Thursday, August 26, 2010

"What ,Me Worry?"

In 1943 and 1944 my mother would take my brother Ken and me on the Goose Line from Kindersley to Saskatoon and then put us on the Transcontinental to Uno, Manitoba,about 400 miles away. My uncle would drive up from Isabella, about 20 miles north, in the model A and pick us up at about 1 am. I was 9 years old and Ken was 5. I was always worried, since I was in charge, that I would sleep through Uno and Ken and I would get lost. We never did. I don't think Ken ever worried. The Transcontinental stopped for us at Uno, the conductor always was prompt to appear in the day coach at the time; I never lost our tickets, and my uncle never failed to arrive. Ken and I spent two happy summers on the farm but when I look back on it now it seems it was a real imposition on my uncle's family and moreover, we never brought our ration tickets. My little brother David visited us in Plymouth England in 1963 with my mum and dad. They went off on the Continent for a week and left David to take another train to Waterloo Station to be met by Great Aunt Dora, who he did not know nor she him. The pianist and I put him on the train. He was 11 years old. I was more worried than he was I guess, but he looked pensive through the train window as they left. Great Aunt Dora located him we learned later. It reminds me of Julia Child in the movie waiting with her friend Simone in the Paris train station for Ernestine , with whom she has corresponded, but never met. Ernestine was to be indentified by a coat color. When I was 3 years old I got on a street car ahead of my mother who was temporarily diverted and I travelled the crowded street car a few blocks alone.I was worried. I had never been in Winnipeg. I remember it as if it were yesterday, seeing her racing along but unable to catch the street car. It reminds me of the scene where Dr. Zhivago sees Lara on the sidewalk and races off the street car but cannot find her. My mother couldn't find me and I cried on the street until a policeman came by and took me to the station. He bought me an ice cream cone. He chided me because I didn't, at that age, know how to tell the police where I was staying. Eventually I was collected by my mother. I was worried and bawled again. I am still afflicted with travel anxiety. Silly me!

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