Monday, 26 January 2015


Another of my very occasional musings:

Thoughts on my university attendance:

After Maryann's Maryann Corbett sentimental FB post yesterday, I went for a virtual tour of my old University Residence at Queen's University today (through this technology undreamed of when I was there). It has altered so little in appearance really since I went at 17 as the youngest student there, and Dean Bryce followed me with hawk eyes and I was gated before Easter.
I shared a double room and Fanny Hill raced around our innocent floor in timed loan-outs. But I also saw Leonard Cohen and Margaret Atwood while they were still poets, and went to an early concert with Seiji Ozawa conducting. The serious women still look down from walls --for some reason I remember also one of Ella Fitzgerald -- and we felt we had to live up to them somehow, while the birth control pill arrived and registration was computerized in third year (two things that would revolutionize our world). 
I studied here for four years, and joined the International Students Association, the Peace Movement (SUPA), the NDP, demonstrated against Vietnam and for US Civil Rights, and organized and went on a Community Poverty Project in second year summer where we lived in the local community of ex-cons and their families (Kingston was also the home of the Federal Penitentiary) and other under-privileged people, and tried to help empower them. The CBC did a TV program on us where their camera was more interested in my face than what I said! In other summers I worked for the English Dept. doing research.
Oh the angst (Erich Fromm), the passion (Simone de Bouvoir), the anger (Camus, Sartre), the vows (to fight against all war) --ok, what's new.! But we threw off pill box hats and lived in jeans, sloppy sweaters, mini -skirts; and the best music ever, in folk, blues, rock, soul, protest, classical, just kept coming. We chucked out irons and all other housework, made angels in the snow (winter is the dominant season), and danced. We lost our virginities with speed and pride (and little knowledge), fell in love (mostly with the wrong people), and pigged out on art, poetry, great literature, and politics and philosophy, and had so much hope. 
A science friend told me they'd discovered soap suds could harm your health, so always rinse dishes....which I've done since; we also had nuclear sirens practising and worrying us all the time (always had had); we had hard histories some of us. But we believed in the health of democracy (I went up to listen to Parliament debate in Ottawa --just walked in and sat in the Gallery one afternoon (as two years later I would wander up Downing Street and through Westminster Hall), and on Canada's centenary, danced and sang in a massive crowd around the Houses of Parliament.  
And since we knew the oil sands could never be developed --they were not viable, economically  --life still seemed full of endless possibilities.....
I also watched Kennedy's funeral in this building, though, very very young, silent and shocked. 
I knew I'd be dead before the millenium; would have to be; would be too old and useless after........hmmm.....

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