I just had a birthday on Valentine’s Day. Now I’m 65! It doesn’t feel very good. I feel old!
Last weekend, we rowed our boat out on the ocean. Jane Ashcroft, my roommate, was out there. We’ve had it for a long time, bought it from some man who wanted to sell it. It was just something to do. The man who we bought the boat from chipped in on it for us. We went to Spanish Banks one day, and somewhere else the next. That was nice. We could go out on the boat; Flo’s boyfriend could row. Flo’s my girlfriend.
I’ve got a rotten flu today. It seems I’m never healthy in this hospital. I’m sick everyday.
I was born in Vancouver, BC. I had a good childhood, but it seems so far away. My daughter Jane is 44 already, and I’m 64.
My single best memory would be the very first time I saw Jane as my daughter. She was eight months old, and that was, god, exciting. I adopted her from the hospital. Jane herself could just have one, so she adopted some babies. She’s got three girls now. We only had Jane. She was adopted, her and my brother.
Dennis-that was my brother-and I used to fight over the cat, William, all day, just about who gets to keep it and play with it. We got that cat from the SPCA. That’s all we fought about. Now he’s dead…that makes me so sad. You wouldn’t think you’d think about people after they were dead, but you do.
Did Jane have any pets? Oh my god, she had about seven or eight. She had three dogs, guinea pigs-she had 50!-and 6 cats. She used to have some fish and a bird. She used to come to me and say, “Mommy, can I get some more guinea pigs?” I said, “Yea, you can get some more guinea pigs if you get up and look after them all yourself.” So she did. She was good at that. I remember one of the guinea pigs got out and got into her bed. I guess it just stayed in her bed. We couldn’t afford veterinarians.
In high school I took French. When I graduated, I could’ve put down that I’d like to speak French, but I didn’t. So I graduated, but I didn’t speak French. After graduation, I was still working as a telephone operator for BC Tel. I worked there till I was twenty, and then I went back to school, Richmond High. I studied everything: biology, French, English, spelling, music…I can’t remember what else. I used to find studying kind of boring, but it’s different for me now, since I can’t write anymore, and I can’t walk. I used to do the high jump. I used to run, when I could run. I used to ice-skate. The best time of my life was when I was a teenager. It was just the teenage parties we used to have. What are the teenage parties like now?
Something I really remember, what I really enjoyed, was coming back to Vancouver after living in England, which I hated. I found England very small and oh, tiny. I just didn’t like it, and I didn’t know anybody there. You see, you can be quite lonely if you’re somewhere and you don’t know anybody there. And I didn’t know anybody there. I used to go out and just…I was very bored. But I did go to the biggest city in England, London. It was very nice.
I lived there for six years. My ex-husband-I must have been nuts marrying him!-he’d lived there before we got married, and he wanted to be a gambler. We were married for 26 years and have been divorced for twenty, and we used to have lots of money, but we don’t now. Oh, I’ve had a life! Maybe I should say something to my first husband, but I don’t know what.
I was married to my second husband for 21 years, in Richmond. So depressing, living across from a hospital. My second husband used to be a painter. I was just thinking of Dennis, and he said it would be fun to be a house painter. You forget things like that and it makes you feel sad. It’s so hard to accept when someone dies. I just don’t know what the trick is. Oh, well. Life is tough.
My wheelchair tipped over on me one time. The girl that was looking after me wasn’t watching, and just left. So, since I’m very impulsive, I came very close to standing up, and walking all by myself. And if I’d done that I’d be dead. When I leaned forward, my wheelchair tipped over. I can’t stand up because I’ve got multiple sclerosis. I’m all numb from the waist down. My arms, my hands are numb, that means I can’t write anymore.
I came to George Pearson Centre right away. It made it easier to cope, because you’ve got nurses to help you. I couldn’t manage all by myself. It’s alright here. I read romance and mystery novels. Did you ever read Nancy Drew? I used to read lots of Nancy Drew. I used to read a lot. It’s just what I don’t do now, and I should. I haven’t really thought about moving out, because I don’t know where there’d be to go. No, I probably wouldn’t, I don’t know anybody. See, I know everybody in here.
I was wondering if you could tell me what’ll happen to me after this. Will I be here for the rest of my life?
Little Mrs. Mao
[ Little Mrs. Mao. She was from Hong Kong. She was 100, and she died. Little Mrs. Mao. I haven’t any idea how she did it. Seeing as she couldn’t speak English, it was kind of hard to talk to her, because I could only speak English. I never did learn Chinese. She had lots of children. She had about seven girls, no boys. She died about eighteen years ago. She was so sweet.
But she couldn’t speak English. She was very smart, she could’ve; she could’ve learnt it, but she didn’t. She couldn’t speak English, but she was very smart. You could tell, by what she said, for example, how she said it. You know, she’d ask me if I wanted any bread. She was only about 4’7”. My mom was short, she was 4’8”. I’m 5’3”. Jane, my roommate, is 5’1”. ]
Little Mrs. Mao.
She was from Hong Kong.
She was one hundred when she died.
Little Mrs. Mao.
I haven’t any idea how she did it.
Seeing as she couldn’t speak English, it was kind of hard to talk to her, because
I could only speak English.
I never did learn Chinese.
She had lots of children.
She had about seven girls, no boys.
She died about eighteen years ago.
She was so sweet.
She couldn’t speak English,
But she was very smart; she could’ve.
She could’ve learnt it, but she didn’t.
She was very smart.
She was only about 4’7”.
Little Mrs. Mao.