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researching Dad, revealing the truth

Yesterday I started, again, delving into the mountains of material I have on my parents for the next book. There’s so much, it’s overwhelming, which has led me for years to stop and start. I just found the address book that was on Dad’s desk when he died; inside, a letter I’ve never read before, a beautiful, funny, loving letter to Mum written in 1950, when she was in NYC with infant me and he was in Halifax finding us an apartment. There are boxes and bags of these treasures – how to sort, how to file, how to figure out what matters most and try to make it matter to others? 

No idea, yet.

I Googled Dad. A research award was created in his name at the U of A, so lots of names come up that have nothing to do with him now. But other stuff does, including, this time, a research paper published in 1980 with a Ph.D. student of his whom I remember well; he spoke at the memorial for Dad in Edmonton a few months after Dad’s death. He’s now an important scientist at a university in Denmark. I emailed the university, asking them to pass my email address on to him. 

This morning, there he was, happy to hear from me after more than 30 years. He knows other colleagues of Dad’s, too. I hope to get another side of the story, the professional, university, scientist side I know little about. Exciting work!

Otherwise – life. The dumpster fire to the south of us. Monique and I will be watching the VP debate tonight – hard to imagine Harris and Pence on the same stage, let alone discussing anything. And I have to say – I think the whole Covid thing with Trump was staged, an attention-getting stunt. No obese 74-year old walks out of hospital like that, no matter how many experimental treatments he’s getting. No?  

May he go away forever and soon.  The whole loathsome crew. To jail. 

Went to the Y again – it’s sadder there than ever, with the second wave crashing over us they’ve had to reduce the class sizes even more – maximum of ten people in half the enormous gym. The place is so empty. But I’m there, happily being ordered around, with music. Works for me.

Blustery with sun today. Soon time to shut down the garden for good, and then we’re locked inside for months. A good time, it would seem, for a big writing and research project. Onward. 

Finally, a stunning image for you. My friend Annie’s daughter Amelia, who took the ballgown photograph I now use as my head shot, was diagnosed this summer with breast cancer. Though the whole experience was terrifying for her and her family, in the end, they found it was Stage 1, low risk, not even needing chemo. But she did have a mastectomy, and in honour of breast cancer awareness month, she decided to take pictures and make them public. I salute this brave and incredibly beautiful young woman, mother of two, photographer, artist. 

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3 Responses to “researching Dad, revealing the truth”

  1. Stage 1, low risk, not even needing chemo. Why did she have a mastectomy, then?

  2. beth says:

    I don't know the medical details, Juliet. I only know she had a mastectomy but did not require further treatment.

  3. beth says:

    PS I do know there was a large lump, they were concerned it was advanced, she wanted it removed immediately and opted for a mastectomy, and then they discovered that it was not stage 3 or 4, as they'd feared, but stage 1. She doesn't regret anything.

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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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