Happy 150th Canada

July 1, 2017 at 6:15 am (Life, Memoir) (, , , , , , , , , , )

I first realized that Canada was a country and that I was Canadian when I was seven years old.

That was in 1967. Canada was turning 100. I was seven and in First Grade and my older sister, who was eleven, really wanted to go to Expo ’67 in Montreal. She was threatening to hitch-hike. (Spoiler Alert) – She didn’t get to go – She was, after all, only eleven and we were very poor!

Country was a new interesting concept. I knew where I lived. A certain small town in Saskatchewan. I vaguely knew where my province was though I did not yet remember being outside of it. And, of course, we sang O Canada in school and I knew that the song referred to something bigger than my province.

But 1967 was the year I figured out Canada belonged to me. The abundance of celebrations, both inside and outside of school, said come, enjoy, you belong here! Canada was mine!

The next time I felt that Canada was explicitly mine was when I was first old enough to vote. Pierre Elliot Trudeau was running for Prime Minister and I was graduating from high school and becoming a full fledged adult. I had a responsibility, as a Canadian adult, to cast my vote in this very sexy and exciting election.

Is there not an iconic photo of PET in a canoe? You see, canoeing is also very Canadian.

Canada.

Her wide prairies.

The joy of swimming in her lakes.

Our numerous national parks, FREE this year. Go and see how many you can see. I would love to do a coast to coast to coast tour of them all!

Canada.

My Country.

Quiet and soft and safe.

 

 

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Coming Home

July 1, 2016 at 8:15 am (Memoir) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

It’s a busy Canada Day weekend here.

My hometown is celebrating it’s 95th birthday and is hosting homecoming.

The last homecoming I was home for was in 2005 when our province, Saskatchewan, turned 100 and New Orleans was flooding. In between homecoming events my sister & I discussed the effects of Katrina and wondered at the race differences that were so apparent in deciding who tells your story.

An old neighbour had a hand that year in telling Saskatchewan’s story.

Naicam Mural

And now it is Homecoming again. I am writing this post a week early because next weekend I will be busy hosting family and attending a historical homecoming.

The town I grew up in is small. The 2006 census gives the population as 690 persons. The town is about 6 blocks long and four wide. It sits in the middle of an expanse of prairie farmland.

I wonder how they survived it? My ancestors who came with nothing, worked extremely hard clearing bush and planting crops, raising children without the distractions of television and internet, and surviving when your nearest neighbour could be miles and hours away.

Why did they do it?

One side came from Scotland in the early years of the twentieth century. He was a grocer’s son. The other side came from Poland ten or so years before the second World War. His father had land.

Why did they do it?

How did they end up in such a desolate and wild country? I hope they came in summer and saw the beauty of a warm summer’s eve before they had to endure one of our winters.

I do love this place. I’m glad I grew up where I did. I just wonder a lot. I wander a lot. From here to there and back to here.

This Homecoming weekend, and whenever they will sit and listen, tell your children stories.

Wonder and Wander and come back home again.

Desolution 2012

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Everything Old Is New Again

June 19, 2016 at 8:15 am (Memoir) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Dinosaur

My father was a digital man in an analog world. He weren’t no dinosaur.

He was an electrician and tv repairman. He started his career working on army airplanes and ended it fiddling with computers. He loved taking pictures and capturing movement with film. He had his own dark room once.

Sometimes I wish he were still around. Sometimes I wish I had been braver when he was alive. There are so many questions I couldn’t ask. So many skills never passed on.

I didn’t grow up with my father in the same house as me. Out of the nine children he had I always knew I was not one of the favoured. He did what he could with the resources he had and as a father, he did it badly.

And every father’s day, I try to forgive him his shortcomings and remember the man he was.

 

Record Player

My father was a digital man in an analog world. He weren’t no dinosaur.

I am a late bloomer and a late adapter. I am cautious. I take my time. I hold my heart in. If I’m not a dinosaur than I’m a sloth. Slow, quiet, and protective of my vulnerable areas.

