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Ramsay Newsletter

  In 2005 Ryan Fox and I lived happily in Bridgeland, next to a nice Italian family. One day, out of the blue, our landlords informed us that our beautiful green bungalow was being torn down to make way for two large grey houses. Our house was almost 100 years old and had a laundry chute from the bedroom closet to the top of the washing machine, so, pretty handy.

I made a short film in that house, that turned into a shorter film, and then not really a film at all. You can watch it here if you wish: Super 8 Film.)

In any case, it was a travesty for us, but an opportunity for them. Rental houses can be difficult to find in Calgary and moving in the winter sucks, so we were a little worried.

A few weeks later I came across a nice top floor in Ramsay for rent. "Where's Ramsay?" I asked Ryan. “Ooh, let’s move there, I love Ramsay!” That weekend we set out on a big old walk across the river to take a look.

Across the Langevin bridge, through East Village, and past Fort Calgary we entered Ramsay on 8 street. I remember it feeling like Mount Pleasant, a village just outside of Peterborough where Georgia's mom lives.

As we approached the house for rent, the excitement grew. It felt like we were being let in on this little secret, and I LOVE secrets. Suffice to say, within the week, we were Ramsay residents.

Our new house was on Maggie street, a super cute one-way with homes on one side and backyards on the other. It was named after Mayor Wesley Orr’s daughter (back when you could just do that). We had the whole top floor, and lied to our landlords saying our 3rd roommate was just Ryan's sister visiting, but it was actually Angela, our 3rd roommate. Before long Angela had convinced the neighbour to let us use his hot tub, but just as quickly he took it away because she brought a boy over. To this day she claims it was worth it.

We had backyard fires and all of our apartment friends would come over and talk about how much they loved our house and our neighbourhood.  Then they’d try to trick us into letting them move in.

Before long we had our first enemy on Maggie street; a grumpy old homeowner who hated renters. We called him the mayor of Maggie St., and he knew everything that was going on. He told me that one day his dog will eat our cats (never happened). Our landlords said he tried to convince them to live in the house themselves, because renters are evil, but in the end, evil prevailed, and we remained.

In an unanticipated turn of events, I acquired a pot-bellied pig. My first night with him was full of terrible nightmares about what I’d done.  I woke up with the realization that there was no way I could pull it off in that house. The thought of leaving Ramsay was upsetting, but by a strange coincidence, a house on 8 street was listed for rent and 'big dogs' were allowed. It was brilliant.

Angela was in Las Vegas when we decided to move, so she came home to: "Surprise! We got a pig! And we're moving!" Luckily, she adapts well.

Our camper van out front wouldn’t start, so everyday I'd go to work and give Ryan the impossible task of getting the Talivan moved to the new house on 8 street. One day I came home from work and the Talivan was sitting happily in the back alley of our new house; Ryan standing proudly next to it.

He told me the story of Geoff steering the broken vehicle in neutral, while Ryan pushed it from behind with our little red Mazda, haphazardly across 8 street and into the alley where it remained. It eventually became a glamorous summer vacation home for our two cats, Bill and Maroo. 

This new Ramsay house, even better than the first, came with even more friends sneaking around and trying to move in without us noticing (Two succeeded but were promptly given eviction letters by me, with deadlines like today at 4pm).

Stupid Kellen jumped off the shed and broke the picnic table, and Ken broke a window with a frisbee at our housewarming, but in the end, it didn't change the fact that we lived in the best house ever.

At one point we had mice, and the black and white grocer supplied us with a barrage of mouse traps. If I remember correctly, it was around Christmas time and while half of us were decorating the tree, the other half were trying to make the mouse traps work.

Years later around Christmas time, our black cat Maroo went missing. Maroo was a very valued member of our family. I bombarded the neighbourhood with posters but there was no sign of him. We got a phone call from a few blocks down, and held our breath all the way there. Balanced on the fence beside a house covered in a fantastic Christmas light display (garnering a lot of attention) was a black cat that looked just like Maroo; then he turned around. Sadly, it wasn’t him.

"Thanks neighbour, but that's not him. Nice Christmas light display."

A few days later we found him; he died of a heart problem in our very own house. He is now sleeping buried in the backyard. RIP Maroo.

I found my red bike with a 'For Sale' sign on it, strung up on a fence a bit farther into Ramsay (by the big white head). I paid $75 for it, and get compliments on it to this day.

I usually really enjoy talking to Brian at the bus stop or on the bus asking me where the bus's go, but sometimes I'm not in the mood.

Our house turned 100 this year, and I am proud of that, even though it's not really our house. And although we don't have a laundry chute, there are little notes written in cupboards and closets like 'Changed the oil in the Chevrolet, May '71'.

One summer morning, coming in through my open bedroom window was the most beautiful rendition of 'At Last' by Etta James. It was so perfect. I later learned it was my neighbour practicing for a wedding.
Another set of neighbours spent Christmas Eve yelling at each other to get a life while two huskies ran up and down the street. That was a fun year.

It has been 7 years since I first walked into Ramsay, and so much has changed. My family then, barely resembles my family now. Maroo left us, and Ryan passed away in that time as well. It was sudden, very sad, and he is very missed.

Mickey the pig has moved onto greener pastures (literally; a farm in the country) where he’ll be much happier.

Neighbours have changed, but Ramsay’s the same, and I like that. So, thank-you Ramsay, for everything that you are.


Dave said…
I loved this post. I like that they're stories, but there's also a poetic-ness to it. And the tone is all over the place, but that's how life is in a place so it's perfect. Stupid Kellan made me laugh out loud and the whole thing made me miss Ryan, even though I didn't know him all that well. You are a lovely writer.

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