Book Hippo

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Spring Broke

There never was any March Break when I went to school. Well, there may have been at the end but when I was in elementary school, I attended all of March. It just seems there's so many ways to feel cheated when you're my age. What about all the cool technology that kids have? I never had that and also there was the parenting thing where we had to stay out of our parents way. And stick up for ourselves to bullies. Now, that I found impossible. Bullies seemed to me like they knew who they were, although, they really don't. They're really lost people who try to diminish others to their level. Nowadays, you just report them and someone does something. We had to find ways to deal with them. Bullies could really ruin your school life. But of course, there are advantages to being raised such a long time ago. We had to write down notes and put the subject into our own words. That I find helped me develop my own opinions and mind about things, something I don't think young people do with all their 'copy' and 'paste' of school work. Some of my writer friends who teach say young people will often highlight bit swathes of someone else's book and copy it to their own. It's a problem that they don't know about plagarism. Maybe they don't teach any law in school now-a-days? So even though I missed out on some things, I did benefit in independence of thought and other such things. So I guess even though I'm getting old, I'm ahead on points.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Spring Is Coming

Things are so different in Ontario than where I grew up. In White Rock about now, there's probably flowers, if not blooming, then coming out of the ground. Ottawa today is sunny, bright and melting but still no sign of plant life. Trees are still bare and gardens piled up with last year's dead growth. It took me some time to deal with the difference. My first summer in Ottawa, I had to suppress my urge to go back to BC. I wanted to swim in the ocean so bad. But now I'm used to it here, so sometimes, when I meet someone from a hot country who's having trouble adjusting, I tell them a bit of my story. Not to bore them, just to show them that anyone can adjust. In 1980, the winter was cold. -20 from October to April. Global warming has solved that problem for the people of Ottawa. (It isn't unusual for an Ottawan to remark, "If this is global warming, I like it.")When October is still warm, as it is now. Still, we don't have to worry about crocodiles yet. I wore a scarf that October. The people where I worked laughed at me. "What are you going to do when winter gets here?" They asked. I wondered what they meant. It was -20, there was snow, wasn't it here? They assured me it was not, that January and February would be much worse. They were, in fact, pretty bad. So I guess it only proves that the human body is adaptable in wonderful ways. Maybe I won't have to go back to BC when I get old (to avoid the ice)and can stay in this apartment downtown. Still, I'm glad spring is almost here.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

A Star Is Not Born

I think that some people are born for the stage. Not me. When I was in grade two, my class put on a play for the whole school. It was about a princess who was sick and would die unless someone in the kingdom found a cure for her. I was the doctor. I had an Abe Lincoln stovepipe hat made out of colored paper and my line was 'The princess is sick' then I had to deliver the news that someone had to find a cure. I was so nervous. I practiced my lines until my mother told me to stop it. The big night arrived. I went on stage, so afraid. "The princess is not sick." Oops. Did I really just say that? Now the rest of the play doesn't make any sense. I quickly recovered. "I mean, the princess is sick." The audience laughed and laughed. A star is not born. But there was a guy who although he also was not a star, was perhaps the most bloody-minded child ever. I guess it would be grade three. Every Canadian child learns the Huron Christmas Carol at some point. Our grade was slated to do it at our Christmas pageant for the parents. We all dressed up like what we thought Indians looked like, which was not Huron Indians but some sort of Hollywood plains Indians. The buckskin, the feather, you know. I think his name was Dale. He was going to play the beat and then when we switched to our other song after the carol, he would play that beat. Well, he had an idea. He would play the 'Indian beat' and then go Da da-da Da Da, Da Da. Our teacher, Mrs. Petersen didn't want him to. Never mind that, just switch beats. In our practice we witness a might tense stand-off between the two as he would go ahead and play his version. She would stop the rehearsal. "Never mind." She would say. "Just switch beats." But then he would do it again. Night of the pageant. Would he do it his way or her way. No bets were taken at that age but everyone wanted to know. Would he crumble? He didn't. Right on stage, in his Indian costume, he played Da da-da Da Da, Da Da. He had won. And I might add, Mrs. Petersen was behind the curtain. "Just switch." No use. Sheer bloody-mindedness.