Daily Archives: April 28, 2012

My Mother Was A Dreamer (Part Two)

The second letter my mother wrote to herself was on her twenty-fifth birthday, to her thirty-year-old self.  She’s a bit deleriously in love I think.

R.R. 4 Port Elgin

Feb. 17, 1942

Happy Birthday Margaret.

And how does it feel to be thirty?  Today as I sit in S.S. # 4 Saugeen on my twenty-fifth birthday evening, I do indeed wish you the very best in health and contentment as you leave your twenties.  But on this, my birthday, let’s look back a few years.  Yes, carefree Marnie of twenty, I have had a lot of dreams come true.  By June I will have finished six years of teaching.  Marnie never dreamed of a No. 9 Bruce with Mr. and Mrs. White and Helen, all the swell children there at school, and the Christmas Cake and other ways they showed their kindness.  The crocinole games and hockey matches and baseball games and even a high (or was it low?) dash cutter.  But it too is past and it’s funny that I should really be teaching in No. 4 after sort of wishing for that all along.  That’s one dream come true.

But far above them all is the one of really having the love of the only one for me in all I’ve known.  Through the years we’ve known eachother, our lives have in many ways been linked together even though at times we’ve seemed far apart.  For two years now we’ve shared a secret too precious for others to know and so real, we hope this year our dreams may come true.  That is why his Margie is so very happy on her 25th birthday.  And may it be the very special year for us if God wills.

And as I look into the future and see you in 1947 – if you are still Margie – if you still deserve his care and kindness – if you remember always the little things that help life for others – if you have not forgotten the place your Church should play in your life – if you can smile though life has not given you all you hoped for, then you have not disappointed me.

At twenty five you hoped for someone to call you Marnie now,  and though no one does, well you don’t seem to mind.  Even if your castles in the air have not all come true, I’m sure my dear you’ve had your share of life’s treasures too.  But if you can touch his hand and hold close his curly head, you have a priceless treasure, and that is my true wish for you, my dream girl of 1947.

New friends are probably near, but still there is, now and always,  Blanche, Lena, Vera (who I hope may soon be someone I’ve really seen) and Nina too though she now lives in Manatoulin Island as Mrs. May and Blanche is Mrs. Delbert Wheatley and Ettie is Mrs. Carmen Currie.  And Marguerite will always be someone very special.

Our family too is scattering and I’m wondering where we will all be in 1947.  Mabel is now in Toronto and Gomer in the R.C.A.F. in Toronto, and Edna at high school and Mother and Dad at home.  Many changes have taken place too.  Grandpa and Aunt Abbie both gone and Grandma still with us and very much her old self.

Can you remember the stormy 17th, dusk gathering as you sat writing by the fire at the back of the school, and now home to Jamiesons and maybe a word or two more from there.  There always seems to be things we regret and one of them is the 2 lb. box of chocolates that came yesterday.  But tonight, nothing can mar the happiness – a letter and card from Hank “Looking Ahead” and a telephone call from Dad and home.  Tonight what I wear or what I’m doing seems so very unimportant because life seems all bound up in a certain someone who is in Nobel and still says he does so love his Margie.  And though we are separated by miles tonight we seem nearer than ever, and if that love grows richer with life’s experiences you will, Margie, be very very happy on this, your thirtieth birthday.

Bye from Margie, on her twenty-fifth Birthday.

I don’t know why I know this, but the disappointing regretful box of chocolates was from another man who very much wanted to be in my mother’s life.  She was such a lovely and kind person I don’t think she knew how to get rid of him. Especially without giving away her special secret.

Five months after this letter was written, the “secret” was finally revealed to all and my parents got married.  They had at last saved enough money to buy their first home together.  It was the last year that mom would teach school.  And my brother was born in April of 1946, so I hope you will forgive my mother for not having time for something as silly as writing yet another letter to her future self  in 1947, when he wasn’t yet a year old.