Gradually I step out of my comfort zone. Gradually I try something new.

In my house, right now, alongside the smart tv, DVD/VCR player, computers and Apple box is an old fashioned record player that I’m not sure how to hook up. My dad would know and if he didn’t he would get right in there and experiment.

I long for a good old fashioned stereo cabinet like my grandparents had.

I have a small collection of LPs and 45s that I hardly ever play. I have cassettes that I play on trips because I only have a portable cassette player. The only music storage device I’ve never had is 8-tracks but they were mainly used in cars and I’ve never owned a car.

All I’ve done is expand my world. I am both analog and digital. I’ve gone from books to ebooks, 45s to MP3s, VHS to DVD to iMovies. Where will it stop?

What will I do on that day when I receive the heart attack inducing words “file cannot be found?”

Thankfully, I’ll have analog files to access.

Record Player 00

My father was a digital man in an analog world. He weren’t no dinosaur but me, I’m happy to identify as such.

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Coveting Trolls

May 29, 2016 at 8:15 am (Memoir) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

1967

I was six or seven or eight. I had just started Grade One or Two; who remembers clearly what happened fifty years ago. I didn’t have glasses yet but they would come very soon! I was poor but I didn’t know I was poor (yet). Yes, my best friend had more stuff then I did but I didn’t covet her stuff. I had enough stuff even though most of it was second hand. Most importantly, I had unlimited access to books via my local library.

This was the perfect life. What else could I possibly dream of wanting?

My best friend was just like me. Her birthday was in May, mine was in April. She lived just down the alley from me. She had no father either. Her father had died, mine had left. That put her a little higher up in the social structure of the town. However, she was first generation Chinese-Canadian so that put her closer to being my equal than my classmates with lots of money and two parents. Her mother worked. My mother worked. Nobody else’s mother worked. We had a lot of unsupervised time and a lot of responsibility. We had to not cause trouble and be perfect.

I may have been poor but my mother saw that I never went hungry. Best of all was the all I could eat raspberry patch at the bottom of our garden. I still can’t get enough of raspberries, summer or winter.

I could go exploring at the local graveyards or go sit and daydream in the gazebo at the forest just inside of the town limits.

When I was tired of eating raspberries and running around unsupervised outside I could grab a book and read under the bed which was my favourite reading spot.

This was me in the 1960s.

Life was perfect!

Perfection

That’s when they moved in. Every few years, my small town got a new policeman. He moved in with his family to the police station across the street from us. The police station was a single story red brick structure attached to a two story brick house. We hadn’t really paid attention to who lived there before because they didn’t have any children our age.

They did now. Three little girls (Lynn, Leah, & Laura) who were the same age as my sisters and me orbited into our lives and my best friend and I morphed into a threesome as Laura joined our group.

And now there were three little girls who were inseparable. We camped out in the bushes and trees across from the police station to gorge ourselves on candy and trade secrets. Laura was an outcast too because her dad’s constant moving made it hard for her to fit in.

We thought she had the coolest dad, we two who had no dads at all. He locked us in the jail cell one hot summer’s day (it was much cooler in there) and we played with our dolls and eavesdropped on muted adult conversations.

You would think that life would have continued to be perfect.

But…Laura had something I suddenly wanted.

Wanted so badly.

Troll

A troll doll is a type of plastic doll with furry hair depicting a troll and they were one of the biggest toy fads in the early 1960s. They had candy coloured hair and wore no clothes (usually).

Laura had, what seemed to me, hundreds of troll dolls, clothes, and accessories like this troll castle.

I coveted it. I coveted it all!

Oh, if only they were mine. I would make them dishes and feed them colourful mini marshmallows just like I did with my Barbie.

 

Dishes

But it was not to be. My mother didn’t waste money on fads. I didn’t get my own troll doll (that’s s/he above) until I was in my forties. S/he has place of honour in my kitchen with the bottles and the lucky frogs.

It’s still a fine line. How to decide what is a need and what is a want.

I no longer covet troll dolls but oh, some days, it seems I covet so much else.

