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Zoom rehearsals

A new kind of day, in a fresh coating of snow – much happening while I sat in my kitchen, one Zoom rehearsal at one and another at two. The first was for the CNFC event on Saturday, five writers from Vancouver to Toronto reading from their recently-released books. And then a preview from the National Yiddish Book Centre in Amherst, Mass., before the event on Thursday evening, a gathering of the descendants of famous Yiddish writers, an impressively august assembly and, for some reason, me. 

While I write, I’m listening to a Paul McCartney concert from Abbey Road. There’s a great new interview with him in the NYT, with his customary self-deprecating sense of humour. 

What happened also was, not having much money, when anything came into the house, it was important. It was important when my weekly comic was delivered. Or my penpal — I had a penpal in Spain, Rodrigo — when his letter came through, that was a big event. When they had giveaways in comics with little trinkets, I kept them all. Some people would say that’s a hoarding instinct, but not having anything when I was a kid has stuck with me as far as money. You know, I’m kind of crazy. My wife is not. She knows you can get rid of things you don’t need.

You’re a hoarder? I’m a keeper. If I go somewhere and I get whatever I bought in a nice bag, I will want to keep the bag. My rationale is that I might want to put my sandwiches in it tomorrow. Whereas Nancy says, “We’ll get another bag.” In that way, my attitude toward money hasn’t changed that much. It’s the same instinct to preserve. One of the great things now about money is what you can do with it. Family and friends, if they have any medical problem, I can just say, “I’ll help.” The nicest thing about having money is you can help people with it.

As a fellow keeper, I love this! I too keep the nice bags. Love the thought of the richest musician in the world wrapping his sandwiches in nice saved bags. Last night, I watched another episode of “His Dark Materials,” about Lyra and her adventures in other worlds. In her world, everyone has a daemon – an animal who’s a manifestion of each person’s soul – a beautiful invention, easily produced on film, now, with CGI tech. And at 4 a.m., as I lay mulling, I thought, I know who my daemon is. Not an animal, but Macca. Mr. McCartney is part of my soul. If something happens to him, I will feel as if part of my soul has been ripped out. 

I know you’re snickering. What is this pathetic woman, still 13? Yes, part of me, yes. 70 and still all my loving. And proud of it. 

Looking at my hands as I type – one of my knuckles has started to swell a bit, I guess with the beginning of the arthritis that turned my aunt Margaret’s hands into claws. One of my fingers gets stuck bent, and I have to snap it straight with another finger. “Welcome to la viellesse,” said Monique, laughing.

Real snow today, but not cold. It looks like my fire stove might happen after all. If it arrives, I will plonk myself down in front of it, as my mother used to say, until May. Or maybe June. 




2 Responses to “Zoom rehearsals”

  1. theresa says:

    That's the BEST story about Paul and his lunch bags. And now I feel better that I don't have to nervously think of myself as a hoarder but rather as a keeper. I wonder if it's because my parents were so frugal? It's hard to throw away perfectly good string or sturdy cardboard cartons or even lunch bags….

  2. beth says:

    For him, I think it's also the legacy of Britain during the war, the years of rationing. My British grandparents saved everything, rubber bands and string … and unless our fridge was so full food was falling out, my mother thought we would starve. It just makes me laugh to think of a man worth many millions of pounds carefully saving bags. A KEEPER. That's who we are, Theresa.

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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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