Connecting with social media

Facebook page connects Summerland'ers near and far

Most of us have memories of the town we grew up in. Some of us are lucky enough to have grown up in Summerland.

Rick Selinger was one such person. Because of this he was inspired to start a Facebook page called Summerland BC-Hometown Memories. Selinger moved to Summerland in 1968 as a very young child.

“My first consistent memories begin with me riding in the back seat of a car, being transported from a foster home in Westbank to Summerland, where the Selinger family took me in,” he said.

Selinger moved to the Lower Mainland in the early 1990’s and did not visit again until the new millennium.

“People that get disconnected from the towns in which they grew up, are prone to idealizing and sometimes even mythologizing their memories of their home town. I certainly found myself doing this the longer I was away,” he explained.

One day as he and his wife looked through some old family slides, he caught sight of the old college building in the background of the picture.

“The sight of it instilled in me a very strange, ghostly feeling. It was like a long forgotten spectre haunting the photograph and awakening long dormant neural pathways in my mind,” he said. “For me the old “house on the hill” was a powerful symbol of a time and a version of Summerland that no longer exists.”

Seeing this long forgotten image motivated Selinger to search the internet for more photos of Summerland from the era in which he had grown up. He found there was very little available.

“I decided to try to create a group where people could share photos of Summerland as it used to be and discuss the images and “old times” amongst each other,” he said.

Selinger has certainly achieved his goal. The Facebook group he has started has over 1,100 members, made up of people who currently live in Summerland, or who have lived here at some point in their lives.

It is ultimately those members who drive the site.

“The group is now pretty much self-perpetuating and could easily exist without me,” said Selinger.

Of course as with most things, there is always room for improvement.

What Selinger would like to see now, is for more of the old time residents of Summerland to join the site. He said that this is important because these residents have the extensive knowledge of the community and are able to answer questions about how things once were and thus help bridge the gap between the old Summerland and the new.

For Selinger, creating this site has been primarily a labour of love.

“I think my background as a foster child instilled in me a desire to answer questions about my past and this is just a continuation of that tendency,” he explained.

Having a degree in history himself, Selinger believes history has to be “personally relevant” to be interesting.

“The more history breathes and communicates with the individuals own life and experiences, the more popular it will be. I think the Hometown Memories site goes a long way towards achieving this ideal,” he said. “Summerland has thousands of photos and stories swirling around out there and our hope is to try and net as much of that as possible before it is gone forever.”

Do you have any home town memories to share? If so why not join this Facebook group today?