Tag Archives: Life

A Special Place

24 Apr

HMMS

I grew up in the country.  All 3 of my brothers and I had the good fortune of attending a small rural school.  Now that I am in my ‘upper-mid 30’s’ I have the perspective to know what an absolute gem of a place that school was.  Our bus driver, Eugene, would burn by our house every morning in order to turn around at my grandparents garage a mile over the road.  I knew I had about 5 minutes to get my butt down to the end of the driveway.   The school is only a mile from where we grew up so the commute was short.  At the end of the school day, even that short ride felt long when you were hungry and tired because we played hard.  We had a real ‘Wildhood’ at HM MacDonald.

To give you some background info.  The school goes from grade Primary to Grade 6.   For the most part the same teachers taught myself and my siblings.  2 teachers retired after I had them (my class is legend to be the worst one in history… so we likely drove them to retire), but otherwise the teachers all stayed the same.  The classes were small.  I think one time we broke the 20 mark when a girl from British Columbia came into our class for a short time. Sierra.  I remember that ‘Come From Away’  girl clearly:  she had really long hair and it seemed so fascinating to be from Salmon’s Arm.  Her family mysteriously came and went.  There was a rumor that they left their dog in their freezer.  In grade 5 a piece was added to our school which enabled us to have more room and so they extended the school line. I remember we had a ribbon cutting celebration and different political officials came to our school for it. I graced them all with a tap dancing routine to Bobby Day’s 1956 smash hit – Rockin’ Robin.  I ‘time-stepped’ my way into our local newspaper.  I just laughed thinking of that.  When the new section opened we had a few jogging pant wearing kids from over the road join us.  Other than those few changes,  I basically had the same kids in my class all the way through.

Oh the memories.  When you have the same classmates, the same families, cousins in the school, the same teachers, the same janitor/bus driver and the same playground supervisor everything felt so secure and safe.   Of course there were the usual issues – bullying, cat fights, back talking and of course sour milk.  Literal sour milk.  We had a milk program at school and it has scarred me more than any bully did.  The milk was often on the warm side and I never liked it.  One time I complained that the milk was sour and my teacher said it wasn’t.  IT WAS.  Until this day I cannot drink milk on its own from an unknown source.  I have PSMDD – Post Sour Milk Drinking Disorder.

I know for certain that HM MacDonald helped me grow my confidence.  With confidence you can communicate better, be empathetic, be compassionate, take risks, think big and have a more positive outlook on life.  No one fell through the cracks.  We all knew each other and so it became a safe place to do public speaking, singing in the Christmas concert (or getting the golden speaking roles if we did a play) or strike out at baseball.   I could tell stories for hours about my memories from that school.  The time (when in grade 5 and 6) Allan and Brent stole the school bus and ripped around the soccer field with it.  Or when we were out past the buzzer and saw our teacher tramping across the soccer field to get us – Randy fell out of the tree he climbed and broke his pelvis.  When Amanda put a tack on the teachers desk and he sat on it.  When Bradley had gas so bad in class that our teacher sent a note home to his parents about his diet.  Or Miss Hickey (our completely bizarre music teacher) who made us study Beethoven and Bach in grade 3.   When we turned against our sweet bus driver/janitor Eugene and got a petition to have him removed from the school for smoking in the furnace room.  On a more scholastic note: Mad Math Minutes, Reach for The Top and science fairs.  Having to take the bus to Lakevale School to have enough kids to make two teams from and track and field day in town.  Hotdog days when it was your Mom’s turn to serve.  Cake walks where it didn’t matter who made the cake or what was in it – you ate it and loved it.  Participaction with Hal and Joanne.  Mass in the school gym on Wednesday mornings.  That canopy where you all run into the middle and it goes up into the air.  Fiercely competitive dodge ball.   The ‘Humping Cabin’ the boys made up in the woods behind the school.  To be clear – no humping ever happened.  The boys would make humping like motions while walking into it.  Heads Up 7-Up.  Hatching chicks every spring in our classroom.  Crazy high swings and those frigging monkey bars that everyone fell off at some point.  I could go on and on.  I am sure my brothers could add in countless memories they too have.  We all made life long friends from our days at HM MacDonald.

As like many other families who came through HM MacDonald; my siblings and I have all done well for ourselves.  When someone complimented my Dad (who is a terribly modest creature) on his children he said ‘that was largely because of their Mom not me’.  While our parents and genetics play a big part in who we become so does the community you grow up in.  I know for certain that our elementary school days greatly impacted our characters and potential.

I read this week that the school board is looking to shut down HM MacDonald. This announcement came out of the blue as it is a thriving school with full classrooms and a small operating budget.  Tears came to my eyes when I read it.  The idea of kids from our community taking long bus rides to be placed in big classes breaks my heart.   It is a special place.  There are so few special places like this left.  We need to nurture them not close them down.