I try to remember I have a perfect life. I need so little. I don’t want many things.

What I want is so much more intangible and part of it is wanting what I use to have – simple needs and simple wants and a library next door to feed my insatiable habit for the written word.

That is enough.

That is perfection!

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Christmas at the Farm

December 27, 2015 at 8:15 am (Life, Memoir) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

A few years ago, without purpose or intent, my nephew bought my grandparent’s homestead. The only structure, of theirs, left standing was the old red barn which got destroyed in a windstorm this past summer!

Barn Collapsing

I’m not sure if this was my grandparent’s original home quarter, that is, the first place that they lived when they came to Canada. I’m pretty sure that this is where my father was raised. He was always very nostalgic about the farm and the surrounding country schools and rural towns nearby.

My nephew was not at first aware of the personal history when he went to look at the place. My father’s parents were both dead by the time he was born.

There is a synchronicity here. A place that once was important to the family comes back full circle.

I spent many happy Christmases here as a child and am now returning to make new memories for a new generation.

Tradition

Tradition. Traditions are important. Growing up, it was customary to spend Christmas at the farm and Easter with my mother’s parents. This was partly because my mother didn’t drive and partly because her father did not want to drive cross-country in the winter. Plus, mom is basically an only child (her bachelor brother was 13 years older) so Christmas at the farm was a lot more fun!

All the aunts and uncles would come and altogether there was twenty or so grand-children ranging through the ages from baby boomers to generation X ers (1956 – 1973), from babies to young teenagers. We were a diverse group.

Mom would take us four kids to Christmas eve service, we’d get to open one gift that night and then in the morning we would open the rest of our gifts and Grandpa would come pick us up for the short drive (15 minutes) to the farm. I couldn’t sit next to grandpa because I was a wiggler and was always bumping the gear shift.

Once at the farm we would all sit down to a big meal, after which the women would wash dishes, the men would talk and the children (no exceptions) would be sent outside to play because once the dishes were done the grown-ups would get down to some serious card playing.

Christmas Eve 2014

We didn’t mind. We’d make forts in the hay stack (this was when hay was stored in smallest rectangle bundles), play in the snow and generally run around going crazy until we got cold.

Once back inside, we would squeeze by the grown-up card players and settle into the smallish living room to watch the Christmas movie on CBC. This movie almost always seemed to star Hayley Mills. I remember parts of Tiger Bay and The Family Way; my favourite was The Trouble With Angels!

We would lay on the floor staring intently at the black and white TV. The youngest children slowly nodding off. Grandma’s Christmas cactus, which eldest sister still nourishes parts of, was a bright pink and green splotch in the corner.

There would be leftovers for supper after dark and slowly us kids would be bundled up and taken home where, no doubt, we slept soundly long through the night. No doubt, sweet dreams abounded.

My grandparent’s home was such a small house yet it still held all of us (20 kids, 9 parents, 2 grandparents and an occasional neighbour or two). I don’t remember feeling crowded. My nephew’s house is probably three times as big with half the amount of people coming for Christmas Eve and it can still feel too crowded to me!

Elf

I’m not saying that I never felt crowded out at my grandparents. Too much party, too many people and I need to escape to somewhere quiet. I’ve always been this way. Neither me or my cat are extroverts.

Too much and I need a place to hide close enough that I still feel like I’m part of the party. At my grandparents that was the spare bedroom right beside the quiet living room which was right beside the crowded dining room full of grown-ups. When I got overwhelmed, I would grab a book (the older I got the more likely it would be that I would have a book with me) and disappear into the bedroom to read all by myself.

All my life, I’ve curled up in a corner reading as life and chatter swirled around me. This is where I feel most at home. This is when I feel most warm, secure and safe. If anyone needed to find me, they instinctively knew where I was! I was somewhere quiet reading!

I loved getting together with my cousins. I loved the sociability. With them I learned on my feet, to get along with people and what love is.

Yes, even though, I was the one hiding in the corner with a book.

This is one of my traditions.

