You can’t go back home to your family, back home to your childhood …back home to places in the country, back home to the old forms and systems of things which once seemed everlasting but which are changing all the time – back home to the escapes of Time and Memory. ~Thomas Wolfe
In January I wrote about selling my house and moving into an apartment. I currently live in a small community that’s great for homeowners but lousy for apartment renters. The nice ones are overpriced and/0r not pet-friendly, and the rest are dumps. I came to the conclusion that, after 20+ years of living in the same place, it’s time to go. The question is, where to move to.
And therein lies the rub. After much soul-searching and endless weighing of pros and cons, I decided I want to move back to Windsor, my place of birth. In the eyes of some, moving back to Windsor is the dumbest thing anyone could do. In the eyes of die-hard Windsorites, they wouldn’t want to live anywhere else.
Windsor’s reputation as a tough, gritty city is well-earned. Bordering Detroit and to some extent sharing its blue-collar automotive economy, Windsor is still recovering from the economic downturn of 2008.
In the early days, Windsor was the site of illegal rum-running between the two cities. The Detroit River was the primary means of transport, with the booze either boated across in the warmer months or driven across in the winter.
This common enterprise (illegal as it was) foreshadowed the long and close relationship which still exists between the two cities. When Canadian Ambassador Ken Taylor assisted in the escape of the 11 Iranian hostages in 1979, a huge billboard was erected in Detroit, facing Windsor, just to say thanks. (As an aside, no-one should believe the fairytale that is Argo.)
Windsor and Detroit also celebrate their respective national holiday (Canada Day and Independence Day) by co-sponsoring the International Freedom Festival, which culminates in one of the most spectacular firework displays in North America.
This is starting to sound like a travelogue. I guess that’s what happens when you take a trip down memory lane. I will always have a soft spot in my heart for Windsor. Sorry Thomas–maybe you can go home again.