Saturday, August 22, 2009

She's gone

and I knew that it was going to happen, but it still seems surreal. Edith has been torn down along with her "sister", Edwina (the old house next door). We lived in Edith for nearly a year and spent our last night in her, July 1st. Now all that remains of either old house is a quickly disappearing pile of rubble.

This is the front of Edith, as you walk towards the front door (which is just past the brick archway - hidden by tree branches in this photo). The window on the top right is where I had my sewing space and the spot where those annoying pigeons had nested.

Heavy equipment loading up the remains of those two houses, Edith & Edwina.

Edwina - the beautiful old house that Edith was a neighbour to.
Above is a shot of Edwina, the house that stood to the left of Edith. Both houses were about one hundred years old and I liked to think of them as sisters. ;o) The craftsmanship that went into these grand old girls was impressive and makes me wish I had seen them in the better days of their youth.

View of downtown Calgary, as seen from the second floor of Edith.

This is a view of downtown from the second story window of Edith. It was from this window that I watched fireworks on July 1st. Somehow, watching the fireworks display on our last night in Edith, seemed fitting.

Here's the east side of Edith. My favourite windows were located on this side of her. The windows on the landing of the second floor staircase were my favourite windows because they opened inwards to let in fresh air and marvelous light throughout the day. I used to sit on the stairs just to look out these lovely old windows.
Right next to this side of the house, is a strip of city owned land, with a paved path and many trees. Even though there is a city sidewalk running alongside this small "park", many people chose to use the paved pathway through the trees. I would see children use it on their way home from school. Business types on their way home from work would also pass by on this path. The path through the trees was also a favourite with dog walkers and joggers.

The paved path is still there, along with the trees as you can see in the bottom right corner of this recent photo.

This photo shows the view of that sidewalk and the paved path through the trees from inside Edith on her second story.

It seems strange to see those trees without Edith in the background. Stranger yet to comprehend that I once lived in that old house and now there's no evidence of her existence, except rubble.

I realize I'm waxing a bit nostalgic. Edith was by no means a perfect house and I'm not trying to idealize her. My memories of her will always be a bit mixed because of all that happened in our lives during our time living in her. It was a challenging year for my family and Edith did add to some of the challenges. Yet, she was also a haven for us, a place where we learned more about strength, character and love. She sheltered us, the best she could, and despite some of the inconveniences she provided, I'm glad we had the experience of living in her. I knew that the day I left her, I would not see her standing again. I walked through each room and said my good-byes and told her that I was grateful for my time in her. She's gone, but the lessons I learned while living in Edith remain and are shaping my future.


  1. I don't think it is nostalgia. I have lived through this sort of a feeling because a town that most of the happiest of my childhood memories come from is under a couple of meters of ash from a volcano. My school, church, shops, homes, absolutely all my memories are in places that can never be revisited. It is probably the same for you and Edith. The tangibility, the reality of those days is lost - almost as if it never happened. For me it was a grief that took time to heal. I hope you come to terms with it better than I did. Cherrie

  2. I loved your photos and story. Isn't funny that something old, flawed and not quite perfect could give such wonderful memories and shelter.
    I hate to see such wonderful workmanship of that era just torn down. I can understand your nostalgia. So glad you have your memories and photos.

  3. I feel kinda sad...I know she wasn't the easiest place to live in, but at the same time I can't help think of all her walls had seen over the years. I know people say houses are just buildings, but it's the families that live in them that make them a home and that's something special. At least you have your best memories of her and how she was a home to you and not just a house.

    BTW did they reclaim anything from her before they tore her down? Did you sneak any out? And what's going in their place?

  4. As we've discussed, I know exactly what you mean about old houses of "character". Sad that Edith is gone... but great that you face an exciting new future with new strength.

  5. as i read i was wondering about what jane said too...did they salvage anything from her? i'm sure there were floors and molding and doors that would have been wonderful salvage. did you take a piece of her with you? i think i would have.

  6. What a heartfelt tribute to Edith. They just don't make them like her anymore. I know you will cherish your memories of her - whether good or bad!

  7. It always makes me sad when I hear about old places like this being torn down. I do hope that they salvaged as much of her as they could before she was torn down.

    The house I lived in as a teen, after my family moved out, stood vacant for many years until the owners decided that she wasn't worth fixing and offered her to the local fire department to use in a training exercise. It was so very strange to drive by and see that empty spot on the hill. It still bothers me to think about it.

  8. ohhhh this makes me a little sad but also makes me think about our decision to move. We will be putting the house on the market soon and I will miss it terribly, this is where we became a "we". But we need to grow somewhere else not here. I will miss my no named house once we are gone.


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