Our House was Built on Stilts (Prosperity Vs. Austerity Thinking) Ch. 17

After all poor people didn’t travel.

I cringe as I write this last part as now I realize that poor is as much a state of mind as anything else.

I mean, yes there were times when we were short of food and clothing and our shelter was very basic, but we weren’t on the street and we weren’t being bombed or forced out of our homes by war.

I guess what I’m trying to say is ultimately we were victims of our own poverty thinking. Coming from a place of austerity rather than abundance. This austerity thinking is something I learned from my mother and it took me many years to unlearn it and I still see it in people all the time and maybe it relates back to what we are talking about mental health wise, but ultimately it’s a first world problem.

Prosperity Vs. Poverty Thinking

Boy, that got deep all of a sudden.


Also, I do think that mental illness is, for the most part, a first world problem.

I don’t think this is the only time that I’ve mentioned this.

I mean it’s hard to find the time for diagnosis and medication when you’re spending all your time looking for clean water and trying to avoid landmines or poison gas.

Look, I think that PTSD is a legitimate complaint in the above case. I would be traumatized if I went through that too.

In Burkville the houses were built on stilts.

I’m not really sure why this is but it might be because they were PMQs during the second world war and a bunch had to be put up at once.

Another reason might be that the water table was three feet below sea level and we were beside the Fraser River.

Probably they expected flooding.

For us, this meant that things rattled when planes went over and there was an extra place to hide and play.

Under the house.

I can remember hiding and playing in the dirt under the front porch and when my mother passed over and my brother and I would be really quiet so as to remain undetected.

A lot of Richmond is made up of alluvial soil.

If you don’t know what this is, Dictionary.com describes it as ‘a fine-grained fertile soil deposited by water flowing over flood plains or in river beds.’

That’s basically the situation I described above, n’est pas?

This soil is considered to be some of the most fertile in the world. It’s unfortunate that in Richmond’s case, a lot of that land is covered in houses and developments and not being used to grow food or as agricultural land reserve. I remember this being in dispute growing up and as far as I know it is still in dispute.

Of course, we didn’t think about that as children. What we thought about was playing in backyards, up, in and under fruit trees and raiding the abundant gardens in our neighborhood, our parents’ and others.

The alluvial soil made this possible.

The Cora Brown area was described as having one acre lots attached to the small 800 square foot houses. I think our lots (in Burkville)  were half or a quarter of that.

My child’s mind remembers half an acre.

We had plum, apple, and sour cherry trees.

We had a vegetable garden. In the back beyond the yard, there was a dirt alley that was oiled every summer. On the other side of the alley were ambulant blackberry bramble.

One summer when Grandma Jensen was visiting, her and my mom picked blackberries and made pie and blackberry jam.

Should we just call her June?

Later on Nikki and I called her ‘Crappy June’ as we gave ourselves a little comic reprieve from her petty jealousies and general craziness.

This leads me to a mental health thought/question.

Does a parent ever have an excuse for abandoning her children? Is there ever any time this is acceptable, defendable or forgivable?

I think a lot about forgiveness.

I know my grudge is not hurting my mother (she’s passed now) but I can’t let it go and I don’t want to and maybe I shouldn’t have to.

Maybe now it’s become a part of me and it would be like giving up a limb if I had to let it go.

Maybe I’ve used my grudge to fill the hole that was left by growing up not just without a mother, but with less than a mother, really.

Mothers have a lot of power and a responsible person is aware of this and at least attempts to use it for good.

I don’t care how you feel inside or what bad chemicals might be floating around in there.

It is not the responsibility of your children to deal with them. Nor is it appropriate to share all your fears and every little diagnosis and trama with them.

We were children after all.

I’m only telling my own story here. My personal remerences.

I don’t think my sister’s experience is the same. She doesn’t really remember living with my Mom. We moved from Burkville when Nikki was six and I was 12. Those six years made a difference in our upbringing.

