Feeling nostalgic, I decided to look up some of the places at which I spent parts of my younger years, using maps and satellite imagery. It turned out to be a huge mistake. I didn't like what I saw.
My maternal grandfather owned a large piece of property in a community known as Lower Saint Mary's, New Brunswick, and had built a two-story Cape Cod style house for his wife and family. As I child I'd spent summer and winter holidays there. I remember there being a 30-foot tall pine tree at the back of the house that my grandfather had planted, which was the resting place for my mother's favourite dog. When Granddad died, my mother reluctantly sold the house and property. The couple who bought it kept it up pretty much as it had been for years.
However, the property must have changed hands again recently. Now the house has a double garage on one side and a large extension in back, covering the area that once had been Granddad's vegetable garden. The pine tree no longer appears to be there.
My late aunt, one of the kindest and wisest people I knew, moved from the city of Toronto to a former farmstead near a tiny village called Erinsville. After renovating the log farmhouse, she lived there for over 25 years. I visited her there many times and became familiar with the animals she kept. When she became too elderly to manage on her own she moved into nearby Tamworth and sold the property to "people who had been kind" to her.
Whoever lives on the property now seems to have been far from kind to the land. The place was almost unrecognizable to me. The original farmhouse is still there but it has been added to, and another house twice its size has been built right next to it. Outbuildings have been moved from their original foundations, and the yard was cluttered with who knows what. Cedar log fences that had once kept the neighbours' cattle away from the house were gone.
My relatives would be rolling in their graves if they knew how their beloved homes were being treated. And my special memories have been sullied.
Change is inevitable, and it's not always good.