Saturday, July 2, 2016

The Sherlan

Fifty years ago I moved from my marriage home in Surrey to a small apartment in Vancouver's West End.  I was 21 years old and desperate for freedom from the restraints of an ill-suited marriage.

The Sherlan Apartments at 1918 Haro Street

This morning I went on a discovery walk to see if the apartment building was still standing. Although it was only my home for 3 months, I remember the layout and the people who visited me there. It is shabbier than the neighbouring properties and will probably be torn down in the next few years, replaced by a high rise with elevators and modern appliances.

I didn't arrive with many possessions fifty years ago but I had high hopes and dreams for my future. BC Hydro, where I was employed as a Draftsperson, offered a good income and the Vancouver School of Art was within walking distance for painting & drawing classes. It was my first attempt at independence.

Not long after I moved into the apartment and told my parents of the separation from my husband, they announced that my father had been elected as President of the Canadian Postal Workers Union. They would be moving to Ottawa in the Fall and asked if I would move into their house during a three year absence. Reluctantly, I gave up my downtown freedom and moved into my childhood home. My grandfather was a tenant in the basement suite. The neighbours, who had seen me grow up, monitored my comings and goings. It wasn't the same!

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