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Letting Go and Taking Hold

In August 1970, before Mum left to go home to England, we had celebrated our first wedding anniversary. Peter was 3 months old and although he still slept only fitfully, we were so grateful that he was no longer suffering with colic.

It was almost a year since we had left England the previous September and it had been a year of huge adjustments--to marriage, parenthood and a new country.

Paul's mum and dad and his two sisters and brother, were living in Aurora too, in a rented house on Holman Crescent. We decided that if we moved in with them temporarily, it would enable us all to save some money, so in September that is what we did.

Their household of five increased to eight, in a three bedroom, split level bungalow. Paul's mum and dad gave up their bedroom for Paul, Peter and me, and they moved their bed into the unfinished basement. It was crowded, but we were just doing what many other newcomers have done to get established.

Paul's dad had got a job in an office and had started a church in Aurora. His sisters Sheila and Judy were in high school and his brother John, was working.

There was a spooky feeling about the house, even though it was probably not more than ten years old. I remember hearing a from cough down in the basement, when no one was there, and Paul had an experience while in bed one night, of waking up with a huge weight on his chest and praying desperately against a presence that was in the room.

I continued to work part time at Ardills, and Paul, even though he hated it, kept working at a factory. We saved hard, and soon had enough to plan for me to go to England in the following September (1971.)

During the summer of 1971 we saw in the newspaper that some houses were being built in a village called Tottenham, about 40 minutes from Aurora. We had an old clunker of a car by then, and went out for a drive one day to see the house that was in the photo in the paper. It was on a corner lot, had three bedrooms and for $500 down it was ours, fridge and stove included! The house cost only $21,900--less than a new car today! We put down our deposit, and we would take possession of it in November, but since I was going to England with Peter at the end of September and staying for 3 months, I wouldn't be there to move in.

Instead, Paul and his family moved in on November 4th. They planned to live with us for a few months in order to save some money so that they too, would have a downpayment on a house.

With both of our children, I somehow knew the moment they were conceived, and so it was with Brenda. Just before I left for England in September, I knew that another baby was on the way and not long after arriving in England I started to have morning sickness and a craving for fish! I lingered longingly at the fish market at the Birmingham Bullring.

Being "home" again after two long years away and to see Dad and Robert and my friends again was wonderful. Peter was 16 months old, and Mum had borrowed a crib for him to sleep in, and bought a little pushchair. Those three months together were so precious as we went shopping, to church and had endless cups of tea. Then as now, the simple pleasure of being together was all that we needed to be happy.

One day Paul called and said that if I really wanted to stay in England, he would come back. Two years before I would not have hesitated; I would have been so happy that at last we could go home. But thinking of the future for our children, I realized that we had a brighter future in Canada, so I told Paul that no, I would come "home" to him there.

Another phone call came a little later and his voice was full of excitement. He had been miserable working in a factory ever since we'd arrived in Canada two years ago. Now he had seen an advertisement in the paper for a job at Pine Ridge in Aurora, an institution for the developmentally disabled and applied. The position was "unclassified" staff, and he had gone for an interview and got the job! This seemed like such a miracle, as there were several applicants for the job and we were just Landed Immigrants at the time.

Paul was so happy to be working with people instead of machines and he started the job in December of 1971. At Pine Ridge Paul remembers that they were thrilled to have someone who didn't mind working New Year's Eve as it seemed everyone there wanted it off.

I arrived back in Canada with Peter in January 1972, to a different house in a different town than I had left and by then was just over 3 months pregnant.

Paul's mum had made the home look very cosy with all of our bits and pieces of furniture and there seemed to be plenty of room for all of us.

When I sat down to figure out our income and expenses, I saw that there was a shortfall. We didn't have enough to manage on when it was down on paper, even with only minimal expenditures. Somehow though, we never went a month without covering all of our bills. I never knew how that happened except that it was God meeting our needs.

I was still only 21 and Paul 24, but God had provided for us each step of the way on this adventure we were on and we knew that we would be okay as long as we kept following his lead.


Marilyn said…
I love his willingness to return and your choice to cross back again instead - intentional choices about home and where you will make yours. Such rich thoughts this engenders...about how much of now was chosen then.
Suz said…
I am very much enjoying your life story. About the time you were having your first son, I was graduating from college without a care in the world. I forget sometimes that others had completely differest experiences. Thank you for reminding me.
Susan said…
Love the title... I still can't get over how much happened to you in such a short time...
Belinda said…
Thanks Marilyn, Suz and Susan,
Your comments keep me writing, and I am so grateful! I am enjoying the journey too. I don't know what I will do when I get to the end, but I have a few years to go yet. :)
Angcat said…
Loving the journey too. This has inspired me to learn more of my parents stories.

I always thought that Peter's children were more like Susan's side...obviously not from this photo.

Keep writing....

Belinda said…
Oh Ang, if it inspires you to do that, I am glad. Listen and write while they are here. These memories and stories are so precious. Love, B

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