My memories start as early as 2 or 3 years old, mostly happy ones. I don’t ever remember living with both of my parents as they separated when I was about 2 years old. About that separation… I never saw my parents argue. Not once.
Although they may have separated and divorced, they remained strong friends and had a lot of respect for each other. Over the years we spent most of my birthdays & Christmas’s together, both getting along with the others new partners. Every mother’s day, a huge Chrysanthemum plant or bouquet of flowers would arrive from my Dad, saying thank you to my mother for raising me. I think that continued even after I left home…
... our cozy little 3rd-floor apartment in Guelph, Ontario where I would ride my tricycle around the courtyard
... setting up tea parties with mum and all of my stuffed animals around the kitchen table
... running to Mum's bedroom on a weekend morning to wake her up, literally pulling her eyes open
... hiding in the closet to “do it” in my pants because I did NOT want to use the toilet
... the cottage, my haven for many years to come, on the Big East River in Huntsville, Ontario, Muskoka, where we would have family get togethers at Easter, Christmas and summers
... the cottage being built... a huge hole in the ground... climbing up an EXTREMELY forbidden ladder, almost reaching the top and all the grown-ups screaming at me from below to stop! Being rescued by my mum
... only being allowed to go into the Big East River up to my Belly Button
... my best friend Kimmy. What she liked I liked, what she didn’t like I didn’t like
... Aladdin Nursery School... Mavis, one of the teachers
... waiting anxiously for my Mum to pick me up at the end of each day-care day
... seeing one of the other children at the day care getting A LOT of attention when she felt sick... so I faked feeling sick one day so the teachers would dote on me
... lying on the “Nap-mat” at day-care, trying to sleep each afternoon but never being able to get to sleep. One eye open... coughing loudly as a signal to the other kids that I was still awake. Sometimes a no-nap ally would cough back.
... Mum & her camera
... my stuffed animal Big Bird from Sesame Street
... my pink blankie, tattered and comforting
... visits with my Dad who would drive from Windsor to Guelph to see me... the proud sparkle in his eye when he saw me and would say “Jenny!” and open his arms wide for me to run into them
... Dad pushing me on the swing one afternoon. I would jump off into his arms and giggle like crazy. Suddenly, I jumped off wrong – toward the back of the pendulum, surprising my Dad and landing on the ground... Dad picking me up and running to the car... the hospital... a few stitches in my chin. I do not remember my own pain, but vividly remember the pain in my father’s eyes & seeing how horribly he felt having accidentally let me fall. It's not your fault Daddy. I'm okay.
... Mum picking a splinter out of my baby finger with a needle. Ouch!
... Daycare excursion to the Maple sugar farm, when Mum took a day off work to come with us
... Our little tape-recorder, which I named “Seve-osten”. Mum would interview me with it. She would ask me strange questions like “Jenny – what is a rainbow?” and “Jenny – how does a car move?” and I would answer and listen to the tapes over and over and laugh and laugh
... Mr. Grumple, my imaginary friend, who would leave me little gifts! Suddenly my Dad would say, “I think Mr. Grumple has been here.......” and my eyes would light up and I would take off on a mad treasure hunt around the house or the park or wherever we were, looking for something... sometimes it was a pack of lick-on tattoos & chewing gum
... Discovering that Mum wasn’t perfect. She actually made mistakes. Sitting around the kitchen table... I had decided that I didn’t like strawberries, probably because my best friend Kimmy didn’t like Strawberries. Mum was feeding me strawberry yoghurt. “Mooooommmmmy..? Does Strawberry yoghurt have whole strawberries in it? Because I don’t like whole strawberries!” “No dear. Strawberry yoghurt doesn’t have whole strawberries in it” Ooooooppssss... Oh no! I spilled the whole container of yoghurt on the floor, and there, right in the middle of the yoghurt was a whole strawberry! “Aaaaaaahhhhhh Mooooommmmy! You lied! You lied!” She didn’t know. Her embarrassed face went beet-red. Mums didn’t know it all...
... “We are moving to Toronto!” my mum said. We are going to live in our own house! Wow! “Where is Toronto?” they asked me at day-care. They thought I was cool... I was moving...
We moved to Toronto when I was 4, the summer before starting Junior Kindergarten.