Where thousands of Kamloopsians are sharing memories of the River City - InfoNews

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Where thousands of Kamloopsians are sharing memories of the River City

Darryl Abate shared this photo of himself and his sister at the Dolphin Waterslides in Kamloops in 1988.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED / Darryl Abate
April 30, 2020 - 7:30 AM

From stories of infamous streakers to A-list celebrities hanging out in downtown coffee shops and ice cream parlours, memories from Kamloops are being shared by more than 7,500 people spanning multiple generations thanks to a new online group.

David Payne was born in Kamloops and has spent all of his 41 years here. Last week, he started the Facebook group Living and Growing Up in Kamloops in an effort to shift the conversation from COVID-19 and onto nostalgic recollections from the River City.

“At this stage I’ve had 14 concussions playing sports in Kamloops and I do forget a lot of my memories quite easily so taking a walk down memory lane is pretty interesting,” Payne says.

The posts on the group range from the old Woodward’s department store $1.49 days (and the jingle that is still in people's heads) to memories of summer days spent at the now-closed Dolphin Waterslide park to meeting John Travolta in the Summer Dreams ice cream parlour downtown.

Some posts have helped connect friends who haven’t been in touch for decades, and Payne says the connections are one of his favourite things to see. He was reconnected with a friend who had moved away but has also found the group can be bittersweet.

“It’s really this nostalgic feeling where everyone is really happy and they feel really good… but when you let in the good, some of the bad can come in too, because it’s been sad. I’ve found out about some recent deaths but I’d say overall, 99 per cent of it is pretty positive,” Payne says.

The father of two is currently laid off due to COVID-19 and he and his wife are relying on the Canada Emergency Response Benefits. He believes the group has helped him and countless others to focus on positives and connection during this time of isolation.

Payne says the group members have been supportive of one another, with only one or two posts that needed to be removed. He says he will recruit some others to help to screen messages and posts, but also has a pretty big plan for when the pandemic restrictions lift.

“I had two other people post to say I should use this group to set up a reunion, like a party or something where we can bring kids in the day and let the adults hang out after that, and I think that’s something I’m going to work on next.”

Payne has an annual house party of more than 100 friends but says he’ll need to think up something different for the Kamloops reunion. It is in the early planning stages, but Payne says he’ll host the reunion somewhere larger once people can gather again. He aims to gather a committee to find the perfect location for entertainment, food, a beer garden, a slip and slide and more activities.

Payne says he will be accepting donations for the future event on his freshly-launched GoFundMe. Once the event is thrown, any extra proceeds will go to the Kamloops Food Bank.

“This is about everybody in Kamloops coming together and treating everybody with respect and understanding we’re all going through something, but if we all stick together it’s going to be that much better.”

— This story was corrected at 9:10 a.m. April 30, 2020, to correct the number of concussions Payne had suffered.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Jenna Wheeler or call (250) 819-6089 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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