Tuesday, January 5, 2010

A Tree With No Roots

I'm talking about the family on the next street from where you live... the family who own their own home - have been together for 25 years - children were born and raised there ... always knowing where they came from. And in their adulthood can always return home to see the tree with the carved initials on the trunk. The tire swing that they sat on while their 9th grade boyfriend pushed you after your McDonalds date and you just thought you would die when he gave you that first kiss! I'm sure the majority of people know exactly what I am talking about.

Well, I grew up in Regent Park - an area notorious for crime and a legend for being the oldest public housing project in Canada. What they don't say is that the majority of the people who do the crimes are not from Regent. Then there are the residents who have to sit by and wear the label and the stigma the media places on them. Meanwhile for the most part, these are just poor families trying to live their lives - raise their children ... go to school or their part time job ... and are inherently good people.

One thing about these people is true though, the fact that they do not own the homes their children are raised in. In fact - when 'Billy' moves out and it is just 'Sally' left - then mom moves into a smaller unit - and so on ... until mom eventually ends up in a 1bdrm unit, which may or may not be in the same area where she started from.

The problem with this is that the children - like myself - have no roots. There is tire swing in the back yard - there is no veranda - or carved tree. In my case - there isn't eve a building anymore. I lived in Regent for approximately 15 years while growing up - and now they are in the process of a revitalization project. Translation - they are tearing everything down to the foundation and starting over.

Now - I am of two minds on this ... or perhaps I should say mind and emotion. Logically I can certainly see that the place was run down, infested and a total slum after years and decades of neglect. However, that was my home for a large part of my life. I grew up there, my sisters where born and raised there... every building, every park, every tree, every stoop had a memory of my youth. And even though I did eventually move to a suburb - albeit in a different housing building - I realize that I am a tree with no roots.

Funnily enough - though my daughter was raised in public housing - she still has memories - she can see the pool she competed in - she can see the playgrounds and the field and the craft room, the entire property is virtually as it was in her childhood.

So, apparently the rootless tree can bear fruit with some roots.

I just wish I had somewhere to walk around and say "remember this?" .... but that was taken away from me. I wonder if you cannot point to where you have come from .. if that affects the vision of where you are going?