Okay, I guess it is time I did some actual writing instead of featuring everyone else!
I could give excuses like I have been depressed the last several days, or I am busy cleaning and packing, or my pain levels have been very high, or I just have writer’s block, but I won’t. I will just say let’s get on with it!
I went to my reunion on Saturday and it was fabulous. So many people remembered me (and I remembered half of them as my “remembery” isn’t working very well anymore). Terry Fox was definitely there in spirit. I shared about my yearbook being stolen and returned 40 years later because someone spotted Terry’s name on the inside cover amongst a sea of other signatures. Everyone liked the story.
Doug Alward was there (real name). Doug was a great friend of mine and best friend of Terry’s. I told him about the last time I saw him. Without mentioning a date or year I said that he walked into my Dad’s drugstore where I was working. We hadn’t seen each other in a long time and I asked what he was up to. He said in his shy humble way, “Oh, I am planning to go across Canada with a friend.” It was busy so I said that was really great and he was gone. That trip across the country was Terry’s Marathon of Hope, but I didn’t know that until a friend sent me a tiny news clipping about Terry and Doug traveling east to start. He still works with the Terry Fox Foundation to this day and spoke to us how Terry had hoped to raise $1million for Cancer research. Even before he passed away he had reached that goal many times over.
I felt free to just be myself. Many people asked about my cane and I gave them the Coles Notes version, but a few wanted to know more and were interested in my blog.
I also found out an interesting fact from grade 7. In those days elementary school went to grade 7 and we had a “graduation party”. My Mom made me a beautiful long navy and white long shirt dress and helped me with my hair. I felt awkward but pretty.
When it came time to dance I sat on one of the benches against the wall of the gym, knowing that I would not be asked. Then, one of the boys came straight up to me and asked me to dance. I was so surprised and happy I almost tripped on my dress getting up. But I realized we were the first ones to the dancefloor and figured something was up. I had many pranks pulled on me to make me feel like I was popular only to find out the truth.
He told me that yes, he was the one who lost and had to ask me but that I was a good dancer and he was glad he did. We only danced two songs but it was great even though in my heart it was bittersweet.
Well, someone at the reunion told me that it was actually the GIRLS who set it up. They would not dance unless someone asked me to dance first! They were doing it FOR me, not to ridicule me. I went through all these years thinking it was just another prank from the boys, but now I know the truth I realize these girls, now women, always had my back.
Would my life have been different if I had stayed on the coast for grade 12? I am now thinking more than before that it might have been. I was running from home troubles and what I thought was problems at school…maybe my depression and bipolar would have been diagnosed a lot earlier had I stayed.
But then again, in those days it was harder to diagnose than even in the 90’s when I was first told I had depression, OCD and bipolar. Now a diagnosis is much easier to come by.
By 9:30 pm I was exhausted and in pain so it was time to leave. I said my goodbyes to as many as I could find and thanks to the organizers for including TB and me. Then, came the barrage of FaceBook friend requests back and forth.
And once we were in the van traveling home, I was back in 2016. It was nice to relive 1976 even for a few hours.