I don’t think she experienced what I did. Of course, this is an obvious statement. No one really experiences what another person does.

We’re born alone and we die alone.

Love, Sanné

Ps: This blog post is a little bit discombobulated and I’ve tried to improve it. Ultimately I’m of two minds about it. Should I let it stand out as it is? Or should I try to change what could be considered my natural voice? I’ve decided to let it stand as it is.

PPS: I should note here that writing about my mother is leading to a further understanding of her. Perhaps this will ultimately lead to a forgiveness of sorts. I certainly understand that my parents were very young.


The Jet Set (CH 16)

The Silver and Glassware Rattled in the Cabinet While the Jet Set Flew Overhead

Just to put things in perspective I should explain that the Airport was basically at the end of our road.

Lancaster Crescent ran three blocks long and at the far end there was a big field across Airport Road and that’s where the first runway lay.

This was Vancouver International Airport at the time, but now we know it as the South Terminal and it’s essentially a municipal airport.

Anyway, we grew up under a flight path and we were used to the sound of planes interrupting play and conversations and the silver and glassware rattling in the cabinets as the planes flew over. They were basically almost landing on our house. That’s how close they were.

After a while, we became quite used to it and didn’t hear this at all.

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Being an Artist in Public (Why I Don’t Really Care What You Think About Me)

As a performing musician, I had incredible and debilitating stage fright.

I learned to get over it by making sure I was really well rehearsed and prepared (good instruments and a setlist) and just by getting several shows under my belt.

Ultimately I realized two things.

1. If you can get quickly into the first song, you’re golden.

2. People are never really listening to you as intently as you might think. They’re caught in their own lives and their own dramas of the moment and if they’re even paying a little bit a attention to what you’re doing on stage, you can consider the performance successful.

I told myself: “They’re not really listening anyway” and that helped me get over my stage fright.

You can check out our music here.

Being an artist in public

Sanné Lambert Trio

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How to be Late Publishing your First Ebook

Happy Tuesday! Well, I’m late and no I don’t mean that kind of late. I’m late publishing my first ebook.

I got myself a little bit hung up on the formatting of my ebook for Kindle Direct Publishing.

As you can well imagine there’s a lot of involved in digital publishing. Of course, there’s a lot of involved in any kind of publishing.

I thought I might share a little bit of a behind the scenes look at the processes of I’ve gone through so far.

If you are not interested in ever writing an e-book or interested in how it is written or the technical process associated with it, bounce off this blog immediately, and breathe a big sigh of relief. I will bore you no more.

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My Brush with Fame – The Googly Eye Incident (Ch. 15)

This is the story of how I met Pierre Elliot Trudeau.

As I mentioned before my father worked at the South Terminal. Of course, we didn’t call it the South Terminal at the time it was simply ‘Vancouver International Airport’.

This was the scene of my first brush with fame.

Because my father worked at the airport we were invited to meet Pierre Elliott Trudeau when he visited Vancouver.

My mother dressed me in my prettiest outfit and we waited patiently for Prime Minister Trudeau to disembark.

If you were a prime minister back in the day you simply walked off the plane and started talking to people.

There wasn’t a big show of security at least not that I could see.

P.E.T fever was at its height and all young ladies were supposed to scream cry and generally make swooning type overtures.

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It Takes a Commitment to be Committed (Ch. 14)

The Precursors (of my mother’s Mental Illness)

My father’s oldest brother was named M but we knew him as ‘Wowie’ growing up. I thought this was because I couldn’t pronounce his name, but actually, it turns out that it was because my father couldn’t pronounce his name as a toddler and ‘Wowie’ stuck into adulthood.

M’s wife A took her own life when my cousins were still very young children.

I remember her vaguely as a pretty and (I thought) happy blonde lady from the odd family get-togethers we would have. They didn’t live near us so it wasn’t that often that we were able to get together.

I wonder if this was one of the precursors to my mother’s illness.

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