I’m writing this on Monday, January 15, and earlier this afternoon my parents, Bill and Heather Hacock, popped by the Journal office. It’s hardly an uncommon occurrence; they’ve lived in Ashcroft since 1994, and are frequent droppers-by.
But all that will now change. The reason they dropped by this afternoon was to say that the movers had finished loading everything up, and they were on their way to Penticton, which will now be their home. Apart from the five years I lived in Great Britain in the 1990s, I’ve never not lived in the same town they did; and as the song says, you don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone.
Mom and Dad love Ashcroft. They were introduced to the area in the late 1960s, when Dad was a member of the Junior Chamber of Commerce in Vancouver and became friends with another member, Paul McCrae, who owns property and a cabin up Oregon Jack way, where we frequently stayed when I was young. When Dad retired (more or less) in 1994, he and Mom promptly moved to Ashcroft, where Dad was on council from 1995 to 1998, and Mom quickly found a home with the ladies of the Health Care Auxiliary.
“Anita Webster was my mentor,” says Mom with a laugh. “She said ‘You’re going to come and do the treat cart with me,’ and the people in extended care quickly became my family. I enjoyed doing the cart.”
Neither of them wanted to leave Ashcroft. “There’s some heartache,” says Mom. “There’s been lots of laughter, and people have been very kind and caring towards us.” However, in spring 2015, while on a cruise in the South Pacific, Dad developed pneumonia, had a heart attack, and ended up having bypass surgery and then a defibrillator implant at Queen’s Medical Centre in Honolulu.
They remained in Ashcroft for as long after that as they could; but they finally came to the realization that they needed to be in a town with 24/7 access to health care. Hence the decision—after 24 years—to move to Penticton.
Penticton is a lovely town, I know, and it’s not as if they’ve moved to Great Britain. But the knowledge that they’re not here in Ashcroft anymore—even though it’s only been a few hours since they left—and won’t be dropping by the office anytime soon leaves a little hole in my heart.
I rang them on Monday afternoon, to see how the packing was going, and when I hung up I realized I’d rung their Ashcroft phone number for the last time. I’d been down to see them that morning, and had a look around the house I knew so well, and which was home for several weeks in early 1997, when my husband and mother-in-law and I moved here from Great Britain and had to wait for all our worldly possessions to catch up with us.
It’s also the place where my son stayed several times, and when he came down for Christmas he visited Mom and Dad. “It was weird knowing I’d seen their house for the last time,” he said when he got home.
I know how he feels. It’s the end of an era, and while I know Mom and Dad are only a phone call away, I’ll miss them dearly. Appreciate what—and who—you have; you never know when it, or they, will be gone.