavating underneath the Chee Kung Tong Building at Barkerville.  It was fascinating work.  I fell in love with Chinese artifacts and the concept of what these men went through living there.  And it was FUN.  I was 24, full of life and having a great time.  Men were kissed.  Alcohol was consumed.  I was trying to figure out who I was and what I wanted to do with my life.  I was trying to get to know myself.  It was a very formative summer.



So ... fast forward 19 years.  You'd think after 19 years that not too many people are still there that I knew.  Well, I knew for sure that 2 people would be there.  And I suspected a third.  After contacting them, I found out there was a 4th.  And then after I arrived, a beautiful blond woman said "I know you!!" - and I realized I knew her, too.  DB - sorry for not remembering your name.  She remembered mine, though - a better memory than mine, for sure - she was a street actor there lo so many years ago and now performs AMAZING shows at the theatre.


We visited with the curator, hugged (a lot) the woman doing a whole lot in the Chinese end of town (running Chinatown, I believe, but appologies if I am not quite accurate), had supper with the mayor, and visited the current archaeological excavations.  Socializing was all around.

Lion Dance performed for the mid-Autumn moon festival.

But here I was, 5 months after visiting Austin and going through the "facing my past" thing, doing it all over again.  Dredging up details and names and memories that I hadn't remembered for years.  I started to wonder if I'm on my farewell tour (let's hope not).  WHY all this stuff from my past is coming up now.  But that's something for me to figure out, not anyone else.

Comments like "you spent a lot of time in the pub that summer - as did I" countered with "it wasn't a pub, it was a bar, and a rather seedy one at that!"  Or "I thought you were the type of woman who would NEVER get married" - came up to bite me in the ass and make me realize how much I have actually changed in the past 20 years.  Oh ... the memories.  Oh how I have matured, grown up, become so much more wise. 

I didn't spend as much time in Barkerville as I did in Austin, so it wasn't quite as overwhelmingly sentimental, but it was still cathartic.  Having an old friend, who I had shared some interesting experiences with, tell me that she loved me .... well, how can you beat that.  I miss you Y.Y.

I don't think I have as much fun as I did back then.  But that's okay.  I'll take quieter and maybe a bit boring along with the wisdom and maturity.

And if you're ever in central British Columbia, you must take a detour and see Barkerville.  Well worth the trip!

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