Sarah Selecky’s Little Bird and My 1963 Corvair

white 63 Corvair

Sarah Selecky is an accomplished author who amongst other things writes prompts for aspiring writers.  She also hosts Little Bird Writing Contest that you will find here.  I am as usual a day late – well almost a week late in starting – and a dollar short, a saying I seem to be using a lot of this time of year.  So I decided to give it a try.

Now the idea is to read a prompt and then take 10 minutes to write it in a notebook.  By the end of the month you can submit a story from the lot, or several stories to Sarah who then has a judge (this year it is Alix Ohlin) choose a winner.

We may not want to post what we write, but my first story in ten minutes is something that I want to share.  I wrote it in ten minutes and have not done any editing yet, which of course is the idea of the whole thing.

1963 Corvair

Prompt:

Write a scene using the name of your first car you remember. In 10 minutes.

My mother was on the phone talking to her family in Scotland.  I was thirteen at the time and we were excitedly waiting for my father to return with our very first brand new car.

I looked anxiously out of the large picture window to the front driveway waiting for my father, and the car.  Brand new.  What would it look like?  What would it smell like?  My parents had only told us this morning and we were more excited that a three year old waiting for Santa.

Mum, he’s here, pulling in the driveway.  Oh it’s beautiful, I didn’t know it was white.  Mum hurry, get off the phone, you are going to miss all the excitement.”

I figured we would never get this exact moment again and I so wanted her, needed her to get off the damn phone.  She knew how important this was to my father.  Get off the phone, I silently screamed at her.

Mum turned her back to me and spoke hurriedly and all quiet like into the old black dial phone.  What could be so important, I thought, and quickly came to the conclusion that nothing, nothing on  earth was more important that this event.  Why was she taking so long?

Dad was now getting out of the car, its big wide door swung open.  The four other younger children were running around, squealing, jumping and touching everything inside and outside the car.

Mum finally, after what seemed an eternity hung up and stared quietly and unmoving at the floor.  She took a deep breath and finally looked at me, finally acknowledging my presence that she seemed to try to ignore only moments ago.  She did not speak for a bit, just looked at me as I kept looking past her to the wonderful scene in the front drive.

Raising a family of five on a working man’s wages meant we didn’t get a lot of new things including clothes that were often hand-me-downs. This was an occasion.

Mom walked over to the window then turned to me and said, “Chris, this is your father’s day.  Don’t tell him about the phone call.  Let him enjoy this day.”

Confused I asked exactly what the phone call had been.

“My twin sister, Ellen, just died in Scotland.  I will  tell your dad later.”

Putting her shoulders back, and lifting her head, she pasted on a smile and stepped out unto the front porch embracing the happiness of the celebration.

I don’t think I have seen such an unselfish act since.

My cousin in Scotland mentioned the other day of March 3rd that my Mom has been gone for 30 years and her Mom the identical twin has been gone for 50 years.

FITFS Barb19 Passionate About Pets and People Australian Style

Well happy Friday everyone!  Fridays are my favorites and all week long I look forward to Following In The FootSteps of someone I admire here in Blog Land.  Someone that I would like, in some small way emulate.  And today it is all about Barb Taylor who truly is passionate about pets and people and I think about everything that lives.

Our Barb is originally from the UK and after some serious world travels (having lived in Germany, Singapore, America and Australia) she settled down on the east coast of sub-tropical Australia.

Like me, she seems to have  started this blog back in January 2011 and committed to postaweek at the encouragement of a friend.  Her second post pretty much encapsulates her philosophy.  She said, “

A hundred years from now,

it will not matter the sort of house I lived in,

what my bank account was, or the car I drove . . .

but the world may be different

because I was important

in the life of animals and the creatures of this earth.

Are You Iimportant in the Life of an Animal?
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
©passionateaboutpets.wordpress.com

From that wonderful platform Barb has given us all sorts of treasures about dogs, chickens, dingos, joeys, kangaroos, whales, and even wasps.  And there is more!

The very first time I discovered Barb was waaaay back when she posted on the Town she grew up in called Peebles.  I was so excited because I had just recently returned from Scotland so knew the area she talked about. (I left her more than one comment that day)

March 10th, 2011 ‘I was in Peebles a couple of years ago..just a Canadian girl visiting her mom’s native land…it is beautiful. My Mum was from Gorebridge.  Love the country..love the people and proud to have some of that fine Scots blood in me,
Christine’ 

So I am talking addiction here.  The kind you cannot shake -thank goodness-

As we, in Canada, face the coming fall and winter, Barb is sailing into spring and coming summer.

In September that year she and her hubby flew off to her homeland where she saw her brother for the first time in 25 years.

She is very proud of her adopted country – Australia – and there is a wealth of information about it in her posts.  Matter of fact there is a wealth of information about the world in general.  Living true to her philosophy she is indeed -

important in the life of animals and the creatures of this earth.

