Thursday, March 10, 2011

BOOK ONE Formative Influences 1. (rusks, Stampede Wrestling)

1. Aprons and eating bread rusks soaked in milk I first learned to know from my grandmother, Greta [1].

After you're tired of them fresh, dry them in a low oven until they're golden.

2. Womanliness without high heels I learnt from what I have known and remember from my aunt.

3. My mother set me an example of resourcefulness and intensity, avoidance of all judgment,--not in action only, but in thought as well—and a simplicity of life quite befitting my paycheque.

4. To my grandfather I owed the advice to not sit on my great-grandfather’s lap as he was over 90 then and all yellow chicken-y skin and bones.

5. It was one of our boarders who first read me Dickens’ Great Expectations although I was 13, encouraged me to set the table properly; learn to run, and buy "arty" greeting cards.

6. Thanks to TV I learned models of femininity via Ginger and Mary Ann,

yet to be skeptical of home gadgets sold on Sunday afternoons, or late at night, as well as the sweaty antics of Stampede Wrestling—and other such distractions. Not to resent pastel colours worn by preppy US girls, to familiarize myself with books—beginning with The Hotel New Hampshire and going on to The Catcher in the Rye. To keep journals and write elaborate letters to traveling friends, and to be ardent for the ironic typewritten page with funny pictures attached by double-backed scotch tape depicting the various rigours of living on the prairies.

[1]Greta R. (1919-) Grandmother on my mother’s side. Poultry farmer’s wife; frustrated writer, she would sandwich poems for her 5 children into their lunch boxes. She made almost everything from scratch, including her bread rusks.

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