Sunday, January 8, 2012

The Innocent Traveller

I just finished reading a very nice Canadian novel, the Innocent Traveller, which is basically a saga of a woman, who lived 100 years.
It touched upon both England and Canada, mostly Vancouver, from 1895 on wards.

Topaz lived the life of a single woman. It gave me a little smirk because when I got married and they issued my marriage certificate, it said spinster of age on it.
I laughed when I saw it then and I still laugh at the comedy of being called a spinster, in my still young 20's.
Had I married at 15 or 16, the marriage certificate would have said the same thing.
The book went through this "spinsters'" child hood, how she was raised, how the people around her died, how this affected her life and how finally she arrived on the shores of English Bay to live on Hastings Street.
By the sound of how they portray this street and China town, this once must have been the best area to live in.
The life this lady lived reminded me of my own Aunt Eugenia, who was also a lovely, lively, carefree woman. She loved everything, life, love children family and wherever she went her
gusto for life affected every one around her. She was followed around like bees to honey, admired, invited everywhere for tea.
She had no time for philosophy or politics but roses, flowers, picnics, parties , good cooking
everything having to do with entertainment,was what she was good at.

She loved to dress and sewed her own ball gowns which she looked dazzling in.
This was a lady with so many high heeled shoes, which are still in style today, and hats and necklaces, all of which I covered myself in, from head to toe.
She was a lot different from my own strict Mother.
She never complained when I got into her closet and would laugh seeing me all dolled up in her things.
I have to admit I was a cutie pie from the pictures where she was holding hugging and kissing me after I was so naughty.
But one time she was not so happy with me and I actually made her cry.
This was when she worked a whole month at the sewing factory, to buy herself
a very expensive bottle of perfume.
Of course I went into her room and found it. Her room always smelled nice because she had this mirror tray on her boudoir with old fashioned perfume atomizers which you were able to pushpush from a little ball at the end of a tube. I still prefer these kind of perfume dispensers to the new ones which take the personal touch away from the person using it and only promotes the brand name of the seller.

They were gorgeous and I so loved to touch and look at them.
But this perfume she did not have time or maybe did not want to put into the atomizer and left the bottle in the mirror tray.
So my little fingers grabbed it and opened it, and dumped it on my white curly head.
Not only did I do that but I also heard some one coming so I hid under the bed and dumped the rest of it on my head .
I was able to sit under there so I must have been small or the bed must have been very high.
Of course I stunk to high heaven and I don't remember who found me but I don't think it was my aunt.
I think it was my Mother and she was aghast at what I had done because she was always chasing me out of my aunts' room.
We all lived together at that time like they did in Topaz' time.
My aunt came home and she cried.
No matter what they did they could not get the smell out of my hair for a month and every day she would come home I would sit and remind her of the awful thing I did and she'd go into her room to wipe a tear from her eye.
I felt soo bad because I finally understood that I had hurt this beautiful womans' feelings badly.

She was not married at that time and I was very protective of her when gentlemen callers came to visit.
Whenever they would sit on the couch, I would make sure to come sit between them.
When ever they would touch her hand I would take it away lol
One day, the man who would become my uncle, was doing things because he was amused by the way I was defending my aunt. He would sit and laugh and I got angry and told him that if he did not stop touching my aunt I was going to push him and he would get his pants wet in a river.
This was a very big thing for me. lol
Until he died, he reminded me of what I threatened him with and kept asking me if I still wanted to push him so he got his pants
I had the same experience with my husbands' nephew.
My husband and I just got married and we were all sitting talking and somehow he asked me if his uncle and I slept together. Of course I told him Oh no. Uncle has his bed and I have mine.
Well his parents slept together , so his feelings were very hurt for me because I had to sleep by myself.
So my precious hero announced. Don't worry Auntie, I'm going to sleep with you. lol BIG MISTAKE!
Now he is grown, married, with his own children and I always ask him if he still wants to sleep with me. He gets embarrassed but I being an old chicken now, just laugh.

And so........this is family.
This is why family is important.
It keeps you alive and busy thinking about and caring about people around you who you love and become meaningful to you and your very existence. You worry about them and get into their business all for the purpose of having good will so they don't make big mistakes
which can cost them dearly raising their families.

So the Innocent Traveller brought back many memories for me because the people in it were very similar to those in my own family, where there always sat a heirarch which held things together by caring and then the heirarch dies and things disperse.

No matter how much you didn't like it, you respected family because it was the right thing to do.
You honoured it,because these people, with their busy body behavior loved and cared about you and what came out of their mouths could be trusted.
Every one of these people would stand up for you and your honor as much as for the family honor.
This is so different from todays' world where no one cares until someone is found in a ditch.
They put blame every where except where it belongs.
You always ask why was this person alone?
Why was this person not surrounded by a loving family?
Families separate. Behavior is selfish. Kids are not catered to and so much love is lost to
other things
and we wonder what happened to family?

Passion is also not something you get every day and breeding is not something that happens over night because you read a book or got a diploma. These things like family, become a way of life.
You have a passion for something that lasts a lifetime and breeding is something that keeps saying no, at a time when everything else says yes.
And yes keeps running on , saying yes till life becomes unbearable, and you wonder when and why NO became a bad word.

I enjoyed this book and it probably is something kids should read to have a taste of the old ways.
Who knows, it might skip a generation and have it grow on them, and their parents might end up being the lucky ones.

Have a great Day!


Zuzana said...

Oh, what a beautiful post! What a perfect lady and what wonderful way to immortalize her legacy by your kind words.;) I can only imagine that scent in your hair.;)
I guess I am spinster too and i wonder what they would have thought of me then, if I was about to get married now, hihi.;)
Thank you for your very kind comment today and sorry that I have not found any time to visit recently, but you sure are right, in May through to September, I will find solace in blogging again.;)
Have a great Monday,

George said...

Thank you for sharing all of these wonderful memories with us. It's always special when a book or movie reminds of our own experiences or at least gets us to thinking about them.

A Lady's Life said...

Zuzana is it the same where you live? What do they write on the marriage certificates? I don't think they do this today. lol
Thats such an odd word and very out of place even then when I got married lol

A Lady's Life said...

George I love reading books and then comparing them to my life.
I think people lose a lot by not reading old stories. It sorta keeps
you on the same road without missing links.
Its like being adopted as a baby and not knowing your past.

Linda-Australia said...

i love the Innocent Traveller and have read it many times. I loved what you wrote, family is so important and I love the way the family in this story are so loyal to each other. I love the way the story goes across so many years and we follow their story. Did you know that story is true, it is based on the ancestors of my husbands family. I have old letters from overseas here at home that tell of much in the novel. Love your posting.

A Lady's Life said...

Linda Thanks I also love family and isn't it interesting this book is about yours. It must make it so much more interesting to read.:)