For the past few years, I've been working on a memoir. Writing this has taken me down a number of trails and taught me some unexpected things about myself.
I had originally intended to publish a book, and had actually gone so far as to format the first 80 pages into book format.
But over the last few months, I've decided that for the time being it makes more sense for me to blog my story. I can always put it into a book later on.
You can either follow my blog posts, come to this page to see the list of posts in order, or have my posts emailed to you (see below.)
To catch a glimpse of what LoveChild will be like, here’s the opening to my award-winning true story, “The Diamond Ring,” which was published in the anthology Hot Apple Cider.
The other guests at the birthday party appeared to be having a wonderful time. I was counting the minutes until I could go home and read a book or design more clothes for my paper dolls. As soon as we’d eaten the birthday cake, I said I had to leave early. Dressed in my best party dress and my white sandals, carrying a little basket of candy and trinkets, I fought to hold back the tears that started the moment I closed the door….
It was 1955, and I was seven years old….
One more thing: the word "LoveChild" in my title has more than one meaning:
1. Lovechild is another term for a child born out of wedlock. Otherwise known throughout history as a bastard. I grew up not knowing anything about my birth or my natural parents. Had they loved me? Did it matter? I didn't know.
2. As an adopted child, I was loved by the people I called Mom and Dad, even though they weren't my natural parents. I was truly their "child" and they loved me.
3. I grew up knowing from a very young age that God was my best friend, and that he loved me. Always. Even before I existed. I am truly his LoveChild.
Posts in Order
“Any transition serious enough to alter your definition of self will require not just small adjustments in your way of living and thinking but a full-on metamorphosis.”-Martha Beck, O Magazine, “Growing Wings,” January 2004 Have you ever been in a room filled with adults when someone walks in with a newborn baby?Most of the people
“Other things may change us, but we start and end with family.” -Anthony Brand On the stairway leading to our second floor, I have two photos of each of my four sons. The smaller pictures were taken at the hospital the day each one was born. Below each birth picture
“There may be no secrets in small towns, but there are no strangers either.”-R. A. Mathis My new parents lived in Indian Head, a pretty prairie town about 40 minutes east of Regina, Saskatchewan. Surrounded by flat wheat fields, the town was visible from a distance because of a dozen tall, white elevators filled with grain
“My idea of absolute happiness is to be in bed on a rainy day with my blankie, my cat, and my dog.”-Anne Lamott Besides Mom and Dad, there were two other very important members of my new family.The first was a cat named Fluffy. She was a Persian, with long, white hair. Sadly, I have no pictures
“A baby is a little bit of heaven on earth.”-Author Unknown Me at six/seven months As you can see, I’m bundled up in my carriage with a sweater, hat, and blanket because I might get cold. It’s either June or July. Me at eight/nine monthsMom is in a short sleeved dress and I’m wearing
“My life has been shaped by the decision two people made over 24 years ago. They decided to adopt a child. They got me, and I got a chance at the kind of life all children deserve.”-Karen Fowler, Reflections on Motherhood The wait was almost overAs I mentioned last week, I’m sure waiting for my
“Call it a clan, call it a network, call it a tribe, call it a family. Whatever you call it, whoever you are, you need one.”-Jane Howard, “Families” Of course, my parents weren’t all alone in the world. So I also gained two new extended families. While none of them lived near us during my first year,
“All of our ancestors live within each one of us whether we are aware of it or not.” -Laurence Overmire My mother’s heritage/ancestry was very important to her. She often reminisced about the few stories she’d heard. Especially her father’s side of the family.So, before we go further, I’m going to share with you some
“Do not diminish who you are. Your gender, your heritage, your identity. That’s what makes you unique.”-Strong by Kailin Gow The Agnew FamilyI realize this part of my story might be of interest to only a small number of people, so feel free to skip it. My focus isn’t on finding out all the details
“You don’t stumble upon your heritage. It’s there, just waiting to be explored and shared.”-Robbie Robertson Read my post about Bruce’s family – Our MacDonald / Casselman Heritage.Read my post about Alice’s family – Our Agnew / Shaw Heritage.Wapella, SaskatchewanAs I indicated in the two previous posts, Alice was born in Wapella, Saskatchewan, and had
“I’m just kind of taking whatever life gives me and hoping that I make the right decision.”-Amy Smart Margaret MacDonald left home when she was 16 to go to the city of Winnipeg, Manitoba, and start a new life. On the surface, her story is a simple one. Eldest child of a 17-year-old mother and a
“No journey is too great if you find what you seek.”-Anonymous Since Dad rarely spoke about his background, almost everything I know about it was told to me by my mother (and inevitably coloured by her perspective), picked up through my own observations, or overheard when members of Dad’s family were talking. In addition, the Shaw
My desire to understand my parents led me all the way back to Ireland during the famine of the 1840s.
“We’re all ghosts. We all carry, inside us,people who came before us.”-Liam Callanan, The Cloud Atlas In Part 1 (my last post), which was primarily about our Sherritt ancestors, I mentioned that George Sherritt married Sarah Jane Baird in 1873. Side Note: In case, like me, you’re wondering why so many first names are
It’s so easy to forget, in 2019, that only 100 years ago, life was very different. And that 150 years ago, many immigrants, many from Ireland, were building homes in Canada, creating communities, clearing farmland, and building cabins, and then houses, in which to live and raise their families. My paternal grandparents were two of those people.
He was 26, a quiet country boy with only grade 8, still living with his very religious mother and working at a job he didn’t like. She was 27, a thoroughly modern girl who’d left home at 16 to work at Eaton’s, and loved to be out dancing. But it was love at first sight for these two very different people.
After a hasty marriage, Robert and Margaret, two very different people, begin to learn about one another. That’s made even more difficult when they’re living with other family members.
Bob and Margaret had settled into a new life in Indian head, and were building their future together. But one piece of their plan wasn’t working out the way they’d hoped.
My mother had no training in looking after children. Only a Dr. Spock book and a few friends she could go to for advice. Except she’d have trouble doing that. So when I was little, and testing the boundaries, she struggled to make me do as I was told.
As always, the new year began with my birthday. But it also began with my parents wondering if they should make another change in our circumstances.
Because my grandmother turned 80, I got to know dad’s family better, and learned I had a cousin my age.
Even though Jennie Shaw, my dad’s mother, was 80 when I was six, she still managed to be a powerful influence on my life.
My grandfathers died before I was born, Granny Shaw was quite elderly, and I rarely saw Granny MacDonald, but I had Aunt Margaret and Uncle Albert.