By Omega Mom from 3KidsNoJob
Uncle Jim was a much-loved presence in my childhood. He had a double-honorary title. For a start, he wasn’t a blood relative nor an uncle, but a great-uncle by marriage.
There’d been one child, a little girl called Phoebe, who’d died when she was four. She had fits. She was a little odd. You could see it in the old family photographs where she’d be eyeing the camera doubtfully while her cousins beamed and showed off, big, cartwheeling blurs off to one side.
Uncle Jim and my great-aunt, Mary were devastated. The more so when they became close to a sick neighbour’s little girl and offered to adopt her. At the last moment, the mother recovered and decided to take her back.
But there was no sense of life lived under the shadow of grief. It must have been there, but perhaps they made a conscious effort to pack it away when we came to visit.
They loved us unconditionally, just as they’d loved my mother and her brother when they were growing up. We loved them back. For several years, I’d wake up, go to their room, climb into bed with them and share tea and biscuits with them. Then, one summer, my mother suggested that I was getting a little too big for ‘that sort of thing’.
She said it very gently, but I still felt a sudden pang of what felt very like shame, sensing that I’d been betrayed by my size. Too big and too innocent. I never got into bed with them again.
Uncle Jim had an orchard. I’d ride on the bonnet of his tractor, pick the apples, help load them onto the ancient, creaking conveyor belt that circled the big packing room and dropped them with a gentle flump into the padded compartments, big, medium and small, reading for crating up. It was safe, fun, idyllic, a job description of a child’s perfect holiday.
When I came back from the orchard, I’d often read. There was no shortage of choice. There were antique children’s stories in one bookshelf; my great aunt’s detective and ghost tales next to them and, upstairs, Uncle Jim’s small library.
It was here, one day, that I encountered a small volume I’d never seen before. It seemed to be about children, so I started to read it.
It didn’t take long before it dawned on me that it was not quite what I was expecting. It did feature children having exciting adventures but ones which required adult help of a rather peculiar variety.
I stopped reading and put it back. I felt just as I had done when my mother talked to me about getting into bed with Uncle Jim and Aunt Mary. Shamed. As though reading the book had in some way made me a bad person.
It was this sense of being somehow to blame that made me bury the whole event. I didn’t remember it again until years later, when Uncle Jim was dead and the orchard long since grubbed up to make way for a fine crop of executive houses.
It wasn’t a secret I kept deliberately. And I’ll never now know what lay behind it, if anything. All I do know, though, is that my beloved Uncle Jim remained just that, all the time I knew him – beloved. And I can’t help feeling glad.
Written by Omega Mum. Her blog, 3kidsnojob, takes a mainly wry and optimistic but occasionally bitter and twisted look at life without an income.
Monday, October 1, 2007
By Omega Mom from 3KidsNoJob
Featured Post and Blog of the Week
You Are Here
by Amie from MammaLoves...
You did well in school to get into college. You tried to get by well enough in college to be attractive to an employer or graduate program, and along the way you may have opened your heart a time or two. Maybe you even found true love.
With a foot in the door, the first years of work were the time to
prove your mettle once again. Promotions, raises all with the goal to secure your future will allow you to settle down, buy a house, travel, commit to a relationship, have kids or not. In what feels like a blink of an eye, your future is here.
And now what?
Chance Favors Only Those Who Court Her
After a less-than-friendly divorce, I was on the market again. Seizing the opportunity, my friends scoured their address books and Palm Pilots for single men and set me up on blind date after blind date. My reaction to most of those dates was, "I call these people my FRIENDS?" One of my real friends suggested Match.com, and given how much I love the Internet, I gave it a go.
A couple months of e-dating passed by in a blink. It was fun, but so far nothing meaningful had hit my radar, and my match inventory was starting to run low. You see, Match.com "matches" you to people based on a list of your requirements, and I'd pretty much run through all my existing matches who didn't seem psycho or stoned, based on their profiles.
Then, one day, I got an email from a guy who was not a match by my standards...
Read the full post...
A Lost Opportunity
by John from Altjiranga Mitjina
Trying to break in as a writer in the comic book industry can be a bit like the one legged man in a butt kicking contest. Every step forward you make means you land on your butt after your kick forward. Comic books are a visual medium. An artist can bring a portfolio to an editor at a convention and said editor can sit there and look at it within minutes and decide if this artist is worthy of working on the newest issue of Stupendous Man or not. Trying being a hopeful writer handing over a script to this same editor at a busy comic convention. You’ll be lucky if the editor agrees to take the script and promise that they’ll look at it later. Most times the hopeful writer is told to send for their submission guidelines and mail in their proposal.
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by Karen Rayne from Adolescent Sexuality Today with Karen Rayne, Ph.D.
This weekend I went out of town, leaving my family to fend for themselves. On Saturday, my darling husband took my two darling daughters – 6 and 3 years old – to what he heard was a fun new toy store in town. Great, right?
They walk in the door, and the 6-year-old pipes up with “Look, Daddy! Jesus toothpaste!” He takes one look, puts one hand on each girl’s shoulder, and does a 180 out of the store. It may be a fun new toy store, but it’s intended clientele does not include the under-13 set.
When I got home on Sunday, the first thing the 6-year-old says to me was, “Guess what! We saw Jesus toothpaste!” I blinked, figuring I hadn’t heard her correctly. Regrettably, I had...
A biker, a green thumb, a cracked hand, and a Queen.
A random biker on a Harley-Davidson took my picture last week. What I wanted to do was take his picture, but I hesitated. Now, instead of a photo of some random biker holding an i am bossy.com bumper sticker, all I have is a lame photo of me holding the bumper sticker and the mental picture of him riding off into the sunset, never to be seen again.
Okay, it wasn’t as romantic or dramatic as that. It was nine in the morning and there was no sunset.
This is not the first time that I have hesitated to seize an opportunity. I don’t expect it will be the last. However, I hope with each lost chance for something intriguing, I will lose a shade of that hesitation for next time...
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