I had really hoped that Mom would write down her life story.
As a small child, she would recount stories of when she was a little girl growing up in Truro, Nova Scotia and then in St. John’s, Newfoundland. She shared harrowing tales of playing in the river where there would be a tidal bore – and how did she ever survive her childhood?! – and of picking up elephant dung from the circus that was temporarily set up in the field across from her house on Culback St. She also told stories of segregation in her primary school and when it was that she realised there were different water fountains and bathrooms for different children depending on their race. She had wondered as a small child, “where is that little girl going when the bathroom is right here?”
I know there were painful memories too. Like when her mother died at such a young age. Did those memories prevent her from writing down her story?
In sorting through her things in her house, I discovered a book that is meant to be used to help you write your life story. So I know the idea of it wasn’t too far field.
In the last few weeks, I’ve also discovered bits of her writings in notepads, or journals or sometimes just scribbled on bits of paper.
A fragmented history.
Maybe someday pieced together.