Monthly Archives: November 2012

Thursday November 1, 2012

Lynn’s Notes:

The problem was also compounded by the fact that the kids never liked those odd-coloured, molasses tasting, wax paper wrapped toffees that you only see during the last days of October — they’d always leave them for me. These ugly things are still given out at Halloween, they still taste the same, and I still like them!

Friday November 2, 2012

Lynn’s Notes:

Like so many, I would rather buy a can of pumpkin filling or purchase a whole darned ready-made pie, than go to the trouble of making one myself. In reality, I have only once cooked and eaten a pumpkin. In this one true-to-life case, I did cook our Halloween pumpkin and learned a valuable lesson: Never cook a pumpkin you’ve used as a Jack-o-lantern…it tastes like *#$%!!!

Saturday November 3, 2012

Lynn’s Notes:

There were times that I did outshine my mom-in-law, but it was not in the pie-making department. I made great casseroles, soups, and stews; she did the breads, the roasts, and the baking. Both of us were fine in the veg department, so between Ruth and myself, we provided our men-folk with some mighty fine grub. There’s nothing like two women in the kitchen — especially when they’re both a bit competitive!

Sunday November 4, 2012

Lynn’s Notes:

The original Farley really did love chewing gum. I discovered his penchant for gum when I saw him take some out of a wastebasket, work the Kleenex off it, and continue to chew for some time without swallowing. I had never seen a dog do this before, so Farley’s gum chewing became a bit of a party trick. He particularly liked Juicy Fruit — even if it had been previously enjoyed. The thing was to make sure I was there when he spat it out, or I’d have a surprise on my foot later on.

Monday November 5, 2012

Lynn’s Notes:

My mother-in-law, having been an elementary school teacher for many years, readily took on the challenge of teaching our children whatever they hadn’t been able to grasp in school. She once used a fresh pie to help Aaron learn fractions. My dad-in-law was in the room when she asked, “What do we call the biggest piece of pie?” and it wasn’t Aaron who answered but Tom who, smiling easily, said, “mine!”

Tuesday November 6, 2012

Lynn’s Notes:

My mother used to nag me to do my homework. She didn’t have to — really, it was just something she had to do. Her nagging drove me crazy. I’d get my work done, just not at the precise moment that she wanted me to! Perhaps it was her need to have everything organized and under control — or perhaps it’s because she was not allowed to finish her own education that she was so focused on homework and studying. My mom’s father didn’t believe in educating women because “they would just get married and have children and waste it all.” How unfortunate. How narrow minded he was. I hope there’s a life or two after this one and that she gets another opportunity!

Wednesday November 7, 2012

Lynn’s Notes:

Aaron was recently reminiscing about the great lunches I used to make for him; “Other kids might have a slice of cheese and some dry, white bread — but we got a great big, honking SANDWICH!” Katie didn’t share his enthusiasm; “I used to trade mine with a boy who always had sugar sandwiches.” (She’s always had a sweet tooth.) I wasn’t angry that Katie had given her lunches away — considering the poor diets of some kids, he probably needed a good, nutritious lunch more than she did.

Friday November 9, 2012

Lynn’s Notes:

When I did this drawing, I actually felt my arm waving in the air desperately wanting to answer a question — it brought me back to my grade school days. I never missed an opportunity to show off. It was always disappointing to have the teacher ask someone else, someone less energetic than myself. There is one serious drawback to being chosen after such a wild display of shoulder-wrenching arm gestures, however: If you get the answer wrong, you look pretty darned silly!!

Saturday November 10, 2012

Lynn’s Notes:

I think I see my school days through “rose coloured glasses.” I remember mostly good times, positive times with good friends and good teachers. I tend to forget the teasing, the bullying, and the tears. I’ve put aside the failures, the fiascos, and the teachers who made me want to quit. I’ve forgotten all the bad stuff and the sad stuff… and things I did that I wish, if given a chance, I’d do differently. My years in the hallowed halls now seem like the “good old days,” and perhaps that’s for the best. If I learned anything I guess I learned how to laugh at myself and be happy.

Sunday November 11, 2012

Lynn’s Notes:

I rarely saw my parents kissing. Sometimes they held hands but it was a discreet show of affection — which was quickly over if someone drew attention to it. Still, they were very romantic. They thought about each other and did things for each other easily and naturally. They were husband and wife, but they were also the best of friends. I often made fun of the two of them and their mushy ways, but in the end, I wish for all the world I could have had a marriage like theirs.

Wednesday November 14, 2012

Lynn’s Notes:

I had two nemeses in elementary school — I can still picture them. I can remember the fear I had lying awake at night knowing that I would have to face them. I was a bit of a bully in my own right; I could fight tooth and nail if I had to, and I’d win. I wouldn’t prey on just any kid, I’d go after the mean ones — the ones I thought deserved a good pummelling!