Chicken Bones

As a family of one (and a cat), I mostly get to enjoy the holiday as I want to and I definitely get to create my own traditions.

My traditions are:

  • Garlands of Stars,
  • Celebrating the Winter Solstice,
  • Chicken Bones (see above – I once tried explaining this candy to my Montreal boyfriend and he pictured actual glazed chicken bones),
  • Watching the 1966 Grinch Who Stole Christmas,
  • Watching a darker Christmas movie (like Die Hard or Gremlins),
  • Watching The Nightmare Before Christmas (at both Halloween and Christmastime),
  • Spending time alone reading.

Enjoy your particular traditions.

It is snowing right now. It is a soft, drifting snow. It covers all the bleakness of my lawn and makes it look soft and warm and white.

Happy Holidays to all and to all a good night!

 

 

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The Queen

September 6, 2015 at 8:15 am (Memoir) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

I have a complicated relationship with the Queen.

I have a complicated relationship with the monarchy. I love the pomp and ceremony. The Queen waved at me once as her limo took a short cut through the bus mall where I was waiting for the bus. If her window was open, I could have reached over and shook her hand. This was an unexpected thrilling experience! I enjoy standing up and singing/shouting “God Save the Queen” even though I’m not sure how I feel about God either. It makes me feel proud. Patriotic, like I am part of something bigger and more important than just me.

I don’t think we should pay for any of the monarchy’s expenses when they visit Canada. I’m happy that Prime Minister Trudeau brought the constitution back home.

I admired the Queen Mum immensely. You could tell from her demeanor that she had survived many horrible years as a royal. She was over 100 years old when she died and next year Liz is turning ninety. There will be celebrations in June even though she was born April 21, 1926. She’s almost an Aries like me. I aspire to live as long a life though my life will not be as interesting!

This royal family has been the face of the monarchy all of my life. They are the epitome of the stiff upper lip I was raised under. We keep calm and carry on even though we are not British. My family is Scottish, Polish, Canadian!

Ancestors

Lilibet has always been in the back of my consciousness. The royal portrait (below) hung in my grandparent’s home and now hangs in mine. It shows King George VI, Queen Elizabeth before she was the Queen Mum, Princess Margaret about age five and Princess Elizabeth around age eleven. I imagine that this was the official portrait when George became King after the abdication in 1936. I don’t know if this is true. My Polish grandparents had the picture hanging in their house but I never discussed royalty with them so I don’t know why they hung this picture or where it came from. I do know how relieved they were to leave, in the 1930s, an unsettled Poland for a new life in Canada.

Like most young girls, I was interested in princesses but I wasn’t into the Disney princesses. I wanted to read stories about real princesses. In my teens, I read everything I could find about Princess Anastasia of Russia. Her mother was a granddaughter of Queen Victoria of Great Britain.

I sped read through the Royal Diaries series of books and got a vague sense of the history of British Kings And Queens. I explored what I could find on Mary Queen of Scots and Lady Jane Grey who was Queen for nine days. There was no internet when I was growing up and no fictitious royal series on TV. Royal enthusiasts have it so much easier now.

Because I am a history buff, I was aware that Queen Elizabeth worked as a mechanic during WWII and went out into the crowds on VE day with her sister and their mates. The Queen had mates!

She seemed to be a normal girl. She seemed to be just like me.

Royal Portrait

I’ve followed the Queen’s trails and tribulations. I was there for Anne’s wedding. The Queen’s 25th wedding anniversary family portrait taken in 1972 looks remarkably the same as the picture taken around the same time for my grandparent’s fiftieth.

I’ve been there for her silver jubilee, her golden jubilee and her diamond jubilee. I missed the coronation (I wasn’t born yet) but I vicariously experience it through video – both news reel real and fictitious. The new Doctor Who, series 2: episode seven, centers on a typical London neighbourhood on the Queen’s coronation day.

Royalty fascinates me. A hundred year’s ago I would have been a tea drinking member of the IODE (if I could have been).

Keep Calm

The Queen is a countrywoman through and through. She loves horses, dogs, and vacationing at her estate in Balmoral, Scotland.

