Sunday, June 17, 2007

But I wasn't ready!!

It has always amazed me that with a little bit of realatively unskilled labour, you can produce beautiful children.

Aging professional student meets Wendy Idyll on her road to hippiedom.
But a biological clock interferes.
The chemistry is perfect, the families fit and suddenly you're married, and within a year, little chubby-chucks are on the scene, the real patter of real little feet.

You had your dream-- the writer, the $100-a-day intellectual and she had hers, the champion dressage rider and painter, both of you at different times hanging around the lockers looking for a dime bag to take some pressure off from producing those essays and taking those exams.

We lived with people, we lived with each other, found the chemistry perfect.

"Marry me."
"Yes, as soon as I get my sister straightened out. Her husband is in legal hot water. I have to testify at something."
Back to the courtship, extended now.

We would walk together in the rain, visit favorite spots, trout streams upon which some budding Frank Lloyd Wright had built a house, right over the waterfall, walking through beautiful Toronto where marvellous Victorian houses would back onto park-like, treed ravines.

The entertainment district, seeing Man of La Mancha, Bob Dylan, taking part in student protests, smokind dope, bourgeois girls sitting on cold Yorkville Avenue steps waiting for the dealer, the Sixties thing.
"But I want to have your children."
Hippie chick, sort of, but a traditional girl all the same.

The honeymoon in the exotic country, the Mariachis, ageless Mexican hill towns, chasing each other up and down cobblestone hills, churches stabbing up into a very think sky at eight thousand feet..
No children yet, so we had gotten a cat who would claw at the screen dooor whenever we played the oija board or listen to Sgt. Pepper.
And then one day-- oops-- morning sickness. The honeymoon was over.

Into the work grind, by now the $175-a-week intellectual--not so easy, Bunky; the rent must be paid and all the while we're looking for a house.
Luck, luck, lots of luck. The luck persisted. We got the house, we had the children, everything hunky-dory, and then I stopped.

"Why are you stopped, Daddy?"

"Don't know. Just am. Daddy has to work something out."

Up in the attic, the literary mistress, the manuscript that would just not take life.
You had a life, but it was not the writing life. The Yippie-dippies were telling you to drop out, abandon your creeping meatball, but they weren't married, had no mortgage and for them it was all so easy to say. Then Abbie Hoffman and Jerry Rubin too had had to grow up, had to play the stock market and they found everything wasn't going to be easy for them either.

Your original dream is now set aside; there is the house, the cottage, the job, the kids. You do not entirely avoid feeling like Dagwood Bumstead.

Ah well, that is the way the game she is played.

The move to the suburbs, getting the kids into school, coveting your neighbour's wife.

You hardly notice the people you grew up with, some of them not so lucky, the mammoth drunks, the journeys to Vancouver, where the welfare was easy, the more successful with their mind-numbing jobs at Loblaws, Steinbergs and Woolco.

Education got you out of this. You married a woman whose family was very well off, and you were something of an Alistair MaLean character, another kind of "down-easter" gone to university, gone to get an edjucation, to soon marry a rich wife; and as you grew weak with work, she would get stronger and eventually, you would depend on her.

No matter. At the age of thirty it seemed to me that you don't take things, don't force things.
Things are given to you, including your children.
The beautiful children. The perfect children.

We don't deserve our children.

We with the silver spoons in our mouths, given soon to middle-class ennui, boredom, tampering with the commandments.

Well, Daddy's ragged now, not even right, the babysitter was in there pitching for a long time and somehow the kids came to maturity.
Daddy did try his best, insofar as he was able.

Daddy never, ever, really grew up but it sure would be nice if the kids would visit.


Josie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
islandgrovepress said...

Thanks, Josie.
Your comment so reminds me of a blog I planned to write just before what I have up now.
Somehow we have given up those hokey Fifties values in favour of some sort of skewy Marxism with its clutch of orthodoxies, political correctness, fat kids, junk health news and the assault on McDonald's--while kids keep OD-ing-- and recent parades somehow lead you to think that contracting AIDS and being on drugs is somehow equated with piety.
Seems that in the last 35 years, only the baby sitter has been in there piching.
The family seems done for.

But it's nice to get a call from a son, like I just did.

Your daughter: The tendency to bite the hand that feeds you. Even emotionally.
My former wife really disliked her mother because she saw her as a rug for her father to walk on, and that she had a lot of womanly "prissiness" and a tendency to lay guilt trips on her.

Of course, she was a spoiled, rebellious rich chick--even boarded a horse all the way through university--which she failed, only getting her BA back later as a mature student.

But once married, my K seemed to settle down.
Very likely, your daughter has the
"missing railroad engineer" syndrome--the missing father, but that you could not help.
They used to tell my in Psych class that the middle class rarely exhibits mental illness, or even shorter stature the result of underfeeding, but no!
Always, it seems, the Kallikak somehow squeezes himself/herself into a family of sane Jukes.

Ah well.

I have always held that business leaders and politicians are stone psychopaths.
There were parts of Richard Nixon that were actually likeable--like his stopping of the Vietnam war and the opening of a dialogue with China, Watergate or no.

