In the city of my childhood, great elms keep watch over blocks upon blocks of 100-year-old Victorian houses. Those houses would qualify as mansions, if not for the core neighbourhoods they inhabit.
The narrow, crooked streets of the Market area are defined by four- and five-story buildings with massive limestone pillars and elaborate cornices in red and tan brick. The historic painted banners on their sides proclaim the businesses which built them early in the last century.
I stand in an antique house on a street where spray-painted tags ride the back walls of garages with impunity. The tall windows, wide sills, the creak of a true antique oak floor instead of some modern imitation. This is the city as I knew it long ago. It is as it was in my grandparents’ time: a melting-pot of the world, falling down and yet still standing.
We are a motley fellowship around our hostess’s table. We have come here from the Congo, from Chicago, from English and aboriginal Canada, from the Russian Mennonite migrations, from Uzbekistan. Continue reading