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My Mother Was A Dreamer (Part One)

Once again, going through old treasures, I have managed to create a brand new “page” in the family history spot on Breathing Space.  Here’s a short cut, which will save me blathering away about where you can find it, if you’re interested at all in obscure Ontario farm history.

History of the Farm

Growing up and being completely self absorbed, I totally missed seeing my mother as the wonderful young and vibrant girl she used to be.  Do any of us take the time to see our mothers in any other role besides that of ‘being MOM’ until after we’ve gone through the entire process ourselves?  Eventually we wonder whatever became of that person we used to be before life changed us into someone else.

My mom worked hard.  She was constantly busy, always doing something or going somewhere, always urging us to do things and go places and get things accomplished.  Sometimes I admired her energy.  Often I resented that she never slowed down long enough to really talk to me.  Although if she had I probably wouldn’t have listened anyway.  I spent a lot of time alone and thinking and writing in journals and dreaming about the future me – as different as night and day from my mother, is what I thought.  Turns out we were more alike than I ever imagined.

Margaret and her friend Blanche in Red Bay, circa 1937

Mom wrote a letter to her future self on her twentieth birthday. I’m so glad I found it.  I think it’s a beautiful thing to have kept all these years, because I’m sure it reminded her of who she was and made her proud of the person she became.

(page one, Febuary 17, 1937, to her future self, to be read on her 25th birthday February 17th, 1942)

To Margaret –

With a smile, I write to you – myself at twenty five.  Remember me kindly, my dream girl in your castles in the air.

It’s noon in Red Bay School.  A beautiful sunny day for my twentieth birthday.  A scattering of snow reminds one that it is winter and nothing more.  Lest you’ve forgotten let me remind you of Findlay, still eating his lunch and chatting with the others, a sandwich in one hand, an apple in the other – Isabella always moving, chattering, teasing, the best often comes in small packages.  Irene, brown eyed, interested, maybe worried but always in on everything.  George, always the same, quiet.  Betty, kind neat and attractive and soon there will be Lillian, helping and ordering.  And later Hazel, certain and dependable and kind.  The piano, The Honour Roll, our car contest, the display at the back.  Do they still bring pleasant memories to you yet?  Do you remember the dark, heavy dress, the red and white three cornered colar?  I’m wearing that.  Mrs. Reed likes it so well and it’s for tonight too.  No one knows it is my birthday.  Remember why?

Did we go to Mac and Maries?  Will we understand eachother?  Have we drifted far apart?  I’m hoping, hoping – you’ve both found happiness!

I’m reading Doctrine and Covenants, Reading friends, true ones I know, sweet happiness and maybe tears too have made me different.  Dear Pal, you haven’t changed, have you?

I dream of you and my dreams come true.  I pray that passing years on you have made a heart that’s truer gold and only noble aims enfolds, a voice that’s gentle and kind to help those whom you meet and understanding mind to meet each varied moment, and hands that strive for other’s joy.

As I look at you I shant look for beauty that is cheaply bought, but may I gaze at inward beauty shining through your eyes, your smiles, and reflected on the faces of those you love.

I hope you’ve chosen worthwhile things in life.  I don’t know what to call you.  I hope you’re still Marnie.

I’d love to ask you many things.  If you could only tell me secrets.  How I’d love to know about so many friends!  Blanche, Lena, Nina, Marie, Ettie, Oley, and oh so many more.

I wonder where you are?  Do you love to go home, the same as ever?  How changed those at home will be too.

Maybe you’d like to know how much I weigh.  I guess you’re keeping yours a secret!!?  Well I’m 137.  My hair with a couple of waves on the top, slightly shingled and just down to the ears.  My white sweater has been worn only twice, you know the Marion and Marnie one.

And now as I close the pages of a teenage reverie and enter into my twenties, I set my goal on you, my dream girl of 25.  You haven’t disappointed me, have you?  Let my theme songs “I will be true”, “I need thee every hour” and “Blest be the tie that binds” be fragrant incense which lifts me always closer to thee.

Goodbye from yourself on your twentieth birthday.