On Sunday morning, June 17, I powered open the sunroof of my vintage 1997 Prelude, slipped Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7 in A major, Op. 92, into the CD player, and embarked upon my return journey to Saskatchewan.
I was as excited as a little girl, decades ago seated in the backseat of my grandfather’s automobile on my way from Manitoba to spend the next two weeks in Melville. It was my turn after waiting an entire year to experience the joy of being pampered by my loving grandparents, and to this day those summer vacations remain one of my fondest memories.
As on my previous trip, just as I had crossed the border I encountered a storm. This time the vast Saskatchewan sky suddenly became alive
a deluge, which required me to quickly close the sunroof and pull over to the side of the road to wait until visibility returned. Lost in waves of water, I realized that I was experiencing ambivalence about returning to Melville.
I eagerly anticipated being hosted by both the Yorkton and Melville Public Libraries for a reading and signing; then I excitedly planned to drive down 3rd Avenue East, the address of my grandparents’ previous home. Still, I decided I would be remiss if I did not provide the Gift Shop of the Melville Heritage Museum copies of Arriving . This beautiful building had been constructed in collegiate gothic style of buff-coloured brick as the Luther Academy in 1913, and it operated in that capacity until 1926.
However, before being restored to its original interior design and opened as the Heritage Museum in 1983, for many years it had been the St. Paul Lutheran Old Folks Home. With considerable hesitation, I climbed the flight of stairs, remembering that here’s whereI had seen my grandmother for the last time.
I believe every honest author writes about what know, and I definitely drew on my childhood experiences. As I began writing my Understanding Ursula trilogy, I often about visiting with my grandmother in her home… until my dreams started to take a haunting turn. They were so moving that, when I awakened, I vividly recalled how I had bargained with her to wait for me to return.
Although I no longer experience these frequent dreams about my grandmother, and I do miss them, I consider it poignantly symbolic that my last available copy of the first print run of Arriving: 1909–1919, written in memory of Rudolph and Mary Gares, was purchased in Melville, Saskatchewan.
To see more photos like the one in this blog, please visit: http://www.prairiefirephoto.com/