Saturday, June 30, 2012

Niagara Falls, Ontario, by Margaret Ullrich, part 6, Transplanting


Another hot day.
The neighborhood is pretty quiet.
Some folks have gone away for the holiday weekend.
Others, after doing chores in the morning, are staying indoors, like us.

This has been a strange summer.
Dry Monday to Friday, rain during the weekends.
Not good if you've been looking forward to weekends as a time to relax.

Holiday weekends come with such high expectations.
There are so many commercials and ads showing people having so much fun they're nearly delirious.
The food is fantastic!  
The fireworks are unbelieveable!
The family and friends are so happy to be together!! 
It's almost guaranteed there'll be disappointments.


Forty years ago it was a Friday and drizzling.
We were on the last leg of  the New York part of the trip.
Upstate New York still had a few surprises for us.
We saw an actual covered wagon.
It had gotten stuck in the mud and had to be pushed out.
No, the AAA couldn't help them.

In Genesee County we stopped in Batavia for a burger.
We met a fellow, about our age, who had never bought a burger before.
He kept asking the waitress how much everything was, then shaking his head.
He explained he was a farmer, and that this was his first time in a big city.
Batavia.
First the covered wagon, now this fellow who belonged in Little House on the Prairies.
We were beginning to wonder if we were doing some kind of time traveling.


The roads were bumpy.
The car was leaking antifreeze.
Paul figured the cap had been shakened loose.
Nothing to do but keep driving.
We finally reached Buffalo at 2:30 pm.
At a gas station Paul was told where the nearest repair shop was.
We drove three miles, past huge gas storage tanks and power lines.
We'd never seen power lines like that before.
They looked like invaders from Mars.
Finally, the shop.
A quickie patch up was all he could offer.

We were back on the road.
We were on our way to Canada.
We could actually see Niagara Falls.

This was the point where we, as immigrants, were entering our new country.
I know how in movies like The Godfather, the violins come on strong as the immigrants look to the new land, expressions of hope and fear racing over their faces.
I'd like to say we had a Kodak moment like that.
Nope.  Didn't happen.
We were tired.
We were hungry.
We were wondering if there was a bathroom at the border.

The border guards were pretty busy and they just waved us through to Ontario.
This was 1972, and they could see we were just another newlywed couple.
We were over 21, so we weren't going to Ontario to take advantage of the fact that their legal drinking age was 19. 
Why else would we be going there?
Why indeed?


In 1972 Niagara Falls was as cheesy as Manhattan's Times Square.
The wax museums and tacky souvenir shops were a joke.
Maybe if we were hot and horny, straight from our wedding, we'd have loved it.
I don't think so.
We'd honeymooned in a quiet Colonial-style bungalow in the Poconos.
We'd been married almost three months.
If we'd wanted this kind of crap, we'd have gone to Times Square.

Fortunately the Niagara Colonial Campground was more to our taste.
Mr. and Mrs. Brine were very helpful.
After chuckling at Paul's reaction to the funny colourful money we'd received as change, they told us where we could exchange our money and have our car checked over.
They also told us July 1 was a Canadian holiday.

After supper we watched our usual Friday night television shows, including a re-run of The Partners.
We enjoyed watching Don Adams and Rupert Cross as bumbling detectives.


It was another holiday weekend.
We were in a new country.
Canada had some different things, like the money.
But there were some familiar things, like Don Adams.

Another holiday weekend.
No big deal.  
We'd get through it.

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