Monday, September 5, 2011

Montreal- What Could Have Been

Montreal - what could have been?  
Being in Montreal brought back a flood of memories of past trips to this Canadian city.
My first visit was in 1967 to expo 67 with camp. As we visited the biosphere on ile saint Helene I remembered that trip many years ago. Seeing the biosphere, the habitat, and the balance of Montreal's worlds fair was such a fun trip for me as a 9 year old. My next visit to Montreal was at about 14 traveling in a pop tent trailer with my aunt and uncle and 2 cousins. We went to Quebec city, trois-rivers ( where the highlight of the visit was watching the men at the campgrounds chase the women and mark them up with charcoal and throw them in the river), Ontario- I remember going to Lake Ontario Park  and we spent 1 night in Montreal on Rue Sainte Catherine in a hotel ( we must  have parked the camper). I remember eating coq au vin in what seemed like a very fancy restaurant. Our time in Montreal was short but I liked it. My next visit probably had the most impact on my life. My first choice of colleges ( and the only one I did not get into) was McGill university located in downtown Montreal. I remember well and will never forget finding my parents after my tour and being asked by my dad what the name of the person I met with was. I responded that "I did not know". He immediately pulled over to the nearest pay phone (this was way before cell phones) and insisted I call and find out the name of the person with whom I met. Of course I could not have been any more embarrassed but I rarely forget to ask to whom i am speaking now. Being in Montreal this week just as college students began to arrive made me very melancholy. Many families staying in our hotel were there to drop their kids off to begin their college career at McGill. It made me think that could have been me so many years ago. It made me wonder if how different my life would have been had I gone to a college in an international city, probably becoming fluent in French and picking up some of French lifestyle influences vs. the rural life that I learned at Hampshire college in Amherst, Mass. 
My experience in Amherst was wonderful and diverse- being part of the 5 college consortium with Smith, Umass, Mt. Holyoke and Amherst. It offerred me so many opportunitites and since Hampshire was a "hippy" school I learned how to be an entrepreneur and have my own business. Still I wondered while there- what might have been

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