May 7: Pensive

Today I was witness to a woman, poor thing, the moment she received news of her husband's sudden death. There was nothing good about it. It was so powerful, it erased the day's memories.

If anything good came of it, it made me pensive. Thoughts of my family. Here are some highlights. (To my sibs, special post for you three forthcoming...)

The men:

1. My dad taught me the value of a straight line. Years in a darkroom with a papercutter, or metal rulers + X-Acto knives, have rendered me scissorless for life. This was of utmost importance when I eventually ended up in art school.

2. My uncle always gave me beautiful gifts wrapped in ugly packaging. The meaning was not lost on me. Then he'd say (and still does), ‘You got it, Pontiac.’ A North American car thing?

3. After stopping at a Ukrainian bakery on Sundays after church to get rye bread (always sliced), my grandfather and I would sit on a bench in the park overlooking the Humber River, watching subway trains coming and going at Old Mill station far below.

The women:

3. Močiutė (grandmother) and Aldona would often take two of us on weekends. In between Lithuanian dictations, housecleaning and classic films on TV, repeated reminders: ‘Don't read good books! Read the best books.’

2. Aldona (my great aunt) always brought us Time magazines. A very matter-of-fact lady, she and Močiutė had no time for our snivelling. ‘One day you'll have a reason to shed tears.’

1. I better save some for Mother's Day. But what is it Mothers always say? Yup, ‘Life's not fair.’