Actually I believe she is important in more lives than she realizes.

Passionate About Pets and People Australian Style

Please do stop by to visit, to learn, to feel.  And do say hi or leave a comment or two.  **I so wanted to throw in something about putting shrimp on the barbie since it is a comment linked to Australia and BBQs but just couldn’t work it in anywhere!

Scottish Invasion Recedes, Next Step Winterpeg

Well, Monday and ‘Oh the Plots We Weave’ has come and gone.  Not much news to have fun with anyway around here in these suddenly less summery and more autumny kind of days.  As my friend Celi called it yesterday in her post ‘that gentle late summer slide.’

There have been body parts showing up in the Mississauga and Toronto area and the school teachers may end up going on strike (again) which will delay the start of the school year but no wonderful ‘what ifs’ to get from any of that.

Our fave cuz has returned to Scotland taking with her some fine memories and leaving a strange void which will take time to get over.  This dear gracious woman left Saturday past to race back in hopes of enjoying some remnant bit of summer that had eluded her until she arrived here.  Well not entirely true.  After a couple of months of daily rain showers on the home front she looked forward to the 30 degree heat wave we boasted. Until the day her plane set down in Toronto bringing with it our very first thunderstorm of the season.  The funniest part was the morning she awoke, checked FB to see her son had written that it was nice to wake up and not have his sunburn hurt.  It seemed old Sol made an appearance just as she left.

Actually the weather was pretty good here and did not rain on our parade too much and it sure was nice some of that brown earth actually turned green and at times lush.

So now here on the mountain I get ready to leave to visit friends in Winnipeg and will fly out early evening for 8 days.  Now Winnipeg  is the capital of Manitoba just less than a thousand miles to the west of us. They have branded themselves ( according to one site) as the cultural cradle of the country.  I am not sure that is entirely the case – whether it is more so or less so than a hundred other locations in Canada.  The French were the first settlers in 1738 and named it Fort Rouge.  Almost a hundred years later it was renamed Fort Garry and finally after 150 years of messing around between the First Nations, the Metis, the French and the British it became Winnipeg in1873, which is a much better name since it so easily converts to its winter ID – Winterpeg.  Wikipedia states that Winnipeg is the coldest city in the world with a population of over 600,000 based on the average night-time temperature from December to February, inclusive.

It is of course my intention to be and gone before any suggestion of winter winds appear.  I have not seen, (other than Skype) these dear friends for more than a year.

Posting may be sporadic – but I will be thinking of  you and post as soon as…..

Oh by the by …my friend Joss is preparing for a big exam please do stop by and cheer her on!

Imperfect Memories

If you knew you only had a few days or a few months to live, what would you do with that time?  This thought has been on my mind lately and I can’t figure out if it is something to seriously consider or if it is an excuse to not do other things that wait for my attention.  But by devoting time for this one can only hope that one thing will lead to another and I do like to multitask so…

I am a few months short of my sixty-fifth birthday and realize that just having outlived my parents I am not sure of my own longevity.  It’s hard to beat your genes.  Who would I like to read this story?  Certainly my children and the rest of my family but there is a danger in sharing with my brothers and sisters as I have discovered each of us has a different memory of a past event which just goes to prove the old idea of the truth being completely subjective and perhaps nonexistent in its purest form.  I know I have posted on this blog memories of events and my brother and sister have pointed out a different or corrected version (very kindly of course).  This is probably a good thing as they are younger than I so perhaps their minds are a little fresher.

Distant memory in particular is colored by what we think happened and our ensuing experiences and emotions.  And of course we choose to believe or remember a specific thing or occurrence according to our own mind.  One of my brothers believes my grandparents did not own their home because he remembers seeing a box with rent receipts after they died.  He may have forgotten that at least one offspring and family lived in that house with them continually for many years and yes they all paid rent.  That included my parents, two aunts and several others for shorter periods of time.  So he, my brother, would swear on a stack of bibles that they never owned that house even though the family sold it after Grandpa’s death.  Fortunately my one living paternal aunt can verify this and explains that she was fourteen when she had to quit school to stay home and look after her younger brother and sister so my grandmother could get a job to make money to buy the house which they purchased when my dad was overseas.

This is one of the reasons I tend to avoid reading famous people’s autobiographies – just too subjective.  So if you are reading this little story and share memories of the past with me, please understand this is my recollection and while I will strive to be accurate it just can’t be more than my own mind and heart will let it be.

My dad joined the army when he was seventeen, and yes he was underage, but it was 1941 and the Second World War was raging so a lot of youngsters were allowed to enlist as age wasn’t questioned much.  We have a couple of letters  that he sent home when he was posted overseas and one letter from his younger brother who I think was only fourteen at the time.  I will dig them out and scan them for the record and will tell you more about that at a later time.

