What to Wear While Strolling Down Memory Lane

Today is my last day down east with my Mum. I’ll be heading home to Ottawa tomorrow. And I’ve been thinking tonight about how much time I’ve spent, this past week, wandering down one lane or another. Literal and figurative. Once the rain stopped, a brisk breeze blew in sunshine and lovely crisp September weather. Perfect for donning sneakers and sweatpants and getting outside.

The old farmhouse basking in the sunshine

So, several times this week I hit the walking trail that runs along the Saint John River near my Mum’s house, to get some much needed exercise. The trail is lined with wild apples trees, wild grape vines, and choke-cherry bushes… all laden with fruit.

Part of the Trans-Canada Trail near Keswick, New Brunswick

I love it when the leaves start to turn. This is a view of one of the islands where the farmers used to graze cattle in the summer. This part of the river between the channels is called the “Grand Pass,” and from here I can see the fishing hole everyone calls “Burpee Bar.” Not named after me, by the way.

The Grand Pass on the Saint John River

When I wasn’t speed walking the trail in sneakers and sweatpants, I was tramping up the brook and across parts of the old farm that I haven’t visited for years. Exploring corners that have fallen into disuse. But are still lovely. The patina of age making them all the more poignant to me.

The old spring fed watering trough

Mother Nature has turned the old cattle watering trough into a perfect parallelogram. It’s a bit sad to see things sliding into disrepair. But, I’m glad that I can still visit these spots when I’m home. Leaning against an old fence made from wood that my stepdad probably cut and milled himself, or finding an abandoned chisel with a homemade wooden handle in the grass. Vestiges of the past.

I love this bit of old fence

On this day it was misty and cool, so my rubber boots and a rain coat were in order. Ha. Posting this makes me laugh. I don’t think I’ve included many make-up free photos on the blog.

Roaming in my boots, raincoat, and a trusty walking stick.

And it wasn’t only literal pathways and lanes I was wandering down this week. I made connections with a few friends that I haven’t seen in years. And years. I had dinner one night with Elizabeth, a high school friend that I haven’t seen since… well… since high school. We talked, and laughed, and talked, and chortled, and had a wonderful evening. I commented that I might need throat lozenges when we had finished catching up. This is a conversation that we’ll continue the next time I’m home. Because, as she said in a text the next day, “We aren’t done yet, my friend.”

This is what I wore. My new Massimo Dutti white shirt, cropped Citizens of Humanity jeans, Stuart Weitzman loafers, and my Vince coat sweater. Some old pieces, some new. Appropriate for new beginnings to old friendships, don’t you think?
On my way out for supper and yakking with an old friend

On Saturday night I attended a reunion for my junior high school class. This was something that three friends and I cooked up two years ago after our 40th high school reunion. Not that we didn’t love that reunion, we did. Re-connecting with high school friends was wonderful. But we felt that we didn’t see enough of the kids with whom we had journeyed through elementary school. You know that long road from Barbie lunch boxes and Dick and Jane readers through to first dances and training bras. What a lovely stroll down memory lane we all had that night.

Mary, Donna, Colleen, and me

That’s my new Veronica Beard suit I’m wearing. With my Stuart Weitzman loafers and a white cami under the jacket. I’m so glad I bought that suit. It looks polished, but casual, and is so very, very comfortable. I love how Donna’s kicking up her heels in this shot. Such a fun night. And at the end of the evening, pretty much everyone stayed and helped us take down the tables and the decorations and pack away all the leftover food. As one classmate said in an e-mail this morning… “The fact that so many people stayed to clean up waaaay after their bed time speaks to how much fun we were all having.” Ha. You got that right, Kim. Midnight is long past bedtime at our advanced age!

You know it’s funny that in the past two years I’ve made more connections with old friends than I have in a long time. Partly it’s because my 40th high school reunion reunited me with many old friends I hadn’t seen since my twentieth reunion. Partly it’s because now that I’m retired and my mum is widowed, I make the journey home more often. And thus I’m in town many more days a year. With more time to see old friends. And partly it’s because of the magic of the Internet. After my high school reunion, I connected with a ton of people on Facebook. People see that I’ve posted something on my blog or on FB about being “back in the ‘hood.” And we exchange messages to arrange coffee or supper get-togethers.

And the result is that as I move forward into my sixties, I’m getting to know friends from my childhood all over again. And that’s pretty cool for someone who has been gone from this place as long as I have. Home has always been special for me. I’ve always cherished this old farm. And now I’m loving getting re-acquainted with some of the people who knew me way back when.

I didn’t spend my whole week wandering down lanes literal and figurative. Mum and I did stuff too. Shopping, and making meals together, and drinking tea and reminiscing. I even tried my hand at putting her hair in curlers one day since her regular hair-dresser is away. Not sure how successful that was.

