I love learning about history. I especially enjoy learning about the history of the area where we live and have brought up our family. I suppose it shouldn’t come as a surprise then that 35+ years ago (didn’t we look young?), we chose the tiny church at our local historic park for our wedding. (My great gramma had seen a wedding there once during a visit and said she would love to attend one there, I was very happy she was able to attend ours.)
I’m happy to say our grandson shares my love of history and enjoys learning about the history of Alberta on our frequent road trips. He also enjoys attending homeschool days at places like Heritage Park Historical Village (the site of our wedding), and Fort Calgary. He has learned about the beginnings of our city and how hard it was for the first settlers in the area to get through their first winter. He has also learned about the Famous 5 who fought to earn the right to vote for women (he can’t understand why they didn’t always have it.)
Living in the same place where you were born also allows you to share some of your favorite childhood spots with your children and grandchildren. On the top of this list is the Calgary Zoo. I have seen photos of my mom visiting the zoo when she was about 6 years old. Of course the animal enclosures were much different then and, of course, there were no Giant Pandas visiting from China at the time, but even then it was a popular spot for Calgary’s families to visit on a Sunday afternoon, perhaps with a picnic lunch.
I can remember one of our uncles corraling us cousins into the family station wagon and taking us for lunch and a milkshake at another favorite Calgary spot, the Royalite Diner. Although the name has changed to the Blackfoot Truck Stop, the hospitality remains the same.
Sadly, Edna Taylor, the amazing woman who began this restaurant over 60 years ago, passed away in 2011 but her legacy lives on as her daughter and daughter-in-law have taken over the reigns. As many of you know Hubby works for the CPR and the Royalite (or simply Edna’s as many of the older crowd still call it) has been a favorite spot over the years. In fact, Edna’s son worked at the railway with my husband until he retired recently. We still run into him at the diner, chatting with regular customers and making sure the model trains are running for the kids who love to watch.
The menu hasn’t changed much over the years (or at least I can’t remember it being different) and they still serve one of the best hot turkey sandwiches around. Soup of the day still comes with a thick slice of homemade bread and all of the dinners and daily specials come with jello, ice cream, or daily items like Hubby’s favorite rice pudding. The diner is also known for its mile-high Flapper Pie (the meringue is huge on this yummy custard pie that is popular in the prairies.
Whenever we ask EJ where he’s like to go for breakfast he’s sure to say the truck stop where he can see his trains (and get his standard order of two grilled cheese sandwiches, no fries, just the way he likes it!)
Yes, it’s nice to have strong roots and memories. I love being able to add to my memories as I share my hometown with my daughters and grandsons. I’ve even shared the church where I got married with one of them! We shared a lot of memories of that day so long ago as her dad helped our youngest daughter manage her gown on the way into that same tiny little church. Isn’t history a wonderful thing!?