[Disclaimer: Why do I feel compelled to archive the memories of my childhood? Is it because someday I may not remember them at all so when I’m old and doddering in a nursing home, potentially living through Alzheimer’s, maybe someday someone will read them to me, and I’ll be sane again for a moment?]
I was born in Vancouver, B.C., Canada. I was born on my sister’s birthday. All I know about my birth is that there is a picture of her holding me and she looks like she’s crying. For a long time, I thought they were tears of joy until one day I figured maybe they were tears of sadness because from then on out she had to share her birthday with me. I don’t know. I’d like to think the former. It’s probably a mix of the two.
[Sidenote: I was going to catalogue every single memory I could recall and then I realized how boring that would be so I’m trying to hit the highlights of the last 48 years. You don’t have to read on. This is an exercise in avoiding memory loss, remember? It’s nice of you to come with, if you don’t mind.]
When I was about 5, we lived in Horseshoe Bay. And I remember we had this very proper British neighbor who was always correcting my sister and I whenever we said, ‘Can I have some milk?’ She’d say, ‘I don’t know. “CAN” you?’ I also remember my sister stepping on a needle and getting rushed to the hospital although I didn’t go with her. Oopsie!
When I was about 5 we moved from Horseshoe Bay to White Rock, a small town that was more inland. It was a log cabin on an S-curve. It was an idyllic childhood in many ways. Cats, dogs, goats, chickens, a mum who stayed home (not that moms have to stay home but it’s nice when someone is home. It could be a dad. In fact, it was a dad later when I was growing up. Go figure.). We had a German shepherd named Igor who would one day bite a girl’s head because she was chasing me in the yard and he thought she was attacking me. On another occasion, Igor was forced to wear a ring of dead geese around his neck for killing the Dutch neighbor’s animals. Igor was really a nice dog. We didn’t train him to kill. It was just in his genes. We also had a Samoyed. A couple in fact. I think one of them got hit by a car? I know, it’s sad. But sometimes that is what sticks out from childhood. The trauma. There were good memories too. Sasha, the Samoyed, was beautiful. All white and fluffy. Igor was very loyal and we felt safe. Sorry but I remember the dramatic details of death and carnage first. I’ll try to remember more positive ones from now on.
We had goats. My mum used to go down and milk them and make cheese. I don’t remember liking the taste of it but I loved the idea of milking goats. And gathering eggs! I got to help carry the eggs in the house sometimes. One time my mum told me to hold on tightly to the egg as I walked with it. Well, I held on so tight I crushed the egg! Oops, sorry. More trauma. Poor egg.
My sister and I played piano growing up. We each were given lessons and when guests came over we would perform our little songs. One time, when we had guests over I remember taking a bath when my sister decided to play a trick on me. I think she knew I had forgotten we had guests over and so she told me that my grandparents from England were on the phone in the kitchen so I ran through the living room with just a towel barely around me, half naked in front of the guests. I used to cry a lot to get my sister in trouble. I’m sure I cried a lot that time. (to be continued… whether anyone is reading or not…)