When I lived in Sarcee
Year twelve for me was a year of yet more transition. We moved across Canada. Basically, I lived in two homes, in two different cities and provinces, the year I turned twelve. Most military homes were cookie cutter similar. Inexpensive government built row houses, three or four bedrooms upstairs, open concept kitchen, dining and living rooms down stairs and a cement floor basement. The only real difference was the specific layout. One house would have everything on the right side of the front door, the next one would have everything to the left side of the door. The rooms were all painted off-white beige with an eggshell finish. Boring. So boring in fact, when my father left the military and my parents moved into their own home, I insisted no room be off-white, each room had to be painted a different colour.
No matter where I travel, I can recognize a military home whether it be a row house or not.
In Calgary we lived On Base. A completely separate environment from Civi Street. We had our own stores, barber shops, beauty shops, Churches, rec centres, schools and of course bars called messes. There was no reason to leave the base for anything, including socialization, all our friends were families of soldiers and lived within walking distance, inside the carefully structured military community.
Everyone who lived in Sarcee had a 12 ft. raised fence enclosing an area, approx. 15 ft. x 15 ft., located in the back of the house, off of the parking lot. We called this the bull pen. In winter it would be flooded. A place to skate when we couldn’t go to the skating rink. In the summer this is where my parents would BBQ or entertain. The stoop was out in front, overlooking the common lawn, no one used the front door to drop by for a visit everyone used the back door.
In addition to the amenities, we had exclusive access to an area that is now called the Weaslehead Flats, a natural environmental park. At the time this was our outdoor play area. Grasslands, woodlands, the Glenmore Reservoir, the Elbow River, pretty much where ever we wanted to go and do whatever we wanted to do. The only rule, we had to stay away from the training areas. There we could pick up unexploded munitions and die.
Not much changed when we first moved to Toronto. We lived as part of the city, however, accessed what we needed by going to the base, a 2 minute drive away. That is another story.
Cheryle April 2015