A banana a day…?

Since Grade six, I’ve gotten the occasional severe neck cramps. Debilitating might be a better word for them. I’d be walking along, and then get a lightning bolt shoot right up one side of my neck into the back of my skull. That neck muscle would contract, and burn like it was on fire. They were painful enough to stop me in my tracks, and at least once or twice, knock me to my knees. It was a very painful and scary experience – one that I dreaded.

I attributed them to a reaction to stress. I didn’t use those exact words in my head, but I do remember feeling like that was an accurate description.

The neck cramps seemed to subside as I got older, and got into my teen years, and by about 20, they might have mostly disappeared. As I grew up, I don’t think I ever told my parents or many friends about them (although one or two friends may have seen me have one).

They continued to happen a few times every year. At the age of 53, they still happen to me today. I forgot about my “stress” rationale, and in fact, as my life became happier, my neck cramps all but subsided.

But I recently read that poor diet and some aspects of malnutrition, like low potassium levels, can lead to neck and leg cramps.

I still believe that stress played a major factor, but could eating a Banana a day have kept the neck cramps at bay?

Processing the Posthumous…

Eventually, it seems that something always puts you back to where you need to be. Not long ago, a cousin (another Love) asked me if I had a photo of the Love family house, up in Prince Rupert. I replied that I had taken a couple of snaps of iot back in 1999, when visiting my Dad’s bother. But, no matter where I looked, I could not find it. I hate misplacing anything on the best of days, but this was different: actual photographic evidence of a big piece of my Dad’s childhood, a home I’d been inside to witness myself, in which I could imagine many of my Dad’s childhood stories taking place. If I’d lost that photo, what could I do? I couldn’t very well fly back up to Prince Rupert and just shoot another one.

Could I?

About the Love House

The story my Dad told me (as best I can recall) was that his Dad, Albert Bruce Love, had the lumber for his new house barged in, and each piece of lumber had the name “LOVE” stamped on it. Dad described how he and his younger brother Eric shared teh attic as their bedroom, and would lay there listening to the rain hammer down on the roof. Dad extolled the virtues of deep eaves (not like these modern houses with their shallow eaves that let the rain blow in all the time), and Dad said that if you looked in the attic, you’d see the name “LOVE” stamped on the ceiling.

C. 1928: Eric, Bruce, James, and Charles in front. Aunt Marion (“Molly”) holding baby Patricia in the background.
C. 1928: Bruce, Eric, James, and baby Patricia.
C. 1934: James, Eric, Patricia, and Charles (Behind them, an uncle perhaps?)

If I couldn’t find my 1999 photo of the house, how could I recreate it?

I decided that I could do the next best thing: I could use Google Maps and Street View to take a new photo. This required two things: (1) that I could find the house’s address, and (2) that it was still standing in place. I worried about that the most. The two houses that my Dad’s parents lived in later, down here in Vancouver, were long ago bulldozed and replaced with apartment blocks. I could only hope that Prince Rupert’s urban expansion had stayed relatively quiet over the last 20 years.

It had.

With some emailed descriptions of the location of the house (“on 8th avenue, near such-and-such”, “not far from the school”, etc.), I was able to get to the right section of Eighth Avenue East using Google Street View, and go for a little walk. Before long, my virtual steps had taken to a corner that looked vaguely familiar, and… there it was, I was sure!

The old Love family home, on East Eighth Avenue,in Prince Rupert (circa 2012)

But How Can I be Sure?

Even feeling like I had found the house, I wanted some irrefutable evidence, and finally realized that I could search for the address in other records attached to my Grandfather.

Sure enough, a 1921 census listed this address as that of my Grandpa Love, my Grandmother, and their infant son Albert Bruce. (This tracks with my Uncle Bruce’s story that he was born in the house.) A 1940 voter registration list from Prince Rupert also confirmed the address, so there it was.