Friday, October 06, 2006

More past life stories

I’ve been sitting in bed, notebook on my lap (when did we stop calling portable computers “laptops” by the way?), trying to write. Futile efforts.

I managed to upload 15 CDs to my notebook while wondering what to write about… productive time? Not so much. But I now have 6503 songs I can listen to while I don’t work… when I can’t write…

Looking around my room… I have an amazing b&w photograph above my dresser. It’s of me when I was probably three years old, circa 1969. I’m licking white cake batter from an electric egg beater. The batter is all over my face!

The photo was taken by my aunt Karen, of whom “we do not speak.” At least, we do not speak of her (or her sister Eleanor) when my dad is around. Silly family stuff from 15 years ago… Anyway, looking at that photo, and seeing how easy it was yesterday to find a web reference to uncle Peter (the Very Reverend), I thought I’d see if I could have any success tracking down old aunt Karen through Google.

I have great memories of Karen. She's younger than my dad. And very cool. She taught me to drive when I was 14 by letting me boot around Selby Lake in her Toyota. She was (is?) a fabulous photographer and had a darkroom in my grandmother’s house. Aunt Karen was a perpetual student, as I recall. And worked for the government… her middle name is Louise…

Google: “Karen Louise.” Hits! Mmmm… a transvestite… a chef… lots of Karen Louise’s in the UK… no Karen's with PhDs in Canada. A wash. Rats.

I tried her older sister, my Aunt Eleanor. First memory of Eleanor to pop into my head: ironing bed-sheets with this 100-year old, cylinder iron-thing that was as large as a garbage can laying on its side. The cylinder turned and drew the sheets under a press… I thought it was so cool as a kid. As an adult, though, I have to say I think Aunt Eleanor must have been one very bored house-wife to iron bed-sheets… No matches for Aunt Eleanor.

Eleanor’s oldest son, Andrew. Last I heard, over a decade ago, he was a paramedic in the Ottawa area… nothing for him.

How about Chris? The cousin I used to burn Tonka trucks with? Chris managed to follow his childhood dream of playing football. I still remember Ian Mofford, a Montreal Allouette from the 70s. He was so cute to a 13-year old country girl. And he was a friend of Chris’s dad, my Uncle Bob… A-ha! Contact info for a Chris who is the head coach of the Nepean Redskins’ midget team. That would be him!

Now what? I have a phone number and an email address. I’m 100% certain that this Chris is my cousin who I haven’t seen or talked to ... probably since the funeral in September 1991. Well… I won’t call him now, given it’s midnight in Vancouver, 3:00 AM in Ottawa

Email. Non-threatening. If he would rather I remain a memory, easy enough to ignore me… but what to write to my favourite childhood cousin, so many years estranged?

Hi Chris, burned any toy trucks lately?

Think I’ll sleep on this. But tomorrow, I’ll send him a note.

Hmmm… Cousin Chris! Cool!

4 Comments:

Blogger G. said...

I always find it strange reconnecting with people from the past. A good friend with whom I was reaquainted with a couple of years ago reminded me that time and distance has no impact on the love that people share. A little Hallmark-cardish? Yes, but true nontheless.

As for my relatives, I'm from a small family, and I know where everyone is, most of the time. Sometimes it makes me thankful for my friends, because you can't choose your family.

Happy Thanksgiving.

October 07, 2006  
Blogger Donna said...

My family is small, too: just mom, dad, younger sis, little bro, my son and one ex-husband... man.. if Chris replies and I reconnect to the family I lost touch with... I'll be doubling my relatives in one feel swoop... with no need for fertility drugs or adoption. Sure hope he replies... that would be a good Thanksgiving!

October 07, 2006  
Blogger Greg Mills said...

WELL? We're waiting!

October 11, 2006  
Blogger Donna said...

Well, it's a happy ending/new beginning. Cousin Chris replied to my email and caught me up with his past 20 years of life. He asked if he could pass along my contact info to the rest of his family and next thing I knew... a lovely 45-minute conversation with Aunt Eleanore, who turns 70 in a month or so... she said that my getting in touch was the best Thanksgiving gift she could ask for. How lovely is that?

Now, of course, I wonder if my dad will still talk to me, for reconnecting to the sister he doesn't have...

October 11, 2006  

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