An honour and a blessing: another editing client and former student, Rollande Ruston, has come out with the memoir we worked on together. I blushed to read her dedication: “Special thanks for Beth Kaplan, my creative writing teacher and hero… From the very beginning she was appreciative of my efforts and always had something positive to say about my stories… Without her encouragement and support, this book wouldn’t be.”
It’s called “If the rocks could talk.” Rollande has traced her family back to the mid-1600s in France and writes with humour and elegance about her childhood in the Gaspesie. A beautiful book; brava, Rollande, all that hard work was worth it. Take a look.
I’m sitting in the hot sun in the kitchen; it’s still chilly outside, but we all feel spring coming. On Saturday I took Eli to the farm where we watched the farmhand grooming a horse with the lovely name Ringo. His horsehair was flying off; he doesn’t need that thick protective pelt any more. And then we saw green shoots of daffodils and croci everywhere.
But because I’m an impatient person, I’m leaving on Thursday for a month on the west coast, where spring is far more advanced. Chris writes from Gabriola Island that he is outside in shorts. Of course, he is a crazy person, but still, I am attempting to imagine warm weather as I pack. Or, in fact, as I don’t pack, because I haven’t started yet, still immersed in Toronto life.
On Friday, my upstairs tenant and friend Carol arrived back from her permanent home in Ecuador to her temporary home in my attic; she’s moving out for good mid-June, but will be here while I’m away. There was much talking about her last six months and mine. Then, a sleepover with Eli on Friday night. We spent a great deal of time playing hockey in the kitchen, he with a small puffy hockey stick I’d found – no-one could be hurt with this stick – and I with a broom. Needless to say, the score was 22 to 2 for the youth of today. Wayson came, and the three of us had dinner with Carol. I can tell you that the young man dislikes a lot of foodstuffs, but he really really likes salmon.
This visit, for the first time, he was immersed in Lego, spending hours putting together a boat-like creation and then filling the sink to the brim to see if it would float. It did, and so he took it into the bathtub with him. The night was a bit rough – he missed his mother at 3 a.m. so I got into bed with him for a bit, and then he came into my bed at about 5.30. But I forgive him everything. The best moment, lying side by side on the sofa with me starting to read “Charlotte’s Web,” a favourite book by my favourite writer, to him.
He told me he can count to a million by tens. “Really?!” I asked. “Sure,” he said. “10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100 a million. Easy peasy.”
He has his grandmother’s math skills. Mind you, she’s 67, and he’s 5.
His family came to get him; now that his mother can drive, she rents cars and zips all over town, and for March Break, brilliantly, she had rented a room in a hotel with a big pool and play area for a one night staycation. A good time was had by all.
Now I am cooking a last winter Sunday night roast for Carol, Wayson, and our friend Judy Steed. Next week, the last Ry class, a conference committee meeting which I’m chairing, a visit to the dermatologist to be sure I don’t have ear cancer. It’ll be spring on Tuesday, but I’m not waiting around to see if she decides to come. I know she takes her time getting to Toronto. So I’m going to look for her.