Since the word is retrospective I thought I would pick out some of my favourites that represent each of my family members. I remember printing out the first one and taking it to Mom in the hospital. She laughed so loud her neighbour wondered what she was laughing about. June is an emotional month for me. It’s why I try to remember all the good times. The things that made me laugh.
On Friday I got my voter card in the mail. Saturday was the first day for advance polls. While I was looking at the card I realized I didn’t get my health card renewal notice in the mail. Sunday night I wrote out a list of all the things I will have to do before the end of the month. I phoned service Ontario yesterday and it’s all automated press 1 for this press 2 for that. I went through the whole thing twice before pressing 0 to speak to a human being. Apparently you are supposed to inform them when you move. I use mine many, many times during the year I just assumed it went into the system.
Since I don’t drive I use my passport for identification. This morning I went to Cherryhill mall to vote in the advance poll. Since I was there I decided to update my library card a few weeks early since I had ID with me. Found out it’s now good for 2 years. Hallelujah! She asked if Landon was still my main branch and I said yes. I don’t really have one.
They had a woman standing at the door checking your voter card. She told me you’ll need ID. So I walked over to the table and she asked for drivers license and thought I was well prepared since I pulled out my passport. In previous elections I’ve needed both my passport and a piece of mail since I also need address. They now have a machine where you place your ballot in and it scans it. Even though it’s technical there are a lot of people involved in the process. Security guards, people to take your voter card, the guy to put it in the machine. We were chatting in line while we waited outside.
Yesterday I got 3 phone calls. One was an automated phone call from Doug Ford about a rally being held tomorrow. One from the NDP candidate’s office and one from the liberal candidate’s office. So as not to get further phone calls I told each person that I was voting for them. My Mom would be so annoyed with these because she used to say it’s a secret ballot for a reason. Apparently my riding is going to be a close race because we don’t have an incumbent. Although the PC candidate was an MP so I thought that would help her.
For me I had to tune out all of the rhetoric and decide who I wanted to vote for based on the things that relate to me. I usually vote for the individual representing me but this year I voted for the party. I still didn’t go in there 100% sure. Will this person make a good premier? Time will tell.
When I think of the word ceremony the first thing that immediately comes to mind is a wedding. But then I thought of the first major milestone in my life which would be graduating public school. The first picture is taken at our grandparents apartment. I look at the picture and think wow look at how brown I was. I remember I had natural curl and how it didn’t really go the way I wanted but in this picture it looks ok. I’m sure this was grandma taking our picture after the dresses were finished as we got dressed at home and walked to the school. Our shoes were white flats.
Because we grew up in this neighbourhood we had friends that were the same age as us. We passed a couple of classmates on the way. For the ceremony itself we had to have baby pictures for a slide presentation. We didn’t have baby pictures of us alone so they took one of us in our playpen and cropped it. Our history teacher joked that it looked familiar.
Even now 30 years later the memories of that day are vivid. Singing the song from chariots of fire. Dinner at St.Andrews church…KFC. I still have the dress in my closet. When my Dad was painting my bedroom I was going through stuff in my closet and I was going to toss it and he told me no your grandmother made that you keep it. Now I’m glad he made me.
I have many public school friends on Facebook. I have seen my friend grow into a wonderful wife and mother. When we went to camp a classmate drew a picture of a dog on a rock for Janet. She kept in a drawer and I found it after she died. My friend was so touched.
For me high school and college graduation wasn’t that big of a deal. I think because it was leading to something. Grade 8 was shared. It was just fun. The second picture is my formal grad picture. Whenever I look at it I’m reminded of a friend of my grandparents who visited and wondered why I changed my clothes for the picture…not realizing we were two separate people. Janet wore the same shirt only hers was green. My parents had our grad pictures displayed on the piano.
My grandmother always had oatmeal cookies on hand in a tin that she kept on the buffet in the dining room. She was also famous for her Mac and cheese. My Aunt (her daughter in law) wrote in a letter one time that she could never get hers as creamy as grandmas.
