Small town business owner of Keith’s Restaurant, Vilma, compiled a series of (short) stories written by Fonthill locals upon her request. She sweetly asked me nearly seven years ago if I would contribute. And contribute I did. June, 2009:
Our home at the time was a bungalow style house: one floor, flat roof and quite sprawling. The walls were made of thick concrete and covered with white stucco. We had a ten foot exterior wall that surrounded the house for privacy. This was typical, with probably about a six foot wide area between our house and the outer wall for shrubbery and a path to walk (and cats. Lots of cats to hide). There was a larger space for keeping our cars—a tiled parking/driveway to the left of the main entrance housed one or two of the vehicles we had, while my favourite, a 1994 blue-green Suburban that we took for many excursions into the vast Arabian desert, rested just outside our gated home on the street. Our home had beautiful, cool-to-the-touch burnt orange tiles that were covered with a variety of Persian and Arabian carpets and (Bedouin) furnishings – on the walls, on the floor, tables and furniture.
The house was lit very brightly and naturally from the outdoor sun via the many windows. The largest and most central part of the open concept house had six consecutive windows each about five feet wide that reached all the way from the floor to the very high ceiling and looked out to the small garden, barbecue pit, and our pool. Every room of the house had air conditioning vents located at the top of the wall, near the ceiling, that at times, if you were paying attention, would expose cute little geckos. Molly was once caught with a tail sticking out of her mouth. A gecko tail.
My room was a decent size and had a lot of space for storing my toy collection (Barbies, Quints, Polly Pockets, Trolls, Pound Puppies, Cupcake Dolls, Littlest Pet Shop, a Fisher Price stacked oven set I used for storing my Play-Do, etc., etc.). My room had double glass doors that were difficult to access due to Barbie’s very pink and triangular summer home blocking them. They opened up to our small garden of waxy grass and random flora, with our frequently used kidney shaped pool. This pool was jumped into EVERY day, probably around 2:00 p.m. on weekdays when Armando brought us home from school. I was most definitely a prune for most of my childhood.
This house of ours was set in a very interesting neighbourhood. It sat on the left corner of a T-intersection, where the horizontal part of the “T” consisted of a row of fairly humble looking apartments and the vertical part had a larger house or two with similar surrounding privacy walls. Behind our house was a tall unfinished apartment building which I was aware of because I recall my annoyed mother saying that the people working there could look into our yard and therefore watch us swim. So much for privacy walls. To the left, if facing it, was a vacant unused lot, filled with all sorts of garbage, sand, and mangy, probably diseased, wailing cats. Cats my cats probably associated with. Contrasting this image was what lied at the end of our street. If you stepped outside of our enclosed house and looked to the right, there before you would be a very real and very expansive (it took up several city blocks) Saudi Arabian Palace. Saudi seems to thrive on juxtapositions; the poor versus the wealthy, the ugly versus the beautiful, the sand versus the marble… Prince Abdul-Aziz bin Fahd bin Abdul-Aziz and his uncle, Sultan bin Abdul-Aziz, the Minister of Defense and the Crown Prince, resided there (or so I think). At 10-years old I didn’t care one bit.
To be continued…