She reminds me of her great great grandmother Victoria who also loved Scotland. Both monarchs are women, like my ancestors, who believed in old-fashion values like duty, discipline and self-control.

Victoria, who died at age 82 after celebrating her diamond jubilee four years earlier, was not supposed to be Queen – her father had two older brothers.

Elizabeth shouldn’t have been Queen. Her father’s older brother was to reign and produce heirs but he abdicated instead.

Isn’t it strange that two women who shouldn’t have been Queens are our longest reigning royals to date? When will Queen Elizabeth II have reigned for longer than Queen Victoria?

Queen Victoria reigned 23,226 days 16 hrs & 23 minutes. She superseded her uncle King William IV and became queen at 18 on June 20, 1837. She reigned until Jan 2, 1901.

On Wednesday, September 9 at about 5.30 pm GMT (12:30 pm CST), Queen Elizabeth II will have been on the throne for 63 years, seven months and two days. She became queen at 25 when her father died on Feb 6, 1952.

She does not plan to celebrate this milestone publicly.

I plan to raise a glass of wine in celebration and read one of the myriad books featuring the Queen.

Perhaps I will reread Mrs. Queen Takes the Train!

On Wednesday, raise a glass to “The Queen”

 

 

 

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Canning Season

August 30, 2015 at 8:15 am (Memoir) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Harvest is upon us. It is canning season. I have not canned in a long time.

Growing up, I helped my mother can & freeze & store our harvest every late summer and into September. This was the food that would sustain us all winter when the garden was finished with. This is how we survived.

Garden

I do not garden now. In fact, I hate gardening, and all the other outdoor maintenance involved with having a lawn and flower beds, with an unbridled passion. I remember the hard work, the bugs, the sore muscles and the dirt forever under my fingernails. These are not pleasant memories.

However, I do like the harvest. I will haunt farmer’s markets for outdoor produce to enjoy in the moment but I do not can or freeze even though I do remember how much better garden produce tastes. The problem I have with canning is that we were not allowed to enjoy the produce in the present when I was growing up – things had to be stored up for WINTER. Everything, it seemed, was always saved to be enjoyed later.

My father (absent) would take my two older sisters with him to B. C. to pick fruit and they would bring back cases of cherries, pears and peaches that would have to be canned RIGHT NOW!

The peas would need to be frozen as soon as they were ripe.

The potatoes were dug and sent straight down to the cold room.

Glenlivet_Raspberries

We picked pails of raspberries to be frozen. This was my favourite harvest chore because I could hide in the raspberry canes and eat and pick. I always felt I got enough raspberries for both me and the freezer.

We headed out to the bush to pick gooseberries and other fruit.

I didn’t mind that all the rhubarb got frozen – it was too sour no matter how you prepared it.

But I wanted to eat my fill of peas straight off the vine. I wanted to eat too much butter dripped fresh corn. I wanted to gorge myself on fruit until I burst.

I wanted.

I got what I needed. I got enough to eat, all year, because my mother is a gardener and an ant. I did not inherit the gardening gene. I will cook and clean and can but still I feel guilty every time my mom or sister commiserate about their gardens.

My sister canned peaches, tomatoes and cucumbers last weekend. They were all lined up, pints and quarts, beside her stove. I should have taken a picture. The jars were bright and full of shining red, green and yellow goodness.

Why is it I always see what I can not do instead of what I can? Next year, I plan to purchase a farm fresh box so that I will get both the benefit of good food and the chance to help local gardeners do what they love to do (and I do not).

I need to find that fine line between want and need. I want to be able to enjoy fresh food all year long. I want to stop feeling guilty over doing what I like to do instead of doing what everyone else thinks I should do!

I hope everyone has the harvest they enjoy this Lammas season.

Stirling Castle_Kitchen

This weekend is the 10 year anniversary of Katrina. This is the best book that I have ever read on the subject.

I’ve never been to New Orleans. I hope one day to visit.

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Off With Her Hair?

