Monday, January 12, 2009


Pearl swims at Alouette Lake, Summer 2008

The best Christmas gift I got this year was wholly unexpected. I received as I often have, a card from one of my mothers friends or relatives from the UK. Brown envelopes with handwritten addresses, modern die-cut cards with minimal snowflake designs. This year one such envelope appeared from my mothers college roommate Eiona Connacher. She enclosed with her cheerful note two letters she had recieved from my mother many years earlier. One was from 1966 and one from 1975. Eiona, a retired doctor, noted that she had come across the letters on her desk which begs the question "How often does one clear off ones desk?".

I am offering here, a passage from the letter dated May of 1975, the year my parents separated. We had taken a trip to the UK a few years earlier and my mother describes part of our experience;

" We put up our three little red nylon tents by the river at Coupal Bridge in Glencoe {Scotland} one fine evening in June and then bathed in the river which was warm as milk after running over the sunwarmed rocks. The kids all suddenly decided to get rid of their bathing suits and swam naked in that wonderful dark amber water. Do you remember doing the same once? I sat and watched their pink and white bodies as they splashed and dived, and it came to me that the cycle was complete here in Glencoe. Later I tried to make a poem about it, but I've never got it to my complete satisfaction."

Of course the letters are deeply moving and I am so pleased to have them in my possession, to get a glimpse into her inner world and to see how similar it is to my own.

Happy Birthday Mom!


syd said...

That brings tears to my eyes. Thank you for sharing this.

mark said...

I think the letter was the poem, she just didn't realize it.

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