While in the Air Forece, I was shaving one morning, and saw this
arrow suddenly embedded in the frame of my mirror.
I turned around and asked the guy just in from Section Eight: "What are you doing?"
"Chasing sparrows."

"All right, all right...Carry on.."


Ruth said...

Bring back the 50's...miss those carefree days!

Inside our hands, outside our hearts said...

I am have no words or maybe i do now ... smiles. I understand the melancholy for the days when the sanity of the world was all fine and well. Unfortunately, as does most things the world changes and not for the good.

But we cannot pin everything on time or one decade turning the channel to our distaste of the world. Instead some of this falls on our shoulders. As a child I grew up in a home that thought hitting was fun, I became use to it. No one seem to think it was wrong in the home except me. Back then, no one wanted to see but slowing we evolved and laws were set in place to protet us from people such as my so-called family.
Now, we can jump forward 20 years and we have children hitting their parents, killing each other, thinking hurting the homeless is fun and games. If we trace this back is it because they have no respect like there use to be? could it be that parents are literally afraid to correct their children because the long arm of big brother? I believe part of this to be true. I do not believe in hitting and anyone that does well you would not want to know my opinion of them. Yet, there has to be a middle.

Prices of cars are outrageous. But then we buy them at these prices so why not let them raise the price tag.

One of your bloggers noted fat kids... let's see. Have anyone looked at the cost of food that is good for our children? It cost twice as much as and with the economy parents are choosing some food, or none. That commercial where a mom is choosing food or food is a reality. Of course there is exercise, but with that come motivation and with the American families falling apart and unlike the 50's and 60's both parents have to work non-stop just to make ends meet, and God help you if you are a single parent.

I am tired of hearing people being condemned for trying while those that sit on their hands in judgment do nothing but complain. How does the saying go? You do not truly know a person until you have walked a mile in their shoes.

Do not get me wrong. I feel just as overwhelmed as it seems you and your readers do. But one cannot fix something if all they do is talk about it and judge.

I am glad you wrote this post. Wonderful! said...

Ruth, Yeah!
Sha-na-na! and My Baby Does the Hanky-Panky by the Chandelles, and slow dancing to Oh Donna.
And dibelief at Sally actually "going all the way."

Defintely a simpler time.
Necking and petting and chin-to-chin.
Rockin' at the high school hop!
And yet we were somehow sane.


islandgrovepress said...

inside our hands,outside our hearts:

Yes, we allowed a lot of our freedoms to be taken away by the almost pornographic orthodoxies of the present time.
Like inventing a new disease or condition every week, picking on restaurant owners for their transfat, letting animals eat dung and we get crazy from eating the beef; genetically modified breakfast cereals that brag of less sugar--and letting kids eat cerals originally consumed by farm animals only ...who wants your damn cow corn for breakfast anyway?...Eggs are still cheap, hang the cholesterol!

The war on terror, the war on peanuts, the war on poverty--all these slogans to make us even more docile.
I guess we allowed it to happen.
But I don't agree that we're just whining. Writing about it is a conscious act in itself.

Thank you for visiting and the kind words.


EA Monroe said...

Ivan, this is an excellent post and so are all the comments.

Docile -- I think it's all the aluminum and flouride the toothpaste companies put in toothpaste! (Oh, and the aluminum in deodorant, too.)

I guess we allowed it to happen. That's what the Jewish folk and others allowed Hitler to do, too, and people have always wondered why.

I'm glad your son called you!

islandgrovepress said...



If you opposed the Nazis you were not only poliically incorrect--you were soon sent to a concentration camp.

There are some startling parallels
in these times.


Inside our hands, outside our hearts said...

Perhaps, I did not make myself clear. I was not implying that us talking about was mere whining or such. Rather, I was talking about those we place in power, they sit, they promise, they whine, they do nothing, and in the end we suffer but then again, we put them there. My apologies if I unseemingly implied otherwise.

islandgrovepress said...

inside our hands, outside our hearts,

No apology needed, dear reader.

I notice in your blog that you are taking a second degree, this one in sociology.
Maybe that's the route I should have taken. I too come from a family of "hitters". Violence was golden in my family, so we've got something in common.
Eventually, I settled on the "Department of Anguish"-- or English...So much anguish in literature. :-)

islandgrovepress said...


It did warm the cockles of this old heart to have my son call.

I'll be seeing the grandkids soon.


Trevor Record said...

Hey Ivan.

Sorry I've been away for a while - I was out of town. I came back to find your book in my mail - Thank you sir and you will receive your money shortly.

Now, as for this whole parent/growing up thing I can't comment. I only know what it is like to be a son, but father... That's a few years off if it ever comes at all. To be honest, I am planning against it right now (but who can really say what will come). said...



Try not to get married till you're about 29.
Myself, I think I got married at the wrong time--I was in the middle of writing a book.
Seemed the literary wife got in the way of the real wife for a while.
Ah well, half in a dream, kids all around.
Maybe writers should avoid entanglements...?


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