The Precursors (of my mother’s Mental Illness)
My father’s oldest brother was named M.B. Lambert 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.
Wowie was a volcanologist with the Canadian Geographical Survey. He wrote a book simply called ‘Volcanoes’ that had a pride of place in our house.
I don’t know if my dad still has a copy, but I do as I discovered one at a garage sale years later, much to my surprised delight.
Back in Burkville,
my mother and L.B. picketed to try to stop the second runway being built in ‘Core O’Brown’, an area adjacent to the Fraser River close to MacDonald Beach. They brought T and me with them and we were on TV. The picket signs were that day’s craft project. We each had our own. Continue reading
Where was my Mother while all this was going on?
This wouldn’t be the last time l wondered this reflecting on my childhood.
It came in variations.
Where were the parents?
Why weren’t any parents there?
One of my Mother’s favorite things to do was sit at the kitchen table talking on the phone, which was one of those vertical rectangular wall mounted hard installed rotary dail things, and smoke copious amounts of Cameo Menthol cigarettes, while my brother and I went about our business without her interference.
Looking back on that closet room without a door I needed to stop and take a crying break, but at the time it wasn’t so traumatic.
I just thought it was normal, but I was beginning to realize it wasn’t.
I can remember being so scared in that room, but I didn’t think anything of it.
You don’t when you’re a kid.
I know there was a lot of division and bigotry in people’s attitudes when I was growing up, but it didn’t seem to translate down to the neighborhood level. At least not in Burkville. At least not that I was aware of.
A lot of the things we did and didn’t do when we were kids would be considered negligent by today’s standards, but they gave us a freedom that children just don’t experience nowadays.