June 7, 2015 at 8:15 am (Memoir) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

I have had long hair for about 90% of my life. It defines who I am.

I have long hair, therefore I am!

It’s been the one thing most everyone has commented complimentary on since I was a teen.

The only other compliment I remember from then was made by a friend’s boyfriend who said I had amazing eyes.

I can remember the where and when of this compliment (a September day on the beach) because it was so unusual for anyone to compliment anything other than my long, thick, luxurious hair.

1961 Baby Me

Like most of us, I started out with hardly any hair at all. I was blonde as a child and my hair had a slight curl to it. The picture above was probably from my second Christmas when I was 20 months old. I still have that dog. I don’t have many childhood pictures (you really didn’t back then). My father was the family photographer and he left shortly after this picture was taken. I only have four pictures of me as a baby and my younger brother has none.

Pictures, back then, were reserved for special occasions (1st day of school, confirmation, Easter, Christmas Etc). We always found the money, even though we were very poor, to buy the yearly school pictures.

1967

Here I am around 1967 when I was seven. I have never looked good in pink. It’s one of the few pictures of me without glasses. I have had glasses since Grade One.

1970

Here I am around 1970 at about age ten (they must have made me take off my glasses for the picture). I look very tomboyish with my short hair. My hair was short, as a child, because that was how my mom wanted it. She said as long as she was dealing with it every day I was not allowed to let it grow.

I longed for long hair. I wanted long hair that would blow in the wind and to hide behind. I wanted braids like Pippi Longstocking, braids like Anne and tons of ringlets like Shirley Temple.

My hair darkened as I got older. It went from dusty blonde to chestnut brown.

My mom finally let me start growing my hair out. I was tired of pixie cuts and haircuts that seemed to take forever.

1973 Long Hair

My hair grew quickly. By the time I was thirteen, my hair was long, long, long and frequently very tangled but I loved it anyway. The kids I babysat loved to brush it and if I wheedled long enough either my mom or eldest sister would braid it for me. I loved having someone braid it in one long braid down my back after I got out of the bath. It would be days before I would unbraid it to reveal luxurious waves.

The picture above was taken after my eldest sister put in a mini ponytail. She was being artsy with her new camera and I was willing to sit and pose.

I loved braiding my long hair. I loved french braids (though to this day I can not french braid my own hair). I loved high ponytails.

1976

By the time my second sister wed, when I was sixteen, my hair was down to my waist. (I still don’t look good in pink). A classmate, one year above me, had hair long enough to sit on. I didn’t want hair that long. This was long enough and it stayed that long for decades.

Since then, my hair has gone from just below my shoulders to just above them and back again. I like keeping my hair long enough to put into two side braids. When I am tired of my hair, I put it in braids and leave it that way for days and days.

Lately, my long has started to greatly aggravate me. I fantasize about shaving it off (I won’t as my skull has bumps and thus I don’t think it would look good shaved).

I am contemplating short hair. For me, all changes start with contemplation. Perhaps even as short as a buzz cut. Now is the time to do it as Summer is the season for short hair. An university friend recently buzzed hers after a disastrous dye job and she looks marvelous.

But I am wary. I have had long hair for a very long time. What will I look like with short hair? How will I feel? For me, long hair has always been a defining aspect of my personality.

I have long hair thus I am feminine.

I have long hair, therefore I am!

So I appeal to you oh mighty internet. Send me clips of short hair styles that I can contemplate. Send me your stories and your pictures.

Should I cut it off? Should I cut it all off?

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The Basement

February 22, 2015 at 8:15 am (Memoir) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

I hate basements. No, I’m not sure hate is a strong enough word.

I loathe basements! If I built my own house it would not have a basement. As it is, I only go into my current basement to do laundry as that is where the basement appliances live. Well, at least until I get too old to handle stairs and can afford to move these appliances upstairs.

So, to recap … basements ughh! Basements bad!