So that’s what I’ve been doing this week. Strolling down memory lane, and down real lanes. And what I’ve been wearing. What have you been up to my friends?


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36 thoughts on “What to Wear While Strolling Down Memory Lane”

  1. Two strong, beautiful women, you and your mum!! Come to think of it, your friends fit that description too. How wonderful to take advantage of the opportunities to rekindle and enjoy old friends!

    1. Ah, thanks, Leslie. By the way, I met a young woman on the plane from my hometown yesterday, who was flying back to your neck of the woods. She lives and works in Portland and was saying how much she loves it.

  2. I did enjoy that post . I've never known much about Canada . At school we learnt about fur trappers , lumberjacks & the tenacious Mounties . That was Canada to me . Since then I've read a little about the movement of people , many from places like Scotland & the Yorkshire Dales , heading to Canada to improve their lives . I have a few old family photos from the turn of the 18th/19th century showing the branch of family in Toronto & other areas – what a massive step that was , from a tiny village in the Dales , across the Atlantic on a sailing ship into the unknown . My grandmother's Aunt Zilpha travelled alone in 1885 , to meet the man she was to marry .So you've had me checking where New Brunswick is on the map & improving my geography . Lots of water round there , it must be beautiful countryside & a lovely area to grow up .
    Wendy in Scotland just now
    PS Hope your mum has forgiven you

    1. Thanks, Wendy. Lots of water and lots and lots of trees where I come from… and friendly, laid back, down to earth people. I often think how my ancestors must have felt when they arrived in the new world. And how some of my friends' aboriginal ancestors must have felt at the arrival of mine. But that's a whole other topic.

  3. Oh, I love this post. And your mum is adorable. Such cute pictures. That Veronica Beard suit is so stylish and I love the Vince sweater coat.

    As I get older (over 60), I find myself drawn back to my tiny home town way up north on L. Superior. And I sometimes visit by myself now (sans city husband…ha!), since I love to wander the back roads with my mum and talk about old times and people we've known, who is where now, etc. We visit my brother, my aunts, and also always visit the cemeteries where our family members (dad, sister, grandparents) are buried. Of course, we also shop and lunch, etc. Sometimes I muse about moving back, but I'm not ready…and am not sure I ever will be. But, as my husband says, that's where my baby duck was imprinted. And it feels most like home of anywhere on earth.


  4. I love this, Sue. thank you for sharing your memories of the farm and old friends. So lucky to have your Mom with you (she's a cracker-jack from her photo) – I miss those visits and can only take them in my mind.

  5. Loved this post and photos. How lovely for you to have the time and freedom now to visit when you wish and the opportunity to catch up and rekindle old friendships. Like Wendy I enjoy learning about Canada too. Iris

  6. What a lovely post with your thoughts on going down memory lane. I am off to the UK in a couple of weeks to do something similar but now only have cousins to do the memory bit with as the older generation are nearly all gone. Enjoy these visits and the pic of you and your Mum is wonderful. The new suit and shirt don't look bad either!!

  7. Yes,I love this post,too !
    You and your mum look so cute (no make up needed),fresh and happy!
    I've never left my home town,so I enjoyed reading about the farm,the river (living by the water,river,lake or the sea is always beautiful),the paths,to learn more about Canada's little places…
    It is so good to renew old friendships,like there was no gap at all and still a lot to tell,no?I have similar experience 🙂

  8. Oh my goodness, Susan, your wonderful post certainly resonates for me today! Yet another reminder that life is a circle, the desire we seem to experience at some point or other, to return to our starting point–home.

    So glad you had such a good visit, particularly the time with your amazing Mum!


  9. So fortunate to have your mum and old home to return to! Even though I live in Aus, I have 3 close friends in the UK who I've known forever, and when we get together the years roll away. Just read Crow Lake on your recommendation, what a great story, interesting how we make up our minds about how life is for other people, and get it quite wrong. Katie's thoughts that Matt had wasted his life impacted both on of them. Anyway, thanks. Jules

    1. Thanks, Elaine. We did have a good visit. Mum doesn't think the picture is so great! Probably because her hair is squashed under my stepdad's old hat.

  10. Have enjoyed reading your posts, knew you when you were probably 6 or 7 living in Marysville, you were an adorable, freckled faced little girl back then and you really haven't changed that much, still have that same smile. Not surprised your mom is still out and about, she was always a very strong-willed lady, I liked her very much. Its nice you visit her often. Waiting for next "High Heels in the Wilderness" post. Stay well

    1. Oh wow. This comment was a surprise! Thanks for the kind words. But now Mum and I are wondering. Are you a former neighbour? Friend of one of my sisters? Former girlfriend of my brother? Please sign your name next time. I'd love to know.

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