Moving Sideways…

During the summer of 1976, we moved next door to the Peacock Court Motel. This move did not improve our situation that I could see.

The Peacock Court in its heyday… decades before we got there.

Dad would say later that the rent was cheaper, but it just felt like a sideways move to me. But it didn’t have the trailer park like the Mountain View had, so it did seem quieter, cleaner, and less crowded. There also appeared to be fewer weirdos and drunks there – but only a few.

I don’t remember the entire move, but we basically just walked our boxes and bags across the junk-filled grass lane behind our Mountain View unit, and went around into our Peacock Court unit. It was like a 60 second trip.

I have the image of my mother smuggling our cat Velvet over inside a cardboard box. She carried him for about 30 metres to our new home, with his little head popping up out of the box a few times as he tried to escape from his confusing ordeal. Mum just pushed his head back down and kept on walking.

Even though we’d been in Vancouver for about a year, lots of things still seemed so much bigger and faster to me. In fact, it felt like the world was expanding all around me.

Maybe my brain was just growing up and out, but the more I looked, the bigger and more complex everything looked to me. The ocean looked deeper, the clouds looked farther away, the city seemed larger and more complicated, and its citizens more mysterious.

Victoria, and Poppy, and Aunty Dora, and Miss Pearcy all seemed like distant memories from an old life. Victoria was my Mum’s life. In Vancouver, it felt like that was where my Dad’s life was. There was another family there whom I was only just meeting: my Dad’s Mum, “Grandma Swanson”, and her sister, Aunty Molly, and from them I would learn more about Dad’s home town and upbringing, and learn where he came from.

I had been scared of the idea of Vancouver before we’d moved here, but now I was used to it, and had grown to like it. Kids adapt.


The memoir and family history of E. John Love