Archive | February, 2009

Cherry Blossom

9 Feb

We pad down the street
in our bare feet, my brother and I.
We walk down through the ditch
and up over the tracks
to the little drug store
that would later be the Cotton Cafe.

I choose the only one
in a neat square yellow box
wrapped in silver foil.

I hold it properly, upside down,
and let my teeth sink in.
I find the sweet red juice
and the too sweet cherry.

When we’d arrive home,
the only evidence left
would be our black soles.


Happy Birthday to Me!

6 Feb

For the graduate course I took in literacy last semester I had to write a short autobiography introducing myself. I wrote about where I live and what I do, and a bit about my family. It was vague to say the least. Now I’m taking the second part of the same course and we were asked to analyze our autobiographies and discuss what was excluded from the first. I thought this might be a fun thing to share with you on my birthday…

I’m not even sure where to begin. Obviously there is so much more to who I am than what I’ve shared. I could go back to birth and tell you that I was a breech baby. I could tell you that after my brother was born I was convinced that my bum was “broke”. Would it interest you to know that as a child I prayed for freckles and blonde hair like my cousin Lisa? My mother told me that if God wanted me to have freckles and blonde hair he’d give them to me, and I told her the next day that God said he’d give me blonde hair but she had to take me to the hairdresser.

Perhaps sharing a little bit about what I remember of grade school would let you know me better? My first grade teacher hit me over the head with a ruler on a regular basis. In second grade my cousin Cathy and I got kicked out of class for passing a cereal box pencil holder back and forth. I spent much of the third grade worried about a project that I had crumpled and hidden in the back of my desk because I didn’t complete it. I peed my pants in forth grade because my teacher would not allow me to be excused to the bathroom. Isn’t interesting how my memories of elementary school are bad ones?

In seventh grade I had a love-hate relationship with the boy who had his locker next to mine, so I smashed his head with my locker door every chance I got. In ninth grade I ran for class treasurer but did not win. I started dating my ex-husband. I feel like I missed major parts of what I was supposed to experience in high school and university because I was too wrapped up in this relationship.

The best part of my ten year marriage to my ex was having my two beautiful children. My daughter will be a teenager next week, and my son will hit double-digits in the spring. I met my current husband on the internet shortly after my failed marriage ended and we had a long distance relationship between small town eastern Canada, and metropolitan New Jersey for a couple of years. He moved here to be with me and the kids, and we were married in 2004. Does it help to know that I now know the meaning of a marriage between equals that includes mutual respect and love?

All of this doesn’t even scratch the surface. I could share with you bits and pieces of my spiritual journey. I could share the joy I found in my faith as a teenager or I could tell you how my beliefs caused me to stay in a toxic relationship far longer than I should have. I left out information about my physical appearance, with the exception of the extremely small thumbnail image on my profile.

You didn’t hear it from me that I was diagnosed with type II diabetes after my second child was born and that it has taken my nine years to get serious about it. You didn’t know until now that I swam competitively as young teenager, but my parents encouraged me to quit because it conflicted with church time. I still blame this lack of necessary exercise as a teen on much of my weight gain in high school and university. (My parents do too.) I didn’t tell you that my self-improvement plan doesn’t just involve getting my masters but that I’m also on a weight loss journey where I’ve lost 30 of the total 85 pounds I need to lose to be healthy. Or, that I have found the love of exercise again at my local YMCA.

I told you where I teach and how long I’ve been teaching there, but I didn’t tell you that those six years were split up by a two year stint at a rural school an hour away where I landed my permanent contract that allowed me to apply for a transfer back to the high school that is two minutes from my home. I didn’t tell you that when I started teaching I taught BBT (Broad Based Technology) not English. I didn’t tell you that often I wish I was still teaching BBT because it was nearly turn-key, especially compared to teaching high school English.

One of my classmates broke down her autobiography by the decades of her life. I think I’ll wait until I’m forty to write that one.

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