OPINION: Ship horns, rattling trains are true sounds of home

The Great Lakes freighter Alpena is shrouded in fog as she enters Lake Huron from the St. Clair River. Bruce Langer Photo

Marg Johnson

In so many ways, the Lambton County that I know now as a retired person is not so very different from the Lambton County that formed me.

Back then, Arthur Street in Point Edward was a sheltered place. Our story-and-a-half home was the base for many neighbourhood games of hide & seek, kick-the-can and hockey, but I never really appreciated it until I had children of my own.

I don’t recall taking my children round to hills to toboggan on, or frozen creeks to skate upon, or urging my children to make igloos out of the piles of snow at the bottom of our drive, or throwing chestnuts into leaves piled on the street to be set afire so we could watch the chestnuts explode.

What I recall, rather, is allowing the children to make tents inside, turning my dining room and living room into one huge village under which they ate, played, acted out fighting scenes, hosted birthday parties, read, and slept. The rooms were partitioned off for such purposes by tablecloths, together with a stray blanket for cuddling under for naps.

Daughter Trish frequently ventured over to her friend Andrea’s to play, but by and large the children came to our house.

As a child, I used to lay awake at night and listen to the music from the roller skating rink at Rose Gardens, the gravel from the gravel pit, and the train chugging through town … and oh, those special foggy nights, when I heard the boat horns as they navigated the river.

I took figure skating lessons at the Point Edward Arena and it looks much the same today, just a new coat (or a few, over time) of paint.

Hilliard’s is now an ice cream shop and the post office became a barbershop. The Library moved from the old courthouse, complete with a prison in the basement, to a wonderful new building, and the Edward Street School (which I can still see clearly in my mind’s eye) was torn down and replaced by the bright and shining Bridgeview Public School in the Point.

Yes, there have been some changes over the years. But when I hear the trains at night or listen to those boats calling in the river, I lay awake and smile.

I am back …

Sarnia’s Marg Johnson is a retired Certified Child & Youth Worker who worked with behaviour children as an educational assistant at the York Catholic District School Board.