Saturday, September 15, 2007

August 1958

Clockwise from upper left: Aunt Evelyn, me in Mom's arms, Aunt Ede, Aunt Lil, Uncle Jock and in the middle, my brother Jim.
Bizarrely, I can remember this visit. My Aunt Evelyn and Uncle Bill (Dad's brother) were visiting from Detroit with their daughter, Wanda, and one of her friends. The car in the photo is their station wagon.
One night, a bunch of us piled into it (no seat belts in those days) and went to a drive-in movie. I would have been 20 months old, so being outside after dark was pretty exciting. My parents weren't the type to drag us kids around till all hours.
I can remember being small enough to be able to walk around in the back of the station wagon and looking at all the lights. My mother kept encouraging me to lay down and go to sleep (bedtime was cast in stone in her mind) and I distinctly remember thinking, "Are you crazy? This is too exciting!"
For years I thought I'd been about 4 or 5 when this happened and it wasn't until I was reminiscing with my mother and I described the trip to the drive-in and she said I couldn't possibly remember it as I would have been only a toddler. Then she produced this picture and I realized how young I was when it happened.
This picture brings back so many memories. That's our summer house in the background. Just a little place, but we'd move there when school let out and stay the whole summer. Dad would transfer from the main veteran's hospital, where he was an electrician, to the rehabilitation centre (physical rehab, not drug rehab) as it was closer to the summer house. The river was within walking distance and we roamed the woods all summer long. I'd set out in the morning with a T-shirt and shorts over my bathing suit, towel flung over my shoulder and as long as I was back in time for supper, everyone was happy. There were blueberries, raspberries, blackberries and wild strawberries to snack on. It was fabulous. I don't think my two have ever had that kind of freedom.
The trees on the right are birch and there was a hammock under them. I can remember hot sunny days, laying on the hammock daydreaming and listening to the breeze rustle the leaves. I have three birch trees in my backyard now and listening to the sound of them still takes me back to being a kid.
Aunt Evelyn was responsible for my lifelong hatred of apricots. She catered for a synagogue in Detroit and used to cook dishes when she visited that I'd probably enjoy now, but hated as a kid. Too fancy and weird foods I hadn't encountered. Like most kids I didn't have a very adventurous palate. I remember being forced to eat some of a dessert as a kid that was made from apricots. I genuinely hated it and still can't eat apricots.
While I hated apricots, Aunt Ede hated kids. Probably a result of having been the second oldest of eight kids. No doubt she'd had her fill of kids by the time she was an adult. All I knew as a kid was that she didn't much enjoy having us around, although she was never outright mean to us.
Aunt Lil was the family femme fatale. She'd been through two husbands by the time I came along. She was far more style-conscious than most and fond of opera and such. My dad always said she "gilded the lily," which was the opposite of him. A more down-to-earth man you've never met. I've never forget her telling a story of a childhood skiing party and making it sound very glamourous. Until Dad chimed in and added that their skis had been barrel staves and no one could stay up for more than 5 minutes on those things.
Uncle Jock was a dear. He was a very quiet man. He'd had a difficult childhood, orphaned quite young in Scotland, he was sent to Canada as a "home child." He was married to Aunt Ede (poor man, she could be a terror) and they never had kids. He was a bit awkward around me but would always listen carefully to me while the other adults would only give you half an ear.
And my brother. What can I say. He tortured me in true big brother style.


Blogger Richard said...

I can't abide apricots either.

September 16, 2007 at 8:29 p.m.  
Anonymous edt said...

loves apricots ;)

September 16, 2007 at 8:41 p.m.  
Blogger The Wrath of Dawn said...

Apricots... *shudders*

September 17, 2007 at 9:39 a.m.  
Blogger Ricardipus said...

I'll bet they were stewed.

Stewed apricots = living death.

Dried apricots = tasty, tasty, sticky sweet goodness.

That's the universe explained, then.

September 17, 2007 at 2:54 p.m.  
Blogger #Debi said...

Sorry R'pus, but

dried apricots=hairy, gummy grossness

I'm just sayin'...

qxvetso: the sound made when spitting out a mouthful of apricots, dried or stewed...

September 18, 2007 at 7:32 a.m.  

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