Friday, March 4, 2011

Drifted off for a minute then was suddenly 62 years old

I turned 62 in the week that the luminescent 19 year old on Bob Dylan's arm in the photograph on the cover of his The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan album, Suze Rotolo, died at 67. Myra gave me this card and a copy of his autobiography Chronicles Volume 1 (reads like rap or beat poetry; metaphors lined up and repeated to make the same point reads sometime like he's singing you one of his songs) and a 2 cd set of The Witmark Demos: 1962-1964. Raw, just Dylan, guitar, harmonica and the songs. He coughs, interupts himself with a detail or a random thought.

It was on this date in 1949 I was born in Royal Victorian Hospital across from Queen's Park. There were already 5 children at home all younger than 10. I had a 2 year old sister, a five year old brother and another sister and 2 brothers each a year apart 8, 9 and 10. My mother was no more than thirty years old, my father 40. There were 3 more babies to come, all boys. Irish Catholics in white bread loyalist Barrie Ontario. My mother fancied herself something of an artist and intellectual and grew increasingly frustrated and resentful. My father distant, defeated. Liked his drink and slightly naughty jokes. How are you: "sick in bed with 2 nurses". How old are you: "I'm farty and the wife's farty-too." -- A Catholic kid once took his Protestant buddy to church. This is when you bless yourself with the holy water, this is when you stand up, this is when you kneel down... and then, "Oh! Did you fart??" No says the Protestant kid, "Was I supposed to?"  --  I've long thought there were 3 families of 3 that made up the 9 of us. The oldest was the pride of our mother's and went on to university. The daughter became a teacher and pianist and to the delight of our father, the second boy of the first 3 was a promising hockey player who had his front teeth smashed out at a practice that could have paved his way into Junior A hockey, picked them up off the ice, packed them in a tissue and hitch-hiked home. The first born of the second 3 rebelled and drank and fought but never cracked the circle of the first 3. Achieved huge business success and died young. I've always thought that all the business success in the world wouldn't add up to making Junior A hockey in our father's eyes. The middle child of the family of 3 in which I was the youngest, the second girl with 7 brothers was born 10 years too soon or 10 years too late depending on how you look at it.