Where I am from

I chat it up with the people I see daily albeit briefly. For example, I always have a nice thing to say to A. and J. the two cashiers I see when I’m getting my lunch.

I also greet N. our cleaning person warmly when I see her, too.

My late mother was chatty as well and I have no doubt that’s where I get it from — whether it’s nature or nurture I have no idea — but it’s her doing.

She was friends with our pharmacist and the little older man who owned the variety store at the end of our street.

Not only was she friends with the lady who ran the the dry cleaners with her husband (he was not so chatty), she was friends with the lady who lived in the apartment above the dry cleaners. (I am not sure how that happened.)

I also remember having tea with the widow who lived across the street. My mom would visit her often. In retrospect my mom must’ve been in her thirties then and the older widow perhaps in her sixties. She used to bake cookies for me and I think she was German. My mother’s own mother was an ocean away so maybe that was part of it, too.

In fact, every one of the people I remember from my childhood was an immigrant — the German widow, the neighbour from Grenada, the Polish shopkeeper…they all were finding their way in their new country just like my mom was.

And really when I think about it, the people I talk to day-to-day are also new Canadians making their lives here.

I was born here but because I am the child of immigrants I know how lucky I am that I can speak English and that my education enabled me to get a good job.

And I have a small sense of how hard it must be for them and how strong they are for making it work in their new country.

I think they know I am one of them. I often get asked where I am from. I happily tell them.

I am from Toronto but not really…..

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