After being away from home for 13 years, I've officially made my way back to my roots and hometown, and I could not be happier. Allow me to introduce myself - or reintroduce myself to many people who have known a version of me along the way to finding myself back home after all this time.
My name is Lindsay McLaughlin, and I spent the first 20 years of my life in this area. I attended S.E.P.S. then South Grenville, and then found myself living in Alberta for the last 13 years, starting in northern Alberta in Fort McMurray and eventually finding my way to Calgary, and then Airdrie where I am now relocating from.
My journey home has been an interesting one that started out with me thinking I would not live in this area again. When I moved to Airdrie almost five years ago and bought my first house, I found that small town feel that I was then actually craving and missing that you get here so naturally. I found over time that I just kept finding myself longing for the place I continued to call home throughout my time living in Alberta and started taking steps to making it my reality in the last couple of years.
There have been some hiccups along that path which delayed my return, such as me having thyroid cancer last year and recovery time needed after that, but I found that experience ended up being the final reasoning that made my choice to come home concrete. When I needed support, it was mainly people from this area who came to my rescue and made it so much more obvious that I was missing the charm of my hometown and all of its occupants, and I just knew that returning here would be the final stage in my healing, and I can now say I am officially one year cancer free and finally home. I never thought I'd be so happy about being wrong in my life, but I'm glad that I was able to change my mind on wanting to return to the place I love after all.
When I was young, I didn't appreciate living in a place where you are almost always guaranteed to see someone you know at the grocery store/coffee shop/pharmacy etc., but with some time and wisdom came that change, and when I was home visiting a couple of years ago, a mom from South Ed recognized me and started up a conversation with me in the grocery store. I suddenly felt so at home after searching for that feeling for years, and that began my new love for South Grenville. Looking back now, I think that was the catalyst in bringing me back, and I am so thankful for that experience for showing me what I was missing out on and giving me a whole new perspective on life and what I truly want from my life experience as a whole. I just saw a friend at the grocery store last week who I had not seen in years, and it is a whole new feeling now to be somewhere where everybody knows your name, so to speak.
I have many connections to this area by way of friends and family, some of whom have already passed on such as my grandparents John & Eleanor Tutecky (Piche). Some people may have known my grandfather as an automotive mechanic back in the day or my grandmother for her time spent at the Prescott Legion or lunches at the Wok House with her sisters, children and sometimes grandchildren which included me on occasion. Many of you also would have known Joanne Crack, who wrote weekly for the Journal and was the captain of The Prescott Anchor, a Facebook group where the love of ships continues to be shared today, and who also happens to have been a close family friend and someone who was like another mom to me growing up. I was blessed to have these people in my life for the time that I did, and I feel the burning desire to continue their love for the area myself and share it with others because this is a beautiful place to live and one I am proud to once again officially call home.
Bon Jovi and Jennifer Nettles had it right with their song 'Who says you can't go home?', and listening to it today has a different meaning than when I originally heard it. Things resonate with you when they are meant to, and this is just an example of how it has worked in my life and how even a song can confirm how you feel. If you see me out and about, please feel free to say hello whether I know you yet or not, and thank you for welcoming me back so warmly, South Grenville. I look forward to many adventures and conversations that I have yet to have here, and I'm grateful to also be here sharing it with you in my new column, at home.