Saturday, May 27, 2023

Halifax, Day Three, feels like Week Three

The conference was triumphant, though today was so beautiful — until now, it's been really cold and drizzly — I played hookey and rode Norrey's bike around town, to the Public Gardens, the gorgeous new library, and Point Pleasant Park. Riding a bike around Halifax for the first time since 1960. 

Too much to say, too tired to say it. Pictures instead, for now.

Last night, walked down to the Arm, and there was the Waeg, the boating/tennis/sailing club we were not allowed to join in the late fifties because Dad was Jewish. I wanted to take a look, but there was a gatekeeper who told me, Sorry, this club is for members only. Excluded again! However, the gatekeeper was a young black woman, so things have changed.
The Halifax Public Gardens is one of the oldest public gardens in North America. It's stunning — serene, full of colour. My mother used to take me there in my pram when I was a baby. 
Behind the bandstand is a little house which used to sell ice cream cones. I loved that place. A groundskeeper told me it was recently attacked and burned twice by arson, and the same people also slashed some of the trees with axes. Incomprehensible. 
The new library is a glorious celebration of books, reading, light, and community — people everywhere, many young people using computers, lots of comfortable chairs, just an amazing and welcoming space
There was a children's violin recital in a performance space at the back
Could not help it, looked myself up — and my first memoir All My Loving is in the system! It's the one with the most Halifax. 
One of the reading lounges. 
The green and pink cover on the bottom - MINE. Next to Thomas King. 
There's even a window where you can watch the staff sorting books for reshelving. 
From there down to Point Pleasant Park where I used sometimes to spend the whole day riding my bike by myself or with my friend Penny
And then back to the conference, which was terrific. Here are some of my peeps, the row of shining white heads. There were lots of young people with us, however. 

So much to process, the workshops and seminars and lectures, the bath in nostalgia and memory. Today, again, riding past the places I lived for years of my young life. When people ask me where I'm from, I always say, Cabbagetown, because I don't feel rooted anywhere else. But I found out, this trip, I'm also, definitely, from Halifax. 

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