Vignette For A November Birthday

New Baby Girl

My brother is twelve, I am nine, and my little sister is six.  We are playing a noisy board game at the kitchen table, waiting for our parents to come home with the new baby.  My brother is appalled that it’s just another girl when he so fervently wished for a brother.  I’m happy I’ll no longer be the only middle child, and excited to help look after her.  We don’t know how Ann feels about the situation because she hasn’t said much, but we are about to find out.

We think it’s odd when there’s a loud knocking on the farmhouse door.  If it’s our parents surely they would walk right in, and we aren’t expecting any other visitors.  Ann jumps up and runs to investigate.  We hear the door open and immediately slam shut.  Who was it? Who was there? we ask her.  She plunks herself back down, frowns and folds her arms.  NOBODY, she says.

But the door is opened up again and mom and dad are suddenly there in the hallway in their winter coats, stomping the snow off their boots.  They’ve apparently had second thoughts about the planned surprise grand entrance in which all of us were supposed to let them in with a warm welcome and open arms.  They come into the kitchen and Mom carefully unwraps her big pink bundle so that my brother and I can have our first peek at the new arrival.  Ann is looking quite cross and kicking the table leg.

Why did you say it was nobody? Don’t you want to see the baby? Oh, look, she’s all red and wrinkly and she has lots of black hair!  Come see her, she’s so cute!

Ann still refuses to budge.  THAT BABY IS NOT SITTING AT MY PLACE AT THE TABLE she announces.  I roll my eyes. Her place at the table is beside our dad.  She refuses to sit anywhere else.  I tell her it will be months before the baby is big enough to sit anywhere and wonder why she’s being a brat.

But Dad gives her a big bear hug and tells her she has nothing at all to worry about.  No one but our little Annie gets to sit in that very special place. Her arms unfold and the hint of a smile crosses her face as she relents, and leans in to look at her tiny rival for the very first time.  She tells the baby she’s sorry about the door.

But she will never give in about her place at the table.  Never.  We can all see the firm resolution written all over her stern little face.

Just Jazzy 133

“With mirth and laughter let old wrinkles come.”   
(William Shakespeare)

Live it up!  Every day is somebody's birthday.  Every day of your life there's something to celebrate.

Live it up! Every day it’s somebody’s birthday somewhere. Every day of your life there’s something new to celebrate, even if it’s simply that another glorious day has been added to your life.

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Today is W’s 65th birthday.  Imagine being married to someone so damned OLD!  And both of us still crazy after all these years.

Pink Shoelaces

Pink Shoelaces

Pink Shoelaces (Photo credit: CraigSnedeker)

This morning I “Liked” a page on Facebook called Groovy Reflections.  “Peace, Love Grooviness. Groovy Reflections™ is dedicated to the celebration of life and song. Our greatest wish is that everyone can find peace in their lives and in their hearts.” 

Well, how in the world could I NOT like that?

Next thing I know there’s a link on my news feed for this video by Dodie Stevens who celebrates her 67th birthday today.  Happy Birthday Dodie!  If you don’t know who Dodie Stevens is, you are about to find out.  I don’t remember ever hearing her name before (although I’m sure I must have) but I KNOW ALL THE WORDS TO THIS SONG!  Isn’t the memory a strange and wonderful thing.

Now I’ve got a guy and his name is Dooley He’s my guy and I love him truly He’s not good lookin’, heaven knows But I’m wild about his crazy clothes

He wears tan shoes with pink shoelaces A polka dot vest and man, oh, man Tan shoes with pink shoelaces And a big Panama with a purple hat band

He takes me deep-sea fishing in a submarine We go to drive-in movies in a limousine He’s got a whirly-birdy and a 12-foot yacht Ah, but that’s not all he’s got

He’s got tan shoes with pink shoelaces A polka dot vest and man, oh, man Tan shoes with pink shoelaces And a big Panama with a purple hat band

Now Dooley had a feelin’ we were goin’ to war So he went out and enlisted in a fightin’ corps But he landed in the brig for raisin’ such a storm When they tried to put him in a uniform

He wanted tan shoes with pink shoelaces A polka dot vest and man, oh, man He wanted tan shoes with pink shoelaces And a big Panama with a purple hat band

Now one day Dooley started feelin’ sick And he decided that he better make his will out quick He said “Just before the angels come to carry me I want it down in writin’ how to bury me.”

Wearin’ tan shoes with pink shoelaces A polka dot vest and man, oh, man Give me tan shoes with pink shoelaces And a big Panama with a purple hat band

My musical tastes are so stuck in the 60’s and 70’s it’s kind of scary.  But how amazingly delightful is this, to see Dodie Stevens some 40 years later, still looking and sounding great.

Obviously I’m enjoying a wonderful, peaceful, lazy, do-nothing kind of Sunday afternoon.  Hope you are too.

Thirty Three Words for Trifecta

Taking the (weekend) Trifecta Challenge for the first time – exactly 33 words of dialogue.

Birthday Cake

Birthday Cake (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 “You know what?  Turning sixty-four is not so bad.”

“Really?” 

“Yeah, when you consider today is my Aunt Edith’s hundredth birthday.”

“Wow, you have aunts who are still alive?”

