In what was the little town of Newmarket, Ontario, where I grew up (it’s a city now, so don’t go there looking for something quaint) there is a small lake, called Fairy Lake. It really was never much more than a place where the river got wider, I realize now, but something tells me it used to be much more.
Every day, I walked to school from my house on Lundy’s Lane, up Red Deer Street to Patterson Street where both my primary and secondary schools were approximately situated. I walked that way except when I took the shortcut. You see, there is (or probably was, now) a large storm sewer under Red Deer with a teeny tiny creek running through it. I used to catch crayfish there and keep them in a bucket on the front steps of my house until they died. (I was a horrible child, looking back.) But back to the shortcut.
I can only think that storm sewer existed for when Fairy Lake flooded, because it was the only body of water around. Farther down from the storm sewer was a swamp (now has baseball fields on it) and a lock for boats that dried up long before I became a teenager. I digress yet again.
One day, I think I may have been in Grade 2, I was late for school so I took the shortcut. Something I never did at the time. I was a responsible 8 year old, after all. But this day I decided to dawdle. They had the police looking for me by the time I arrived at school with not a clue what the big deal was. Because of course, when they went to look for me on Lundy’s Lane, Red Deer, and Patterson Street, I was no where to be found.
I understand now the terror that I must have caused by stopping to pick weeds along the path behind the houses. And I suppose I must have kept my shortcut hidden from the adults, because they didn’t go there to look for me.
I’ve never told anyone this story before. There are no adults left who would remember it, nor any children of that time who I associate now with who would.
Thanks for the memories, stream of consciousness. And thank you to you, who have read my story. 🙂