Material Witness will focus on extreme textile process. Images will be posted here showing the history of my work, new work, developing projects and inspiration.

Thursday, September 18, 2008


I got an e-mail this morning informing that people from one of my old high schools in Calgary have left a message and want to be contacted back. I actually froze in my chair.
What would I say to someone from that far back in my life?

I left the city more than thirty years ago and have only returned a few times. My goal as a child was to get the hell out of there and I did! Of course there were people I cared about but all but a very few also left. Some friends, like Karen, live within a few miles of me now. I checked once and discovered that sometimes people you don't remember find you and try to sell you things.

There are vivid childhood memories edited for my own purposes of course. Things are more or less tragic than they were. Smells, textures, colours are burnt into the sensory box. People are weirder , funnier or nicer than in real life. The sophisticated and cool ones were also awkward children then. They are very personal memories because there are no actual physical reminders to reinforce actual events.

Once I went back to my old house. I hid makeup in a fence my grandfather built. Lipstick and mascara were stored for use because I wasn't allowed to apply it at home and did so in the school washroom with many of the other innocent and bare-faced girls. Sometimes we would simply apply it in the cold at the bus stop. We also religiously washed those tarted up little faces before returning home. Years and years later the forgotten makeup was still there! Rusted old mascara and lipstick tubes that survived the homes many owners! There was also a heart scribbled in the fence. ALBERT LOVES PATTY. So there was some evidence I was there. That I had been kissed by a neighbour boy and that once I was decorated.

Who could it be? Perhaps an old sweetheart in life crisis or someone dying more intently than me? I didn't have any unclaimed children because I was actually a baby birth control advocate.
Did someone in my family leave anyone behind? Not that I heard of except for an old Aunt.

Once on checking the School Site there were some of the more unusual names that actually had children attending the school. A few stayed in the old neighbourhood that I wanted desperately to escape. Some married high school sweethearts and lived happily ever after. Some married high school sweethearts and had bitter divorces. I married someone from my city who also wanted to move far away. We didn't live happily ever after together but both have interesting lives. My next husband had to leave a town he loved and move far away because all the work dried up there. He arrived in Vancouver by fate and became mine.

These days it is hard enough to keep up with my immediate relatives. I have four children and they have spouses. I have one living estranged parent,brothers, their daughters and my husband's family. Together there are extended families in five continents.

I am reminded that one can never have enough friends. So maybe I'll phone in my secret code and find out who left me a mesage unless it costs 19.95 for a reminder to renew!

No comments: