In May of 1980, I was at home in Pointe Claire after my first year at Acadia University. I wasn’t quite sure what I would do for a summer job. My sister lived in Edmonton, Alberta at the time, and offered to use her connections in Jasper (a small town in the Canadian Rockies) to find me a job. As luck would have it, a friend of hers needed someone to work at her candy store “The Candy Bear”. Always up for an adventure, and having no other options, I took her up on it.
I travelled to Edmonton and hung out for a week before heading to Jasper. My sister decided to join me. While she was job hunting for me, she found a job at a restaurant as a waitress in Jasper.
When we arrived in Jasper, we decided to hit the town and party on the first night. We somehow ended up standing in some long line up waiting to get into some bar, somewhere for a very long time.
I was somewhat bored and yet excited at the same time. While standing in line, I got talking to the young fellas in the line up behind me. We bonded, and before I knew it I was invited to a party with my new friends.
My sister and I consulted on the matter, and we made the decision that she should keep our one and only room key. (We were renting a room in the basement of a house, and for some reason only had one key.) The house had three basement bedrooms out on rental. My sister told me that she would not be staying out late, so I should go to the party and she would see me at home.
“Where do I live?” I asked her as I shuffled out of the bar. “804 with the yellow door.” she replied. It was a house on Connaught Street. I recited over and over to myself “I cannot (Connaught) remember where I live, 804 with the yellow door….”
The party was okay, it was a bunch of guys who worked for the railway. Someone was kind enough to drive me home at about midnight. I found 804 with the yellow door and made my way to my downstairs apartment.
Tap tap tap (no answer) …..knock knock knock (no answer)…..bang bang bang (no answer). Oh oh! My sister wasn’t home!
So….I waited. I had to start my job the next day, so I was getting anxious. But I had no choice, I had to wait.
I decided to sit down and wait outside the door. Eventually a very pretty young girl came downstairs and introduced herself. She was my new neighbour. I explained how I was locked out, and how I was waiting for my sister, and also that I had to work in the morning. Marilyn was very nice, she loaned me a sleeping bag and an alarm clock, and she called it a night.
I curled up in the sleeping bag and fell asleep outside the door of my room on the floor. I had Marilyn’s alarm clock ticking in front of my face.
At about 4:30 in the morning, my sister landed at 804 with the yellow door. She felt pretty bad when she saw little sis curled up on the floor, with the alarm clock. That’s how the summer of 1980 started.
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