There have been close family members living in Montreal since I was born. Since before I was born, actually, since my grandparents immigrated there from Europe in 1958. I personally lived there for a while when I was a teenager during the mid 70s, and when I was there, there were no less than fifteen other family members – immediate and extended, adults and children – in Montreal.
I loved living in Montreal, and after I left, I loved visiting. I went back regularly to visit family, and to explore the city. From 1984 to 2004 I think I did not miss a single year in which I went for a little trip back.
Over the years the number of family members in Montreal started to drop. The old people passed away while the younger ones moved away. My family was actually the first to move – to California in 1977. But eventually all the young families moved. To Toronto, to Ottawa, to New York.
For the last few years, since my grandmother died, the only one left has been my aunt. But she is in her 80s and she just announced that she has sold her house and in March she is moving to Toronto to be close to her daughter. That means that I will, for the first time in my life, have no family in Montreal.
That saddens me because I always felt that Montreal was like a second home for me, and now it won’t be anymore.