Mom went to a seniors group at church and you had to sign up for a week to bring snack. One woman was “famous” for her date squares so I would make sure that mom told me which week she was on for because she had to bring me home one. One woman did canning for the church bazaar and her pickles and relishes were so good.
Years ago when Janet and I attended a bible study we made chocolate chip cookies. This is what we were known for they were so good. The funny thing was the recipe was on the back of the golden crisco box. When one of our friends found out it kind of took away the magic of it. The woman who held it in her home with her husband told me one time that they tasted so good because they were made with love.
One of the things I do to honour my family is have their favourite meal on their birthday. For my Dad I had roast beef. For Mom I had scalloped potatoes…ok I cheated a little because they were store bought. Janet loved chilli I hate it. People have often asked me if she had a favourite meal and she didn’t really. For both of us it was just the enjoyment of making a meal for someone else.
I have Moms recipe box in my kitchen cupboard. I don’t do a lot of cooking anymore but there are a lot of memories in each of those recipes. Even following a recipe exactly I would never be able to replicate it.
Yesterday I finally received my voter card for the upcoming provincial election. I will be voting in a different riding than the one I grew up in. I titled this another first because this is the first time I will be voting without my Mom. I remember the first time I voted after Janet died and it felt so strange because we had a routine. All my life I voted at Tecumseh Public School which was a couple blocks away from where I lived. After we voted Janet and I would go for a walk in the neighbourhood. I actually had to look up where the voting location was on google maps because I have never heard of it.
Voting was the one thing we never had a problem with when it came to paperwork. Janet would usually vote first as she was Ja and then I was after her on the list. I think I was accidentally removed from the list because I had to add myself back on for the municipal and federal election. When I had my wisdom teeth taken out the woman on the desk actually told me I had already had it done. We had trouble with paperwork at Fanshawe College too.
June is going to be a busy month for me as I also have to renew my health card this year. Lots of things that are necessary but not exactly fun. When the photo health cards came out my Uncle was joking that it’s doesn’t work as ID for everyone because it would be interchangeable for me and Janet.
Looking at pictures Janet is my doppelgänger. People that knew us really well could tell the difference.
A week and a half ago I sent my friend a card. When I emailed to ask if she got it she thought it was an email. I get bills electronically, do online banking so in the course of a week I may get one or 2 pieces of mail. I send my friend in Australia a birthday card because who doesn’t love getting a card in the mail.
This word also makes me think of the upcoming election. We live in a society where many people have access to a computer but when we vote we go with our voter card and get handed a ballot where we mark an X beside our choice. At the same time I have gotten all of my information online. Our local news certainly isn’t giving equal coverage to each party…what little coverage they actually have. In 2006 Janet and I helped in a campaign office for the federal election. We attended meet and greets, a town hall meeting. Do they even have those anymore?
Yesterday I talked about debit cards and paper money. Even though I pay for most things by debit there is a time and a place for cash. My parents would never pay for a coffee and muffin with a debit card. My Dad had the rule that a debit card was for purchases over $20.
I have a friend that I meet once a month to go out for coffee. We arrange what day we are going to go by email. I chat with friends on Facebook. A friend from public school posted a video about how we show our highlights on Facebook or Instagram but we have lost that connection. Sitting across from someone you can pick up on the things that they aren’t saying. There is a barrier with email.
Growing up my parents were old fashioned but I’ve begun to realize that those values that they taught me will never be archaic. Dressing respectfully, sending a thank you card, treating people the way you would want to be treated.
Ok, I must confess that I am guilty of not putting cards back into my wallet. This morning I was staring right at my debit card that I had to take out in order to pay for groceries and I forgot to put it back into my purse. I thought it’s ok I’m just going to the Farmers market and I can only pay cash. But I decided to get a couple of things inside. Thankfully I had just enough cash on me.