“Well….just barely….”

trifecta button

Pictures From Moms Kitchen (Part Four)

This was the most special of occasions, because it was the only time we ever celebrated our daughters July birthday at the farm.  Our son has his birthday in February and we were never off to Ontario at that time of year.  But you don’t have to be the guest of honor to have a good time.

I’m just here for the hat and the food.

Make a wish! Ask for one of these awesome Gretzky shirts!

Hanging out on my birthday with my baby cousin and the headless man.

Oh. My. Gawd. Getting money for your birthday is the Best. Thing. Ever.

Time marches on, the kids keep growing up, the bricks days are numbered and will be coming down.  Yes, sadly, no longer will we pose in front of the faux brick background.  The wallpaper gets replaced, along with the orange curtains and the orange back splash.  On to a lighter and brighter tomorrow.

The great meals and the card games continued, but our family showed up less and less often – that’s what happens when you live far away. The rest of the family was nice enough to send us photos.  And nice enough NOT to say look at all the fun we’re having without you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mom and Dad loved to play cards, and UNO was a game that even the littlest guy could play. (In that last picture, does he not look like he’s never had quite so much fun ever before in his entire life?)  When there were so many people around the table and so many skips and reverses, you could stare off into space or take a quick nap before the play ever came around to you again.   These get togethers and card games went on until finally there were those among us who grew wise enough to win against grandpa.  Well, sometimes, anyway.

There was a new house, a new location, a new kitchen, but the games went on.  There are some things you never want to outgrow.

Ophiuchus? Really?

Yesterday was my birthday, the 13th of May.  I had a brief panic attack, which surprisingly enough had nothing to do with my age.  It’s all this nonsense about a thirteenth sign of the Zodiac. And a perfect example of a little knowledge being a dangerours thing.  And jumping to conclusions being stupid.  And stuff like that.

Turns out it’s a technically inaccurate description of Ophiuchus when it’s being called a ‘sign’ of the zodiac, although the public misconception dates back to the 1970’s  and a misunderstanding about the differences between the Tropical and Sidereal Zodiacs, and the Parazodiacal Constellations.  Which, when you think about it, is not that hard to imagine happening with all this astronomical gobbledegook being thrown about as if we’re all supposed to understand what the hell they’re going on about.  I blame it entirely on the stars and the planets which don’t seem to remember from year to year how to keep themselves properly aligned.  According to Wikipedia “the irregular astronomical demarcation of visible constellations does not relate to the separate frame of reference provided by the equally spaced twelve-fold longitude division of the ecliptic into zodiacal signs.”  So we all need to calm down.

My alarm was caused by suddenly noticing a discrepancy in the dates.  By the Tropical (Western) Zodiac I’m still a Taurus, but by the Sidereal (Eastern or Hindu) Zodiac and the Constellation calculations I’m Aries.  Inconceivable.  No offense to Aries people, but seriously, I am nothing like you.  Even on the cusp, I do not share your traits.

Adventurous.  Not even remotely.  If you ever ask me “Where’s your sense of adventure?”  your question will be met with a blank stare.

Ambitious.  Huh.  Not really.  I strive not so much for success as for creature comforts.  I am ambitiously involved in the pursit of laziness and inertia.  With a less than normal  level of enthusiasm.

Impulsive.  Rarely.  Everything I do requires thought and planning.  Sometimes to the point where nothing much at all gets accomplished because the thought and planning hasn’t yet ended.  Maybe it never will.

Impatient.  Never.  I am the most patient person on the face of the earth.  I can wait you out no matter what.  Let’s just wait and see what happens is always the relentless phrase in the back of my head.

Self-reliant.  Well sort of, I suppose.  But I’d never refuse help.  And if you want to do whatever it is on your own for my benefit, that’s certainly fine with me.

Undiplomatic.  Quite the opposite, actually.  I will do just about anything to avoid conflict. I will knock myself out to see the other person’s point of view.

Then there are the Taurean traits which (in some cases unfortunately) describe me a whole lot better.

Stubborn.  Sigh.  Yes.  Just because I’m diplomatically seeing your point of view and smiling and nodding like I get it, doesn’t mean I’ll ever change my mind about anything.  Because I’m always right.  Just ask W.  And if he says no, he’s obviously lying.

Dependable.  Yes, I am reliable and responsible to the point of boring everyone to tears.

Persistent.  Yep,  In an elephant never forgets sort of way. In for the long haul.  Stick in the mud forever without end.

Materialistic and Possessive.  I admit it’s true.  I do like lots of things. I like lots of things to be mine.  I prefer that you do not borrow my things.  In fact don’t even touch them.

Affectionate.  Of course. It almost goes without saying.  Doesn’t all of the above make it sound like I’m just bursting with love and kindness and benevolence and magnanimity?  Well, I can be sentimental and emotional.  It’s the same thing, isn’t it?

What it all boils down to is the fact that I am not adventurous or impulsive enough to embrace a different zodiac with altered dates after all these years of stubbornly and persistently believing myself to be a Taurus through and through.  If I ever move to India perhaps I will have to accept the Sidereal one which tells me I’m Aries, but since that’s not ever going to happen in this lifetime, I’ll just carry on and wait for the next one and then see what happens.

And if you think you might be an Ophiuchus (November 29th to December 17th) chances are you’re still a Scorpio or a Sagittarius here in the real world and some hot shot astrological buff is just pulling your chain.

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.

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.