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Mother’s Day?!

Do not ever remember a colder, more wet and miserable Mother’s Day. We always complain that in Toronto, we go directly from winter to summer, with a temperate spring that lasts about three hours. But this year – much spring. We’ve had two hot days and then back to the chilly damp. Ed is supposed to come finish repairing my front door but we’re waiting for a dry day; have been waiting a week.

My family doesn’t really celebrate Mother’s Day which we call a Hallmark card event. In any case, today in Toronto there was a marathon and two major sports events, which means getting across town would have been madness. I opted to stay here, alone. My kids called and that was nice; friends sent messages, also nice. I went to the Y and floated for ages in the hot tub, really nice. And now there’s some great Sunday night TV. That’s a happy day.

Last night I watched a documentary about Dorothea Lange, the groundbreaking photographer born in 1895, who wrestled, as women always have and perhaps always will, with her love of her craft versus the needs of her children and stepchildren – even though her second marriage was to a social activist who was her most ardent supporter. One anecdote particularly resonated with me: she worked for FDR’s government during the Depression, chronicling the brutal life of migrant workers in camps. Driving home after a long day, she saw a sign for another camp, drove by, tired, but then did a U turn and went back to explore the camp with her camera. It’s there she took the photo she called Migrant Mother, a desperate woman with her two children, which became one of the most iconic images of the Depression and in fact of all American photography.

Inspiring. I thought – I myself would have been hungry for dinner and thirsty for a glass of wine and perhaps worried about my family. I would have said, I’ve done enough for today and kept right on going.

A lesson. Not that I expect to change, but a lesson nonetheless.

Here are some faces: Migrant Mother

my own non-migrant mother, aged 89, doing a crossword just two months before she died; 
and my dear Wayson, in a notice taken out by his publisher that appeared on the weekend in the big daily papers. He’d have been tickled. “You’re spoiling me,” he used to say. “Don’t stop.” When I came in yesterday the light on my phone was blinking, a message for me; my heart stopped. The only person who left me messages, and many of them, was Wayson. But this was a welcome call from Anna who actually telephoned, a rare event for the texting generation. 




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About Beth

I began keeping a journal at the age of nine. Nearly fifty years later, I started this online journal, sharing reflections, reviews, updates, and the occasional secret.

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