My shrink appointment for today got cancelled so I here I am. I got to sleep in and I now have the whole day to do whatever, which I hadn’t really planned on. I didn’t know what to talk to her about anyway. I mean I should probably tell her the stuff I’m about to write here, or at least some of it but I always forget or it doesn’t seem like a big deal when I get there and it probably isn’t now that I’m thinking more about it. Basically, it boils down to this: my inner child? Pretty manic and emotional lately. But I think they’re normal responses to what stimulated them.
Last week, as you all know, I posted those pictures of our family to Facebook and my brother said he had them too, along with many more, especially ones from “the cottage”. My mom replied, “what cottage?” because in her world “the cottage” is John’s cottage where we all go in the summer and hang out now, but in mine and Chad’s childhoods, “the cottage” meant something entirely different. We meant our step/dad’s family’s cottage which I believe was in Madoc, Ontario. Or at least that’s where we stopped at the IGA and the sporting goods store to stock up on water and supplies before going to the cottage. Madoc was “going into town”, anyway.
The cottage itself was a mouse infested, two-room, no running water, plywood shack half on land and half on stilts, right on the shore of the Black River near the Hastings Rapids. It had the world’s scariest outhouse but the roof didn’t leak and it had electricity and a woodstove in the room facing the river. In the room facing the woods, there were cots on one side of the room and various fishing rods, tackle, nets, floatation devices, life jackets etc. on the other. In the room with the woodstove, there was also a couple of “easy chair” type chairs, a table and chairs that were actually pretty cool because the chairs were aluminum benches on either side of the aluminum table. They were blue and chrome. I could have totally made that up but as I visualize the room, that’s what I remember and I know that memory can be a tricky thing. All of those things were facing the river, which you could see out two very big windows, or at least big to a kid, and to the right there was a counter with kitchen stuff on it and a stove, but the oven didn’t work. For toast, there was this super old metal toaster that had a fabric cord and two sides that opened with heating coils in the middle/on one side of each side of the appliance. So you would put your two slices of bread in, and then you would have to wait and keep checking by opening it to see if the one side was toasted well/burnt/whatnot, then when that side was done, you would flip the bread and toast the other side in the same fashion. It was REALLY annoying, but we REALLY like breakfast so it got used a lot.
Since there was no running water, dishes were done in a big plastic tub on the floor.
When we would go up there, we would have to stop in at our step/grampa’s farm in Marmora to get the motor for the boat and I got to see all of the animals (well, most of the time) and the animals our step/Uncle Joe had stuffed recently because he was a taxidermist by trade and pretty good at it. I know it’s trendy to like taxidermy right now, especially chimera taxidermy, but it’s something I’ve been able to appreciate since I was really little because when I was little, our other step/Uncle Rusty, who was some sort of biologist, would show us the stuffed animals and the preserved skeletons and tell us all about the animal. It was almost like going to the zoo.
On our step/grampa’s farm, there were two houses and Uncle Joe lived in the smaller one of them with his wife. Rusty had a room in the big house but would soon flee the country (more like f lee the family) and not be really heard from again until a few years ago. But that’s a whole other thing.
Once we had the motor for the boat, which was at the cottage itself, and threw it in the trunk, we would be out of civilization usually for a week or for however long our step/dad could listen to my brother and I fighting and pack us up and drive us home without uttering a single word (that really happened once). We would go in the boat to this special bend in the river where there was a “shore” of solid but smooth rock on a slope down to the river and grass and the woods behind/above that. Within the area of all this rock, there was a shallow area of the river where you would actually do your swimming and then there was the rapids, which, when we got older, we would go down for fun, either just on our own (banging and scraping our bodies on rocks all the way) or with floaties or on a raft. And also within the area of this rock, we would fish and catch frogs for bait. (I’ll spare you the details on how you use a live frog as bait…it’s actually kind of horrible and I don’t know if I could do it today. Maybe I could. I literally haven’t been fishing since I was 18.)
Long story short, it was pretty awesome and something I had completely forgotten about and last week, my brother sent me 20 photos via text message (pics of pics taken with his phone so I’m just gonna post the one I cleaned up) and as they came in, one by one, I would look at it because they were all of me, and I would remember and I bawled for like, an hour, because my childhood is something I’ve mostly buried. I purposely, mostly, have killed the so-called “inner child” because my childhood was pretty horrible as most of you know. Suddenly being faced with pictures, proof, that “happy” was a part of my childhood sometimes or at some point, was something I wasn’t prepared for. The fact that Ken had saved these pictures and had allowed them to remain in his house when we didn’t part on good terms about 10 years ago was something I wasn’t prepared for either. The fact that my brother and Ken, who have been all but homeless and have been moving around the last few years, found these pictures, of ME!, to be of value, to be important enough to lug around from place to place was something I was not prepared for.
Here’s one of the pics, dunno how old I was, maybe 6 or 7:
So that was last week and then within the last 24 hours, this has happened:
Yesterday we went to London (Ontario) to have lunch with Blake’s mom and Charlie and on the way there, I saw this neat milk truck so I posted it on facebook:
Then friends started talking about how it’s good milk etc. and I mentioned this time I went to Charity J’s house for her birthday party in like, grade 5 or 6, and they had dairy cows. During dinner, they served milk pretty much straight from the cow (and by “pretty much”, I mean it had been refrigerated) and it was the best tasting milk I’ve ever had in my whole entire life. Well, when I posted that, I tagged Charity so she posted about that memory and I just thought of how cool it was that I’m still friends with people with whom I share *good* childhood memories.
So that was yesterday/last night and then this morning I woke up to a message on Facebook from Tina L., who I became really good friends with in grade 9 but then I moved so we lost touch. I went to her house that year for her birthday too and her mom had made Mississippi Mud. Oh lawd. Again, probably one of the best things I’ve ever tasted and that whole afternoon/evening is a really good childhood memory for me. A long time ago, when Tina and I became friends on Facebook, I told her of this memory, which she of course shared as well, and asked her for her mom’s Mississippi Mud recipe because her mom had given it to me at the time but I never made it and it got lost over the last couple of decades. Of course, Tina’s message this morning was her mom and her mom’s mom’s recipe for Mississippi Mud and it is as precious to me as the Hope Diamond, which I basically told her.
And then I cried some more and now I’m writing this.
Oh and I gave Blake the recipe and told him that we’re making it for my birthday (if I can last that long…).
So I guess that’s all I really have to say. It’s just weird that these things all happened so close together. My Aunt Heather always said “things come in threes” so there ya have it. Maybe my supposed inner child is waking up.
Now I think I’m gonna go work on my Secret Satan present because I’m falling behind. Chop chop!