I think now and then about the sort of things I want my children to know about such as old wood stoves that baked pies and cakes and wonderful homemade stews and soups, old dial black telephones and numbers that began with words or initials.  Our phone number was Sherwood 2—2 and the Sherwood was dialed as SH so the number in fact was 742—-2.  (Naturally I have the exact number in the family version but it would not be a good idea to publish it in the event someone else now has that number).  Everyone in those days was on a party line, so if you wanted to make a call you first picked up the receiver to be sure the line was clear.  Mind you at any time a neighbor could pick up their phone and listen in and if they were skilled at making the click very quiet you would never know.  I suppose if you were of the paraniod persuasion clicks were heard when no one was there.  People did not use the phone unless it was necessary.  There was no idle chatter.  There was also no such thing as cordless, caller ID, or speaker.  Oh, and no such thing as colors.  It was black and very heavy as I remember.

The one below is exactly like ours and everyone else’s for that matter.

 

There were no phone jacks that lines plugged into so if the cord was snapped from the wall you had to call the phone company to come in and repair it.  Now I must qualify the not using the phone unless it was necessary part.  I do recall vaguely the odd Saturday when our parents were out making prank calls that generally went, “Hello, is your refrigerator running? Well you better run after it!”  We just dialed numbers randomly and have no idea who we contacted and they sure could not trace us.

It is my intention not to reveal any family skeletons as such; at least I think I will not, as many of those old bones are not mine to share.  Neither will I necessarily whitewash things but the memories are pretty happy nostalgic ones.  I guess we will just have to wait and see as layers of the dusty past are removed.  I have also decided that I will not try to stay on a chronological path as memories seem to pop up in a rather irregular fashion and that is how they will be recorded.  I’ve tried the chronological thing in the last couple of years and it drives me bonkers.

My folks were married in Scotland and she being a war bride followed him here to Kitchener Ontario a few months after his return.  I have spoken with my aunt who is my mom’s younger sister and the last of that family of siblings and my aunt who is the last remaining member of my dad’s siblings and have asked as many questions as I could about their youth and what they remember.  As both are well into their eighties the memories are very subjective but amazingly detailed.  Besides what are memories if they have to be objective?  The full flavor of life is in the personal bias of it all.  That’s where the fun comes in!

Well now that I have that all straightened out I shall ponder a little more and then get down to some real work.  I won’t share every record of history with you but when the little oddities such as telephones pop up I will keep you in mind.

 

And The Winner is…New Zealand!

I heard on the radio yesterday that a survey was done to determine the friendliest country in the world and New Zealand was the winner. This does not surprise me in the least – right Judith and Cecilia? – and I was pretty happy for my friends.
I do have an issue with surveys and wonder about the second third and fourth runner ups. (Canada was third, the USA fourth and I think South Africa was second).
I know how friendly Scotland and The Netherlands is, so I would like to know exactly how the survey was compiled. Was every country rated? I’ll bet lots of you know countries that could or should have been top rated.
CONGRATS NZ!!!

Castle to Dubai=Checkmate -Winning Moves

 
Wisdom comes to us in many forms. It may be an epiphany, gut, inspirational, learned, or it may be the pure luck of finding wise women and men who cross our paths and we in our own wisdom are smart enough to linger and learn.
 
There are a lot of purveyors of wisdom out there. Most make sense although not always, most are inspiring but not always and a few actually emulate what they preach. A few walk the walk, talk the talk and believe, not just telling us but showing us, living the message, not preaching the message.

Susan is

 
These unique individuals live the ‘Why’ of Simon Sinek knowing it is not just the ‘what’ or the ‘how’ of what we do but the why and being able to communicate the why. (check him out on Youtube)
 
Susan Castle is Susan The Coach at susanthecoach.wordpress.com and at
www.outwiththedots.com .

Susan is

 
Having the privilege of handing out awards of recognition to fifteen people over the next couple of weeks I have taken a little twist on tradition by listing seven things about each awardee. I wouldn’t know where to begin for fear of minimizing the greatness contained there in.
 
Instead I have copied a comment Susan sent to me regarding my post on integrating into a new culture, which really has nothing to do with empowering people…to unconventional wisdom, but is a good introduction to Susan the person. No crazy hype here just wisdom on becoming. If you do just one nice thing for yourself today then click on the links.
 
Submitted on 2011/06/29 at 3:48 am
Moving to Dubai from Edinburgh was a huge culture shock but not as hard as it could have been because, even though its not the official language (Arabic is), English (or at least some form of it) is the universal language here! I arrived in July to temperatures of 46 degrees centigrade, on the day I left Scotland it was hovering soggily just above 10!! At least the sogginess was familiar – humidity was over 75%!
The great thing about Dubai is that 85% of the people here are expats – we’re all in the same boat so for the most part everyone is very open to new friendships. The less great thing is if you’re not careful you can end up stuck in a group of your compatriots and never really experience the wonderful diversity that Dubai offers.

Susan is

 
Congratulations Susan for being consistently Versatile, Stylish and Irresistible!

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