This season makes me think very fondly of my dad and our last minute Christmas shopping for my mom and siblings. Her list would be scrawled on a scrap piece of paper and handed over to us to work our gift buying magic and cross things off, one by one, as we made our way to Benjamin Franklyn’s department store, Alco and for something REALLY special, JCPennys.
We’d bundle up in hats, coats, scarves and gloves and de-ice the truck’s windows. Snow, ice, cold that felt like it was trying to bite off your fingers…nothing could put us off this most important trip. Because usually it was the last shopping night before Christmas. Oh how we loved to live on the edge!
After collecting bags and boxes of robes and massive Hershey kiss chocolates and slippers and candy and oranges and toothbrushes and random plastic toys, we would drive to Modern Appliance to wrap up the bounty. My dad would find the massive rolls of Christmas wrap and I would set to work on wrapping all the presents in paper and ribbons.
But my most favourite memory of this special shopping night was whistling in the cold cab of the truck a song that my dad taught me how to whistle. It was old then and it’s even older now. It’s jazzy and got a bit of a beat to it. ‘In the Mood’ and hitting the high notes in the middle. I could ever only last a couple measures at a time as I would break out in a smile and laugh. It is impossible to whistle when you are smiling.
Recently I was loaned this book as one of my friends thought it was relevant to my research. I had never thought about this particular topic. I just always took it for granted that they’ve always been around. This author, Marilyn Yalom, has also written a booked titled ‘A history of the breast.’ Again, I had never given that topic much thought as I had always taken it for granted that they have always been around (she says rather cheekily).
It has been interesting reading about the role of wives during the Victorian period in both England and America. Apparently, English women visiting America during that time were surprised at the ‘freedom of manners’ the girls exhibited. I can only imagine the offense that was taken on a daily basis. I have found it interesting that the middle class role of the housewife was thought of in equal terms as the career of the husband. It was thought to be just as important to create a tidy house and warm environment, a solid grounding in morals for the children and plan social interactions with others. I think in today’s society, these things are hardly considered important and it is just assumed that these things are set in place. And while you’re at it love, go out and get a job and earn your keep (as if the aforementioned were not enough).
Tonight’s reading will include diary excerpts of wives on the American frontier in the 1860s and 1870s, which is ideal as this is the time when my ancestors settled in the Nebraska. Was there room in the house made of mud and sod for visitors, let alone family? How wild was that land they had to tame?
It has really been too long since I last posted on this blog. The quiet does not reflect the activity. If anything, I have gone on overdrive to catch up to my timeline and the blog has suffered a silence.
A major set back: I had originally planned a trip to Devon for this coming week. Unfortunately, my research had revealed too many holes that I need to fill before making the trip. I could have gone, but am afraid that once I returned, would have realized I should have also visited X, Y and Z. Best to be thorough before such big trips are made. It appears that Exeter is now on the cards as a possible venue. Exeter as venue needs to be whittled down to something more specific, don’t you think?
Funding: Still in the works. This is definately a specialist subject that they should teach any flegling artist at university. Then again, if they did then I guess the competition would be tighter.
Confirmed: I have finally received a venue confirmation. The Bioscience building at the Centre for Life will be home to the final exhibit in October 2011. Incidentally, today my husband and I had our final meeting in the Fertility Clinic in that same building. A line has been drawn under the torture that is IVF. Although I am thankful for modern science for all of its many successes, I am happy to finally walk away from this ordeal. One chapter has ended, which has been heartbreaking. Another one will begin, which is daunting, exciting, unknown.