Ancestral Roofs

"In Praise of Older Buildings"

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Travel is so Broadening

Our grandma Pierce was very fond of Sinclair Lewis
short stories. I thought of her last week, when I had the opportunity to spend an hour in Union Station, paying attention, not to the people (fascinating) or the VIA schedule (on-time), but to the astounding architecture of the place. Architecture which, in the course of 10,000 travellers making their way through this space, gets the attention it deserves only rarely.

Our grandmother who always wanted to be a lady would have had few opportunities to leave the farm, with 4 little kids and no end of work to which she must have felt was a bit beneath her. Her sister recalls Ola considering herself quite a lady, an unforgiveable affectation on a poor Prince Edward county farm around the turn of the last century.

Ola outside Belleville train station

Grandmother finally got her chance to travel. In the late 40's she visited Toronto, alone, to attend the wedding of her daughter, who had gone to the big city and made a good match. Grandma lived vicariously through her only girl-child. The daughter who gave her the chance to get to the city, just that once.

"They can say what they want to. Some people claim that reading books is the greatest cultural influence, and still others maintain that you can get the most in the quickest split-second time by listening to lectures but what I always say it, 'there is nothing more broadening than travel'".

From Travel is So Broadening in 'The Man Who Knew Coolidge', Sinclair Lewis (1928)

1 comment:

  1. Wow. "Just that once." Thank you for a post that paints a complete picture in a very few words of your grandma, Lindi. And thank you for that wonderful photo of her at the great old Belleville train station. Are you as horrified as I am at what has recently become of that building?