Over the years I’ve come to realize how I lacked the nuances of what fortunate others considered ‘home’. For me, home was wherever I was able to lay my head, bonus if family were a comfort addition. Looking back, not only of the distant past phases, but also the not too distant past phases.



1a. James Early Phase '49

After arriving



In the distant past phases we were, family of three consisting of mother and two children, a transient group living in numerous locales which began a restlessness conditioning I was only to discover in my thirties when I could not settle in one place for too long. I simply had to relocate for no apparent reason save an unsettled feeling. During that first phase of my life I remembered brief, one-night, and lengthy, possibly a year or two, home stays. What made these relocations an after-thought, if any, was the fact that we were always together, a tight family unit whatever the living conditions. In each of these places/spaces were memorable experiences of which I can recall as they left indelible images and sensations within. Oh, they were numerous!



2. Early Walking phase

At play



Then came the unforeseen phase of a five-year separation which saw us, the siblings, in three unknown and unprepared for locales over a four year period. Didn’t do my asthma/bed-wetting much good so I simply endured their assaults as best I could as I progressed within Time. There was a fourth relocation which saw us at relatives while I experienced Form Two in my birth country’s school system, at twelve years old. I recall each new location with clear remembrance of incidents that were wonders as I tended to wander into unknown many unknown places/spaces and wonder at their goings on, all of which I could not find if I tried, even with a map. I often reflect upon the haphazardness and randomness of these finds, especially doubting I could ever find them again!




5. About 1yr Later

Another home




All these relocation, accommodated due to our age and civil living conditions, were simply went with the flow being in the charge of a guardian who called the shots until our fourth relocation to our patriarchal grandparent’s home.┬áThen, out of nowhere as we were getting accustomed and unaccustomed to our family environment, we were informed we were about to relocate, but this time with a decided difference. This was a relocation for which much had been sacrificed of which few, if any, would ever consider doing. The decision was made five years prior, and now it was time! It couldn’t have been more well timed as I had already been slipping into an abyss of unknown consequences.



Another Turning Point

Another Turning Point



This bigger phase was our emigration to another continent, North America, one I distinctly remembered not being covered previously in my schooling up to this point in Time. After many memories/experiences, this was but another adventure into an unknown for which my mind/consciousness was unaware, and rightly so. This was the phase where we’d reunite with our matriarch and begin anew, resume, our family bonding. It was going to take some time, since we’d been separated from ages 6/8 to 11/13, without the nurturing many have taken for granted during those formative years. Since our separation, I was unaware that such a thing was a necessity, and I have come to understand its benefits from its lacking in our lives, to a lesser and greater degree. The emigration phase saw a new set of relocations for reasons of survival both physical and psychological.



In transit

In transit



We arrived at a location identified as The Annex unknown to us, of course, but the street name was memorable, being the first place upon landing on new soil. Euclid Avenue, it was known, and memorable for its historic meaning not lost on me even now. This was not to last and we relocated to Palmerston Avenue, but not for long as our mother discovered this new home, basement apartment, had a low ceiling of which she was unaware being shorter than I and I had begun my pubescent growth spurt. Due to social conditions being slightly more pronounced than in our birth country, residents were leased without us being present. The reason for this were were not to realize, at least I didn’t, until much later. So, we relocated to Brunswick Avenue for a spell, then to Markham street where we resided for about two years, long enough to develop a sense of community through friendships and a variety of our own experiences, as was always the case.


Then came another relocation, this time to Rushton Road but was to give way to moving northward to Bathurst and Ava Streets whereupon I received permission to complete my final high school year. If your were keeping track you’d notice we were now in the sixth location in as many years in this country. Life goes on. It was now my turn to take this transience to another level. This next phase coincided with my post-education experiences, which saw me relocating to two locations while attempting to study in Windsor, Ontario. That lasted a year and I returned to yet a new family home, this time on Carmichael Avenue incorporating family status changes to which I was to adapt. I reside in the finished basement apartment until I could get back on my feet after a dismal first attempt at post-secondary life. Still, it was an experience of experiences money cannot buy. I was still crawling out of the psychological abyss I’d slipped into while growing up in my birth country. We all had our psychological developmental issues incurred by earlier times, and we endured and grew while developing our family bond amidst changing conditions.



York U  '74/'75

York U ’74/’75



I relocated back to Windsor after two years at Carmichael with its numerous life changing experiences, using it as a home base when not in Windsor. I transferred back to Toronto to complete my studies and, in my final year, relocated to High Park area with a room-mate on Fermanagh Ave, at Roncesvalles. That lasted about a year then I moved to a bachelor unit near Queen’s Park on Gloucester Avenue. The year was 1976 and I was slated for another adventure quitting my job, giving up my bachelor apartment and flying off to Europe for a martial arts once in a lifetime experience returning for another stint at post-secondary education. This time, Teacher’s College, FEUT, and living in its Tartu Residence. Even in Tartu experiences abounded in and out of schooling with part-time jobs, martial arts training and competition. All was right with the world, my world, where interferences and oppositions were accommodated in stride as I carried on noting the grander scheme of things on which I made little impact.



Germany-Greece-France-Holland-Germany  '76

Germany-Greece-France-Holland-Germany ’76



While I approached the end-of-term at FEUT I was blindsided by a relocation request by a loved one. I simply went with it, still unaware of the ‘transient’ conditioning of old. We all were to some extent, but for me it was a synchronized conditioning which some were able to intuit and obtain what they considered mutual benefits. Alas, it was not; still, everything in its own time! I was now to relocate back up to Carmichael, but it was not to last. One year later I would be forced to relocate to Dunblaine and Bathurst Streets and, in spite of numerous transient inkling’s, I remained there for ten years, to my surprise! Alas, during one of my numerous inkling’s another loving, mutually beneficial request was made to which I assented and relocated to Bathurst and Centre Streets, an area called Rosedale North, wouldn’t you know it? It wasn’t to be as mutually beneficial as promised, as other factors ensued and I became disgruntled and relocated to Bathurst and Finch Avenue W after two years. I was now teaching in another school, one I’d not been placed in as previous schools, unexpected because I’d made the effort to get in there on my own. This new habitat appeared to be working well, until my auto was broken into twice in two weeks signalling another need-to-relocate inkling.



Room with a view

Room with a view



This transit location was below where I expected to live, in spite of being labelled by many, a downtown person. Much has been experienced in this space since arriving in 1997, most of which have been contentious, to say the least. What’s taken place has kept me stationary, all to my surprise regardless of periodic motion-inklings. The lessons learned while maturing have revealed what I’m now revealing, and may be making the difference.┬áThis home, so far, has been my longest tenure, not for the want of trying to relocate. This time, maybe, it’ll be a more conscientious process instead of the previous anxiety-driven move. One cannily hope.

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