It also makes me feel guilty because I was raised with a father that always carried a certain amount of money in his wallet whether he was going anywhere or not. When he got down to a certain number he would go to the bank or I supposed Mom would got to the bank for him. I should say my Mom was one who would go in so she could have change to pay for coffee or smaller items. I rarely have less than a $20. My change was used to pay for my scone this morning. I always keep my change for Farmers Market purchases. I can remember going to Canada Trust and standing in line. They knew us. It changed after Mom died. The bank that I used was helpful but it wasn’t for my interests it was for theirs. So I use a bank machine in order to avoid interaction with them.
My friend goes to an attendant at a parking garage. I wouldn’t use self checkout at a grocery store. It takes away a job from a human being. I use a grocery delivery service. I will give a bonus at Christmas or the week I had them pick me up a microwave. If they are doing a little extra I’ll pay for that.
Of course that gets into going out to dinner and fighting over the bill. Or even worse we all know people that don’t tip.
But that’s for another post!
Banyan Tree taken in Grenada. From Wikipedia…A banyan, also spelled “banian”, is a fig that begins its life as an epiphyte, i. e. a plant that grows on another plant, when its seed germinates in a crack or crevice of a host tree or edifice.
When I was walking through the garden I thought of Dad and how he would have been fascinated by all the different plants and trees. This was my favourite place when we went on the cruise.
I have been trying to find light weight pants for spring/summer. Most of the time I wear capris but pants are required when the a/c might be turned up too high in a building. I found a pair online and put in my order and then after it said it had shipped they no longer had them in stock. Really frustrating especially since they were on sale.
One would “assume” that sizing is universal across the board but that isn’t the case. I recently bought a couple of t-shirts and they fit bigger than I thought. I used to be able to order pants online at one store but the fit isn’t the same. I also assumed that when I lost weight it would be easier to find pants that fit.
I don’t like clothes shopping anymore. Even when I went with Mom I would go with an idea of what I wanted and I would get in and get out. Don’t get me wrong I love nice clothes but the actual process is hit and miss anymore.
I can remember going to Westmount mall with Mom. She would go to Zellers and you could pretty well get everything that you needed there. Janet and I shopped at Cotton Ginny. Both have been out of business for many years.
We shop differently now. Many stores that used to be in the mall moved to a big box store, which means you have to drive there. The closest mall to me now is sort of a seniors centre but it has all of the things I need…a grocery store, Shoppers Drug Mart, Carleton cards, a dollar store, a library and a few clothing stores. I used to think it was small but now i realize it’s just right.
I think we all find ourselves in awkward situations once in a while. The time when we go to the grocery store and have to put something back because we don’t have enough money. Trying to hide a big purchase from a spouse or in my case a friend. The little white lie that gets us out of going to something we don’t want to.
Living my life as a twin there were times when we would be uncomfortable asking if we were twins. To us and most of the people around us it was obvious. When we were about 12 or 13 we stopped dressing alike. Our grade 8 grad dresses were similar enough that we looked a like but grandma added our own style to them.
After Janet died things that used to be comfortable now became awkward…family dinners being the biggest. People treated me differently, some avoided me like the plague and others just didn’t know what to say. After my Dad died I was relieved that I had an out now.
I have also learned that there were people that would always see me as a kid and would never see me as the strong, independent person that I have become. At the church I grew up in I would always be Mom’s daughter. I stopped going to church in September because it became the elephant in the room. We all knew what the day represented but everyone tip toed around it. People thought I should be over it by now not realizing that it’s a reminder every year. Grief is awkward. We reach out to someone and they turn away. The people that should support us end up running away.
I have had friends in my life where we talk about everything and then suddenly there comes a moment when something changes and it becomes awkward. Suddenly isn’t the right word because there are little things here and there, it’s not all at once. I find I don’t share the things that I once did. In another month it will be our birthday. For most people it’s a day of celebration for a twinless twin it’s not that anymore. It’s a day where I feel very loved by friends wishing me/or us happy birthday on Facebook but it’s a day where I miss my twin terribly. I remember the first birthday after she died and Mom and I went to the cemetery. I remember standing over the grave thinking how wrong this was. It kind of became our thing to go and put flowers on the grave.
It’s all about how we handle the situations. Life is going to be bumpy and we are going to have to go along for the ride.