I am a compulsive archiver of personal records: I still have the paper copy of every phone bill, oil bill and credit card bill I’ve ever received. I should stick them all in a digital repository somewhere to reduce clutter, but for now they’re all sitting in the filing cabinet beside the desk where I type these words.
In the file marked “MasterCard” is my Credit Union MasterCard statement from March 25, 1993, the statement that chronicles my journey, 21 years ago this week, from Peterborough, Ontario to Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island to start my job at the PEI Crafts Council:
I made the journey in my trusty, rusty 1978 Ford F100 pickup truck, accompanied by my friend Simon, who was driving his mother’s old Chevette. In lieu of a diary of the day I’m left to derive the play-by-play from that credit card statement.
I know that we started off by driving from Peterborough down to Napanee where I said my goodbyes to Catherine and her parents – she was to follow along a month later by air.
Our first stop of note on the journey east was at a hotel outside of Rivière-du-Loup – that’s the “Esso 80 Rue Principal” in Saint-Antonin – where I was felled by a 24 hour flu. That’s why we only made it, the next day, as far as Fredericton and the Howard Johnson.
The next day we landed in Charlottetown and set up camp at the Queens Arms Motel – now the Econo Lodge and I set off to find a place for us to live, eventually finding my way to an apartment at 50 Great George Street.
While moving in to that apartment I managed to back my pickup truck into the house next door, cutting off their telephone service and introducing me to my neighbours, all of whom emerged, as if by magic, to help me get un-stuck.
By March 12 there was more than a meter of snow on the ground, the U-Haul trailer I was towing behind my truck was returned and paid for, and I was installed in PEI, hunkered down in our tiny apartment eating potato chips and watching TV on my Great Aunt Lena’s old television set. I started work on March 15th and we’ve been here ever since.
The next time I used my credit card was on June 23, to pay for a subscription to Wired magazine that had started publication that January.