I finished Grade 12 in January 1977 and got a full-time job right away in a steak & pizza joint in Regina. By fall, Mom and Dad were suggesting I go to university; might as well be working toward something, they figured.
Moving to Saskatoon with a roommate, who is still there, I started classes at the University of Saskatchewan while she pounded the pavement looking for a job. She got one that she stayed at for quite a few years. I was an immature git who didn’t attend a lot of classes because she was awake all night, either due to insomnia (probably caused by coffee and chocolate fudge overdoses) and partying into the wee hours after her part-time job (serving tables in a restaurant). When classes were done for the year, I volunteered for Katimavik. In July I got on a plane and, later that day, found myself in Kedgwick, New Brunswick.
Katimavik groups were made up of 30 kids between 17 and 21. We were immediately divided into 3 households of 10. Food and living quarters were provided. My group was dropped off at a house four miles from the town; we became the Quatre-Mille group. Those who stayed in a big old warehouse in Kedgwick were the Chateau group, and the third group, whose digs were an old farmhouse by the Restigouche River 12 miles from town, were the Farm group. We still place each other in those groups when mentioning Katimavik.
Each smaller group took a rotation at each of these residences for one month; the group as a whole stayed in each community (from Kedgwick we went on to Carlyle, Sask., and then Gold Bridge, BC) for three months. All three groups met daily and worked together at various projects in the community and for meetings and social functions, but every night we all went “home” to our own place, where we made supper and hung around together or with local people we met. Lifelong friendships were formed.
The boys shared a bedroom, and the girls shared a bedroom. Each smaller group also had a group leader who stayed in the house, and the large group as a whole had a project coordinator from the community, one who liased between the Katimavikers and the non-profits we were toiling for. (Toiling! Ha Ha. I don’t recall doing an honest day’s work the whole time.)
Anyway, in the Quatre-Mille group were two girls, Cathy and Shelly, who would become sisters to me. To us the boys are like brothers. And one of those boys, out of touch for the past 11 years, joined Facebook Messenger this morning and made my day.
Somewhere I have photos of that boy back in the day, and next time I run across them … but for now you’ll have to settle for this, which some of you will have seen before:
Shelly on the left, Cathy on the right. This was taken as Shelly and I were leaving Cathy’s last time we girls were together.
WiseWebWoman: Anything for you, dear. Ask and ye shall receive! I went out and took some pictures of the swing area. Now just have to get them off my phone.