Still Wild At Heart

13 Feb

woman

Something has happened to me and I didn’t see it coming.   If I analyzed each component of this realization individually I might not have come to the same conclusion.  It is the combination of all components which made me go ‘WOW’ something has happened.

Clue #1: I am currently sitting at the gate for my flight 2 hours early. I am actually at the gate.   That means I arrived at the airport 2 hours and 30 minutes before my flight.  I’ve never been one to stress greatly about time when it comes to getting to the airport – I like to get there in the shortest amount of time without being considered late.  One hour. I am not one for waiting around when waiting around isn’t necessary.  I am normally the last one getting on the plane as I want to spend the least amount of time possible jammed into my seat.  Although in recent times getting on the plane early has its merits since most everyone brings an excessive amount of checked luggage and if you don’t get on early there is no room left.   But let’ focus on me arriving early to the airport.

Clue #2: Practicality when it comes to fashion is not my jam. In spring, summer and fall my Carrie Bradshaw ways to do not cause any issues.  Enter winter.  In the past, I’ve been known to wear heels in a snow storm, and one winter, when I lived in Toronto, I survived with a jean jacket as I couldn’t find a winter jacket I liked enough.  I was willing to suffer through the cold all in the spirit of avoiding being ‘not-fashionable’.  I subjected myself to salt stains on shoes and frozen appendages by choice.   As I sit here at my gate 2 hours before my flight I can’t help but take account of what I am wearing.  I have a stylish winter jacket and on my feet… rubber boots.  Granted they are not regular rubber boots – they look like leather boots and they are a chic moto style.  It made me think even further – I did not even pack a pair of heels for this trip.  A pair of booties with a heel (but not heels).  Socks can be worn with the booties.

Clue #3: Last night (and most nights) before I went to bed I cleansed my face. I exfoliated.  I removed my eye make-up.  I moisturized.  I moisturized my neck.  When I woke up this morning I didn’t have yesterday on my face and red lipstick on my pillow.

Clue #4: Last Friday night when I arrived in Toronto I stayed with one of my girlfriends. Traditionally we could jump right into socializing and sleep very little.   I had a very busy week leading up to my departure and knew we had plans on Saturday night with a big group of girlfriends.  I found myself saying – I am fine to stay in and get a good sleep in order to be fresh for tomorrow.  What?  Did I actually say that?  Let’s stay in so we can be fresh for tomorrow.  I think most anyone who knows me would say I am a social creature who would rarely miss out on an opportunity to fraternize.  Especially when there could be hot men found.  ESPECIALLY when there could be hot men found.

Clue #5: Prior to my departure for this trip I had my laundry done a day early. I packed with strategy vs an eleventh hour throw together. I had cleaned out my fridge as I was leaving for 10 days.  I put the garbage and compost out.  I got my nails done the day before.  I left the key in the cupboard outside of my doorway in case someone needed to stay there was I was gone.  My departure was organized.

(I had to stop writing at this point as my flight was boarding)

On my flight home I had an older woman from Newfoundland seated beside me.  There were no TV screens on the plane to be distracted by andshe was up for some chatting, so we gabbed and laughed for most of the flight.  We covered a lot of subjects: travel, health, relationships, online dating, adoption, death and Trump (of course).  I roared at some of the funny things she said.  When talking about a friends daughter she said ‘Anna was looking for a man and let’s just say she wasn’t picky’.  At the end of the flight she said to me ‘Well, how lucky was I to sit by you.  What an interesting person you are and life you have.  You’re just so much fun – I haven’t laughed like that in awhile.’  And I said the same to her.

So when I put it all together: early to the airport, wearing appropriate clothing, a consistent skin care routine, choosing to be fresh over hunting for men and having my place perfectly organized prior to my departure. I have become sensible.  I need to find a better term for it – like some women who do not want to be called Grandma, being called sensible doesn’t resonate well with me.  Mature, grounded, evolved.    There is no sexy substitute for it.  I’ve resolved that just because I am on time, wearing waterproof shoes and feeling well rested does not mean that I am boring. I may have become more sensible in my ways, but as my seatmate recognized I’ve not lost my wild heart.

“Being tame is what we’re taught: … put the crayons back, stay in line, don’t talk too loud, keep your knees together, nice girls don’t…
As you might know, nice girls DO, and they like to feel wild and alive. Being tame feels safe, being wild, unsafe. Yet safety is an illusion anyway. We are not in control. No matter how dry and tame and nice we live, we will die. And we will suffer along the way. Living wild is its own reward.”  S.A.R.K.