Friday November 16, 2012

Lynn’s Notes:

I loved comic books and considered myself a superhero. Not a female superhero with a huge bust, skimpy costume, and impossible sexy powers (these women were Barbies compared to me!) — I was a REAL superhero. If I saw a smaller kid being bullied by a bigger kid, I’d take the guy on — even if it meant getting my dress torn or my face bloodied. I was a fighter, and when the mood struck, the energy I could put into a good punch-up amazed me.

Saturday November 17, 2012

Lynn’s Notes:

I remember breaking a girl’s finger once, because she wouldn’t let go of my hair. The more she twisted my hair, the harder I bent her finger. Afterwards, I sported a bald patch and she wore a cast. Our parents forced us to make up. They couldn’t believe the ferocity of our battle. We were both angry kids. It took a long time before either of us realized that we weren’t angry with each other — we both were unhappy children who didn’t know how to deal with their emotions.

Sunday November 18, 2012

Lynn’s Notes:

Aaron and Katie were both independent children. Trusting and eager to explore, they enjoyed Kindergarten, Saturday art classes, junior skating, and other activities that required them to be separated from Mom and Dad for a period of time. I credit this not just to parenting but to the wonderful daycare workers, playschool teachers, babysitters, and other caregivers who worked with them during their formative years. Together, we instilled confidence in themselves and confidence in us. We were really fortunate to have such a responsible, trustworthy team of people to back us up and give the kids a healthy, enjoyable, and safe environment to grow up in.

Monday November 19, 2012

Lynn’s Notes:

There is a lot being said these days about bullies and being bullied. I was picked on pretty viciously at school and I was guilty of bullying, too. We picked on each other because of our looks, our families, our clothes, and our income. We said mean things, wrote mean things, and passed on mean information — which was mostly untrue. Why? I can only guess. The thing is, we all grew up. The kids I went to school with have all lead full lives. With the perspective that only comes with age and experience, we have faced some of the kids we bullied. We can see now who they really are and they too can get to know us. With mature understanding comes respect and I confess, misgiving. As kids, we spoiled so many chances to connect with and enjoy one another. Because we were too young, too naïve, and too selfish to see past our own need for acceptance, we lost the chance to enjoy the friendship of some truly wonderful people!

Tuesday November 20, 2012

Lynn’s Notes:

My taste in comics was much more tame than Michael’s. I loved Little Lulu. She was a real girl with ordinary looks, cool friends, and a great imagination. I also loved the Disney books — Donald and the kids and Scrooge McDuck topped the list. I wondered what Scrooge did with a house-sized bin full of money. If it was mine, I’d have given it all away. I never imagined that I’d get to know two of the Disney writers who wrote those very books…but, that’s another story!

Wednesday November 21, 2012

Lynn’s Notes:

I confess- I was a fighter. My mother suggested I try and get to know the kids I was fighting with, to try and understand them, see where they lived, find some common ground. In a couple of instances, this worked. Carol, the girl whose finger I broke, became a friend of sorts. We continued to have our differences, but with few kids our age in the neighbourhood, we eventually got along. Another truce was made with a boy called Murray, whose mother was a widow and was raising four kids. I felt sorry for him.

Friday November 23, 2012

Lynn’s Notes:

This positive little episode resulted in many letters — mostly from teachers and social workers who used these panels to illustrate things they had been trying to talk about: bullying, tolerance, and compassion. No parable here was unintended. By talking about ordinary things that happen to ordinary people, I’d often open a floodgate. So many things that should be resolved…aren’t. It was surprising to find that my work was being seen as an opening for discussion.

Saturday November 24, 2012

Lynn’s Notes:

I remember taking my mother’s advice and being nice to one of the kids I “hated.” It worked like a charm. After my enemy was certain that my efforts were genuine, the feud ended. This didn’t keep me from fighting, though. I still needed the occasional pounding… and I gave a few in return. It’s interesting to know now, having talked to some of the kids with whom I had serious differences, that we had all come from families where discipline was strong and physical. If “a pounding” was commonplace at home, then this is how we resolved our differences outside!

Sunday November 25, 2012

Lynn’s Notes:

This little snowsuit, Katie actually wore. It was one of my favourites and when I washed it, I foolishly put it in a hot dryer. It came out looking like a scraggly, matted sheep and I cried when I saw it. Kate didn’t seem to notice and happily wore it until it became too small. At the time, my mother’s creed was, “If it doesn’t go into the washer and dryer, it goes OUT!” After this, I became much more practical. I bought things that could be easily laundered, and I made sure I was aware of her favourite things. My motto was, “If it’s cute and she likes it — LOOK AFTER IT!”

Monday November 26, 2012

Lynn’s Notes:

We were lucky to have several wonderful babysitters who would come at a moment’s notice. One resource was the Clarke family and their four daughters. I remember calling at the most inopportune times, and if one of the girls couldn’t come, Loretta would take the baby herself! I would do anything for her as well, which is what good friends do. She and I have been close for over 30 years!