I have a memory, though I really don't know if it's mine alone.
One of my earliest memories is falling down a flight of stairs, outside. I didn't tumble very far, don't remember any pain or even any fear of my predicament. I remember my dad catching me before I made it to the bottom of the flight, before any injury befell me.
My mother tells me that I can't possibly remember that time, on 5th Avenue. I was only an infant. And yet, more than 52 years later, I remember the sunlight, the warmth of a summer day. I sometimes can smell the painted wood and metal.
I walked 5th Avenue, this summer. I never found the exact building but there was something about those walk-up flats that stirred my heart, made me remember.
I probably never wandered the pathways along the river. My mother doesn't think she took me for any strolls along Boulevard Lasalle, but this summer, DW and I cycled the trail from Verdun to Lasalle, starting at Parc Arthur-Therrien, with a stop at Parc des Rapides.
I never knew this area in the three-and-a-half years that I lived in Montreal, nor in the following years when my parents, sisters, and I returned to visit relatives. This is a part of the city that until this year was foreign to me.
After a stop along the Lachine Rapids, we ventured further south along the pathway that followed the St.Lawrence, until we came to Rue Raymond, when we turned north and crossed over to Boulevard Champlain. There, a bicycle path followed the Canal de l'Aqueduc, back toward Verdun and 5th Avenue.
DW and I were not going to revisit my old street again. Instead, we continued to Galt, to complete the circle and return to the camper van.
"You see that church," I pointed out to DW, as we waited for the light to change at Galt and Wellington, "my grandparents were married there." I remembered my mother telling me this fact, earlier this year.
I still didn't know where my parents were married, where they lived, or where I was born. But only a few short weeks after the ride with DW, not only would I learn all of that, I would see these places with my mom.