Thursday, January 19, 2017

Memories resurface

A friend sent me this photo taken by a friend of hers and I recognized it instantly as a cabin that I lived in with my first husband many years ago. I think it was 1972 that we moved from Prince Rupert across the harbour to this little shack owned by a friend of Doug's. The place was called Crippen Cove and there were about five or six little cabins built around its edge.

This was in the early '70s and everyone I knew wanted to drop out and go back to the land, and so these abandoned cabins were being occupied and fixed up by "hippie kids" like us.

Of course it was summer time when we moved and we had wonderful fun chopping wood for the old stove, picking berries, scaring off bears, and growing primitive gardens. I was still working in town at the CBC radio station and I'd take the little aluminum skiff to go back and forth to work.  We didn't last too long at Crippen Cove because when summer was over it was a lot more difficult to cross the harbour. Plus without electricity or running water, life became pretty challenging in the cold and the rain. I have no idea when this photo was taken or even if the cabin is still there but it's a stunning image and it perfectly captures the essence of magic and isolation of that beautiful spot.

The only other photo I have of the cabin is this one with Doug posing on the ramshackle deck at the front. He liked to present himself as a tough backwoods boy, sitting on an oil drum smoking a cigarette. The photo was taken by my little brother almost 45 years ago when he was visiting us there.

That was the summer of the bear that became too accustomed to people and would come right up onto the deck looking for food. Whenever we went outside we had to go with bells and noisemakers so we wouldn't surprise the bear. Eventually it was shot by the authorities because he was posing a danger to people.

Looking back at these photos feels very strange to me, mostly because I recently heard the news that my ex-husband had died from cancer. We were married for eleven years, eventually moving to Victoria and having a baby boy, Kevin. Our divorce was amicable but after our child died there wasn't really any reason to keep in touch. Doug eventually became a marine engineer and worked on many smaller coastal ferries on the BC coast. He remarried and lived a long and happy life with his wife. Somehow I can't fathom that we're all in our 70s now. So much of the time just seems to slip through our fingers. And yet I still remember vividly that crazy summer in Crippen Cove with Doug.

Today I'm remembering Doug as a young man and a father to Kevin who died on this day in 1985. Here's a photo taken when Kevin was two weeks old in the arms of his proud papa. I'm picturing them somewhere together now sharing love and laughter and magical memories.


  1. A date like this would definitely stir up old memories.

  2. awwwwwww, What memories, they wash over you like a wave and engulf you.
    I know what you mean, at seventy I really don't feel like that in my mind but.....

    cheers, parsnip

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