Thursday, April 17, 2008

Looking Back

From the comments:
I think I know a lot about how you are now, and how you think now.. but not a lot about you growing up, or as a young adult. Unless it relates to something in your life today, we don't really hear much about you in that sense. Would love to hear more!
That comes from my soon to be daughter-in-law.(Waving hi to you today!)

and this from my dear friend Mich:
"How did you come to live in all the different places? Were you a writer as a kid? Do you know any stories about your ancestors?
I'm going to answer both in bullet form as anything more cohesive is still beyond me.

* I broke my arm in grade one. A green stick fracture they called it. My cousin and I were walking along the top of a fence and she started to fall and I tried to stop the momentum and we both fell. The lawn on the other side of the fence had a bit of a dip in it and that's where we landed. She was unhurt.

* I had the same teacher for grade one that my mom had had in grade nine. She was still as miserable a teacher for me as she had been for my mom. Once I stole a cough drop (Sucrets) off her desk. It tasted wretched.

* In grade two I got a severe case of Poison Ivy. I still remember the little yellow pills I had to take to keep the itching under control. It was in grade two that I wrote my first essay. It was titled "When The World Began And How." My mom kept that essay (written on fullscap) tucked in one of the kitchen cupboards until I left home. Unfortunately I lost it in a move early in my marriage. I do remember it though and it was well written and I've kept the same writing style I had back then.

* My grade three teacher was strict and a lover of words. She was also the school librarian. One day I read a book under the top of my desk between first bell and first recess. When I returned it during recess her eyebrow went up as if to ask me when I'd found time to read it when I was supposed to be doing school work. I don't remember getting in trouble for it. When I met her again the summer I graduated from high school, she sighed in the most beautiful way when I told her of my plans to go study journalism. "English, my favourite," was her reply.

* In the summer between grade four and five I went to a Bible Camp. My first and last time. It was my first experience of being in an enviroment where I knew adults loved and cared for me. I did not want to go home. I had an experience there of seeing an angel in the rafters of the cabin. The adults I told didn't believe me but I never forgot what I saw. I had an experience of an angel watching over me a few years ago, too.

* My grade five teacher didn't believe in homework. She was also a very compassionate teacher and I felt safe in her classroom. This was the year my mom got breast cancer the first time and then became an alcholic. That's a story in itself.

* My grade six teacher read us Jean Val Jean. He had previously been a teacher in a federal prison and was a passionate teacher. Grade six was a rough year for me and he went to bat for me several times. I've tried to find him over the years to express my gratitude for his presence in my life but haven't been able to track him down. I'm not the only one in my class that knew the basics of Les Miserables because of his influence.

* I started writing in grade seven and was published in a farm newspaper for the next five years in their youth pages. I wrote everything from poems to plays throughout high school. I spent a year as the editor of the school newspaper and a year being advertising manager of the yearbook. I was given quite a bit of leeway as newspaper editor although there were a few times when I was reprimanded for risque content. When I was a young mom I did freelance writing for the farm newspaper for a year. My last interview took place when I was 9 months pregnant. I wrote human interest stories and they are still my favourite kind of newpaper article to write or read.

* Those junior high years were the worst of them all. I was either bullied or being the bully. I was not a happy camper. It got better by grade 10.

* I left home right after grade 12 and moved across the country to get as far away from my mom as I could. I went to study journalism and spent that time doing more interesting things than studying. It was almost as if school was an imposition. I've often wished I had applied myself to my studies. I had a great journalism instructor who pushed me to reach my potential. He was the first editor across Canada to publish a story about Thalidomide Babies after a mother came to him looking for answers.

* I got pregnant within the first few months of being at college and the father was from a foreign country. We were not in agreement about what to do. I wanted to give the baby up for adoption and he wanted to raise it. I miscarried before the first trimester was over. I buried the pain of that loss until I had an ultrasound when I was pregnant with youngest son at the same gestation as my miscarriage. When the technician pointed out his beating heart I realized I had truly lost a baby all those years ago. While in treatment last summer I did a grief and loss collage. I had three pictures of babies on my poster for the three babies I lost through miscarriage.

* Our many moves were a combination of youth and geographical cures. Well, not that moving cures anything, but it took us 18 tries through two provinces to realize that. I'd be happy not to make another move. I find them traumatic. As a child moving and being the 'new kid' was one of my greatest fears although my parents still live in the house I grew up in.

* I've spent the last few days reading through 35 years of my grandma's diaries in preparation for my radio piece. On the other side of the family the claim to fame is that my great grandma was born a Pacelli in Italy and was related to Pope Pius XII. Which is a good or bad thing depending on how you interpret what you read about him. My great grandma on the other side of the family came across Canada with the Barr Colonists.

* One of my motivations for writing a blog and keeping a journal is so that I leave a sense of who I am for those who come after me. I write that knowing relationship is of more importance than anything.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

I loved hearing these little snippets of stories. Each one sounds like a place from which to launch a longer story. Thanks Hope.

Reading your gramma's diary must have been fascinating. What a treasure. I guess you got some of that writing gene from her.
Mich

curious servant said...

It is good to hear those things about you.

I've been preoccupied of late and have not been by to visit for a while.

Take care, Sis.