Basement Appliances

I grew up in a house with a tiny, claustrophobic dirt basement. Basically, it was a hole in the ground with a house atop it. It was accessed through the kitchen. Down there was the washing machine and various jars with glutinous forms glowing in the basement’s dim light. Here we stored the summer garden’s bounty (in jars and pits) to get us through the winter. We were poor, we canned everything we could – my mother’s mother even canned chicken as she had grown up (of course) before refrigeration and knew how to do this. Canned chicken is good eating!

The farm houses my grandparents lived in also had claustrophobic dirt basements. We never went in them. When they moved, their new houses had bigger cement basements that aspired to be rec/wreck rooms for the grandchildren to play in – we were too old by then to be really interested in hanging out downstairs as the gossip upstairs was always more interesting.

Cold Room

That first basement was avoided at all costs but on occasion I had to go down and fetch something for supper. There were salamanders and worms and spiders down there. There was a noisy, child eating wringer washing machine down there. I knew that washing machines ate children because my best friend missed half of kindergarten when their machine sucked her tiny arm through the wringer.

The basement was dark. It was damp. The light was turned on with a pull chain and you had to go all the way down the stairs to do this. If someone closed the door before you got there you couldn’t see anything at all. Many times, someone closed the door.

Someone, hah. Siblings – older sisters and younger brother – don’t we all have them!

They weren’t mean just sadistic as all children (me included) tend to be. I’m sure all of us, Gandhi included, have shut an annoying sibling up somewhere dark and noisy and scary! Though dark and quiet and scary is no picnic either!

Furnace Circa 1950s

Dark and scary. Dark and scary amidst scurrying spiders, revolting reptiles and supposed ghosts. With only a steep staircase between you and escape – no windows anywhere and why can you never find the light string when you need it most. Stupid siblings.

Why couldn’t I be an only child? But then I’d have had nobody to play with and during a tornado I’d have to hide in the basement with only a frog for a friend. I read, in a book about the Depression, about a farm child who only had a frog to play with. The frog laid quietly on its back and let her dress it in a tiny doll dress. Is this normal frog behaviour or was the frog shell-shocked by the tornado and just glad to be somewhere safe out of the wind and rain and this giant thing was, at least, trying to keep it warm and here it (the frog) thought contently “at least, I am warm and safe in this tiny, dark basement!”

My half-siblings didn’t have a basement. They lived in a trailer. A crowded, shaky trailer. What would they do if a tornado happened by? Where would they be safe from big, strong winds? Would they blow away like Dorothy did? I guess, a basement can be useful for some things. Like for hiding in. Unless you’re in a horror movie.

Do not hide in an old stone and dirt basement with only one exit if you’re ever in a horror movie. Okay! Got that!Basement Stairs

So, to recap – basements are bad! I loathe them!

But, they can also be useful for hiding in but not if your life tends to impersonate a horror movie.

Okay, maybe, basements aren’t 100% loathsome! Maybe just 95% loathsome.

I still prefer not to have one.

February’s posts were inspired by the Ray Bradbury Noun List. I hope you enjoyed them.

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Pet Pictures

November 23, 2014 at 8:15 am (Memoir) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

I have for you this weekend a simple post because LIFE has become (once again) overwhelming. Enjoy these pet pictures of my previous pets that were mentioned in last week’s post on Secondhand Cats.

First, he is a very blurry picture of Willie, probably taken with a point & shoot camera. Extreme close-up for the win. I think the photo may have been taken when we were under the bed. He was a very patient cat. 🙂

Willie

This next picture was the one I mentioned trying to find last week. It is Willie and Joey on my bed. I can just hear Willie saying to Joey; “Did you wash your face yet, young man?”

Willie & Joey

The white stuffed cat in the background is a pajama pillow. Yes, I kept my pajamas in it.

The next picture is of Truce, again taken on my bed in my second bedroom.

Truce

The room, to me, screams 70s. The colourful pillow was made by eldest sister, there is a jewelry box and radio in the headboard and the pillow to the right is a souvenir pillow I stole from my grandparents. This picture fits right in with Alisha’s weekly travel theme which for this week is colourful.

See you next week for Book Quote Sunday #11.

 

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