Spring of nineteen seventy-nine. My mother, feeling unwell, takes a cab to the hospital. Refuses to inform family, and dies alone, as was her wish.Life goes on in its chaotic way, with the added complications of the aftermath, including an unexpected windfall. Each of her four surviving children receives a share of the insurance money. What I receive isn’t a fortune, but it’s more money than I’ve ever had at one time. Calling for decisions: do I set up the living space for my daughter and I, the way “real families” live – i.e. carpet, couch, decent appliances? Do I save the money for some later time? Do I take the money and do what I’ve always dreamed of doing: get the hell out of Canada?
I opt to get the hell out of Canada. Offer a nine-year old girl the choice between traveling with me to see the world, or waiting for me out at her paternal grandmother’s place in Israel. This will be our second separation, with her on one continent and I on another. She opts for her grandmother’s place.
What I remember most, prior to reaching my decision, is sitting on my bed, reading the exchanges between the Apollo astronauts and their contacts at Mission Control. The memory makes an insistent come-back this morning.
At a recent City Council meeting, a newly elected representative of the people made a lengthy contribution. Those who were there tell me it was something like the roll call of his illustrious ancestors. Illustrious for the fact of having been born within the present borders of this country. I hear a woman told him the only person who could have total certainty as to his origins was his mother. I also hear many people are saying you mustn’t make waves in the presence of the Front National. I tend to think that, in this matter as in all others, you choose how and when you respond, then, ride whatever waves show up as best you can.
Story? Has everything to do with what precedes.