Meet You in the Lane

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The above link shows the progress of the community as one group of immigrants coming in,  prospering,  and moving to make way for the next group.  

The above picture is of a lane thatis still one of the defining features of the area. 

The infamous Park Extension lanes were somewhere we spent a lot of time as kids.  They were a sanctuary between 2 streets that kids hung out where there was no danger of cars running us over.  Each pair of parallel north -south streets has a space between them that’s big enough to play and just wander about in. It’s safe because cars hardly ever venture there. It’s great for a pickup game of hockey or basketball. Neighbours you’d only see from your back door window now become closer than your neighbours across the street. 

It was a windy mid -afternoon in October and the basketball felt cold as we were playing 21. We knew it would be one of the last times. School was well under way and the snow would be coming soon. Our bikes were locked up because it was too cold to ride them and we were too lazy to look for our gloves.  We decided to give it up and go have some chipati at Jamie’s place. I liked the smell of his house. I had learned to really enjoy the spice smell and the mini Sikh shrine his mother had built in front of the antichambre had a nice soothing smell resonating from it. We ate the bread with some spread I’d never had before and proceeded to go out again.  There was less life in the home. His mother was constantly praying and still hadn’t gotten over her husband’s death. 

Outside was Peter.  We knew his sister had a problem with her nerves. He carried a big bag of roasted almonds. We took some and started talking about Markham. Jamie would be moving there. His uncle had set them up. Peter told us to go over to his yard to see this nest that he had discovered. 

Lo and behold,  there was half of the neighbourhood,  all waiting to tell Jamie goodbye. It was a feast for hours in the lane.  

This is something that sticks out in my memory. But there are many more. 

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