Thursday, September 24, 2009
My mother and I were polar opposites in many ways. In the 70's when Astrology was being taken very seriously I had our charts done on several separate occasions by practitioners who were well versed in Dane Rudyar's methods and learned then how essentially opposite we were. I don't know if any of this means anything to you but it turned out my mother had four signs in Taurus, all in the first house while I have five signs in Scorpio, also all in the first house. Essentially, that meant someone very attached to the earth as the mother of someone born to a fluid environment. We loved one another deeply but were bound by our very natures to suffer through the differences.
The only man my mother truly loved, other than her brothers, was her father. As a late 19th century man, Grandad was a stone mason in the north country of England who built miles of the famous dry walls and dams. He was also a gardener. He and my grandmother had ten children with my mother being the first girl born after three brothers. My grandmother ran a village shop, post office and pub all at the same time. Naturally, as they grew up the children were expected to help. Grandad took flowers to the local church every Sunday morning and for all the assorted religious celebrations like weddings, christenings and funerals but never set foot in a church if he could help it. His adage was that he found more holiness under God's sky than he did in church but that he understood the needs of others.
When my parents married shortly before WWII Grandad carefully arranged a big bouquet of sweet peas as her wedding flowers. The south of England was far away from the north in those days and my mother had already lived there for seven years in St. Alban's where she'd been the lady's maid and companion to a pair of very wealthy sisters who'd lost their fiance's in WWI. My dad had never lived in the south but since that's where the work was in the huge shipyards of South Hampton, that's where they went. The war came. My dad joined the navy and my mother worked in a munitions factory. They ended up separated for most of the next six years. Like many more, I was born the year after the war ended and I turned out to be a weak and sickly child. The doctors advised my parents to leave England for a drier climate. I think they had in mind Australia or the southwest of the United States but instead they moved to southern Ontario in Canada.
By then my dad was in his 40's, mam nearly 10 years younger and both of them had to work if they were to afford a house, a car, a garden and plane fare back to England for family visits. It took five years. My mother always tried to grow sweet peas in her garden but the hot dry summers always saw them wither and die. I grew up and went to England and Europe for two years and when I returned to North America there were always places other than Toronto that seemed more interesting as places to live and explore. Both our letter writing skills grew and there were many visits but always from a distance, so the visits were intense.
Jerry and I were with her when she died one winter afternoon a few years ago. When I returned to work on a Monday morning in February there was a crystal vase filled with sweet peas on my desk. Whether from pain or deep happiness, certainly both if truth were told, I wept.