30 December 2014

The Book of Me (19)

As usual, with great skill and stealth I am manipulating both Julie's prompts and my succinct half-witted comments.

Is Blood Thicker Than Water? (Prompt 62)
Julie teased with an image from the UK's NHS "Be a Blood Donor" poster here in the UK: blood doesn't grow on trees. Family or friends: what matters? Who comes first?

Good one. I belong to the school of You Can Choose Your friends but You're Stuck with Your Family ... (so make the best of it). Not that I have any complaints about my exceptionally beautiful, talented, highly intelligent, and harmonious family. "Coming first" implies a choice between family or friends? I can't think of an example. Like, if they both want to borrow money at the same time? If they both lie wounded on the street, whom would I rescue first? Or, if a friend and a family member were at loggerheads and you had to take sides? Ouch. Guys, let's talk!!

Addresses & Locations (Prompt 63)

From your childhood can you recall your next door neighbours?

Judge McComber on one side and the Emersons on the other. This could be our house or Mr. Emerson's house, debate ongoing; the two were very similar in style except ours was red brick. Our houses were on a hill on North Court Street, Port Arthur. (Did I say somewhere else that Mr. Emerson kept chickens in his large back yard? He did. Weird-seeming to us then). I've no idea if there was a Mrs. Emerson but there were no kids.
All I remember about the Judge was he died and I, a small child, was taken to the "viewing" in his home. The casket was open to his waist and I thought his legs had been cut off. That's what they do when you die and get stuffed into a box. That piece of creepiness lingered way too long. Luckily, on the other side of Mr. Emerson was the Crooks family where my best friend lived. When his tongue got stuck one winter to the iron railing on our back steps, my mother poured water on him/it (disappointingly) instead of grabbing the camera.

Colleges & Universities (Prompt 65)
Did you go to college/university? What did you study? Was your studying vocational or a step on the ladder to another profession? Photos?
Did anyone notice I switched places with No. 64? It seemed a more natural progression. Undergrad, I studied my socialist friends, musical theatre, and parties. Majoring in French was ultimately (faintly) useful only when trying to buy shoes in Paris (il faut cultiver notre jardin). By the way, it doesn't work in Québec. The accent.

Post-grad, I studied mediaeval philosophy and the Yorkville club scene.
My car was constantly pilfered by junkies in the lane behind Gerrard Street where I lived; I'm sure I mentioned that before. Photos? There's a certain amount of PHOTO FAIL here. Cameras were not a common piece of equipment ... ergo, not employed in the heat of animated debate over Gilson's interpretation of de esse et essentia or rarely during random acts of Vat 69 madness.

None of this tomfoolery or scholastic application was the slightest preparation at all for the career job of wifery and motherhood. But occasionally it was good before some of the finer points escaped me as a conversation dead end, for encouraging boring people to move on as quickly as possible in another direction.
 
Jobs & Careers (Prompt 64)
Job or career; is it the same? Did you enjoy what you did? Was it a passion or a means to an end? Did you stay at home? Or did you want to? Did you have employment hopes and dreams? Regrets?

"Stay at home" sounds so dull. 'Twas rarely thus. And even the domestic scene was fodder for the creative juices. I have mentioned before (Prompt 38), I found my inner writer. Maybe I didn't mention the magazine articles about farm life or the community newspaper my friend Judy and I founded. Somehow along the way it coalesced into a passion for family history ... research! detective work! clients! and yes, writing about it! At last, a career as a genealogist. 

No regrets whatsoever. Good times, all. It just gets better and better.


What Do You Treasure? (Prompt 66)
You choose what you treasure, the things, the people, things that are not seen, things that are seen yet not obviously treated as a treasure.

Northern Cree girl; by Susan Ross
Wide, wide scope here. Many people, many "things." It's too easy to say (but still true) what everyone treasures  family, friends, health, safe living in a great country, a full life. I'd like to add enjoyment of genealogical sleuthing, and all the creative arts especially music and dance; the variety of lifelong learning is never boring. The memory collection, of course, is high on the list and just what this Book of Me encourages.
In a more literal way, I treasure mementos and photographs of my parents and their ancestors; bits of precious jewellery; pieces of art; and souvenirs of my travels. What I don't take for granted and treasure: access to the Internet and all its ramifications! 

© 2014 Brenda Dougall Merriman. All rights reserved.

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