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| Category: || General Fiction |
Posted:|| October 1, 2020 Views: 81|
Chapter 16 of the book Learning to Swim
"It Is What It Is!"
by Raffaelina Lowcock
It seemed to Anna that these we years of Surfing.
During this period of time, Les and I had decided we must move out of our two and a half room-environment. That would be step one to solving the problem that was getting larger by the day.
Les found an interesting ad under Rentals.
“Anna, here is something that we might like. It’s on Kingswood Road, which is a lovely street.”
“Okay, let’s make an appointment.”
We went to see it on a Saturday. It was perfect. The kitchen was on the second floor and so was the bathroom. There was a large bedroom on the third floor as well as a large living room that was separated by a roomy hallway.
I said, “This is fine. I like it Les, what do you think?”
Les turned to our future Landlord and said, “We’ll take it.”
We moved in the following week.
In our kitchen there was a window where we placed our table and the view was a ravine. I often sat there viewing the loveliness of the forest filled with beautiful trees and wildflowers in a myriad of colours as I wrote poetry inspired by the scenery.
I went to see my former high school teacher, Percy Gardiner, who was the Guidance Counselor at Malvern Collegiate. I wanted to know if there were any night courses.
He advised, “Perhaps you should register with the Correspondence Courses.”
I registered in History and English Composition.
I did the lessons faithfully which helped me during the empty evenings when Les worked overtime or attended meetings. I got good marks and found I loved the lessons.
Still, the thing that mattered most, the consummation of our marriage, was neglected. I felt we were drifting far apart with the new circumstances. We were hardly together through the week.
I was more intellectually engaged, and my thoughts were quite analytically inclined towards Les. I began to wonder how all this would end because it could not go on. I also noticed when we were at anything social, Les seemed to spend more time with the others than he did with me. That hurt badly. There was no doubt in my mind that I was being neglected.
Some nights as I lay beside him, while he was sleeping, I would feel the tears dripping down my cheeks onto my pillow. I longed for him to take me in his arms and love me. I was too timid and undemanding. I was reluctant to make the first move.
And then, Les began to have pain in his thigh.
He said, “I can’t determine where exactly it hurts. It just seems to suffuse my right hip with pain. I don’t even know what brings it on.”
He was admitted to East General Hospital and was under surveillance for a few weeks. He happened to be sharing a room with another patient who had cancer of the bone and you might guess he was convinced that was his problem. My husband was becoming a hypochondriac.
The doctor requested a one-on-one meeting with Les where he asked him to be candid about what was happening in his life. Les told him everything about what he had experienced from the wedding until then. The doctor then requested a meeting with the two of us.
At that meeting the doctor said, “There is nothing in your tests to indicate problems now or in the future Les. With what you've told me I believe it is psychological and is related to your failure to consummate your marriage. The problem is not your physical health. I think with the hernia surgery and subsequent tonsillectomy you are very tense. Try not thinking about the problem. Do something relaxing and when you make love just don’t stop.”
He looked at me and said, “Is this more or less what you think?”
I said, “Not exactly, but I feel somewhat the same about it being psychological.”
It was Pseudo-something. Well, that didn’t really surprise me.
Something was amiss here. Later when we were at home, I asked, “Les, are you worried about birth control? There is the Rhythm System that I can follow that tells me when in the month is the safest time.”
“Yes,” he said, “I know that’s part of it. I’ve been going to my mother’s house for lunch once in a while, and she keeps asking me and warning me that we shouldn’t have a baby yet. We should make sure we are financially fixed first, because of all the problems they had during the Depression, two years after I was born. Apparently, they lost their house.”
Now this put credence to my thought that he was worried about birth control. I could see how someone constantly reminding him about not getting me pregnant, could prey on his mind.
“So, okay we’ll check out the Rhythm System. I’ll let you know how it works.”
Well, even though I told him the dates that we would be safe, it didn’t happen. We were just not communicating. I was beyond frustrated with the entire scenario. I doubled down on my education. I registered for Spanish at Jarvis Collegiate and Geometry at Harbord Collegiate.
The months were flying by and before we knew it, we were into almost two years.
I needed to talk to someone, but this was so personal. I knew I should ask my sister Mary for advice but I was reluctant to tell anyone just yet.
My friend Isobel had confided in me when she was first married, that they were unable to complete the act. They eventually divorced. I wondered did that have an effect on me? For me, as a Roman Catholic, there was no question of divorce. There was so much to wonder about. I had to take some responsibility, I thought.
Meanwhile in the spring, we were at Don Craig’s one Saturday night when Bill Cook made a proposal. “What do you think about renting a cottage on Lake Simcoe in the month of July, for our group?"
Not everyone agreed, but it ended up with eight of us ready, willing, and able, although I had my doubts as to whether or not we should join in, Les definitely was in.
It didn’t take us long to find a cottage. The group consisted of Les and me, Bill Cook and Peggy, his wife, Jackie Summers, Bob Pemberton, Carol Crawford, Jack Philips, Don Craig and Mary Kosiak.
Now, guess what? It didn’t help our situation one bit. Sex on the weekend with an additional eight people in the same cottage, no way! The weekdays weren’t too good either, since we were busy with keeping up with our jobs. The situation was that on Friday nights some of the men and women went up to the cottage in Don’s car and/or hitch- hiked, while the rest went up on the Saturday, by bus.
That summer was an experience. Learning to get along with all those friends in close quarters and compromising when it came to meals and games, was good practice for future experiences.
Down the road from our cottage Vern Buffy and his family had a cottage and since Don Craig and he were friends we occasionally got together.
When August rolled around, and the Canadian National Exhibition was gearing up to open, I saw an advertisement in the paper wanting artists for portrait drawing. I had an interview with Hughie Forbes who was a famous Caricature Artist for the Telegram Newspaper.
Although I was an artist and would have wanted to pursue that career, having to quit High School, prematurely
stifled that goal.
I told him, “I don’t have much experience in portrait drawing.”
He said, “You’ll learn more in two weeks at the CNE than in any art course.”
So, I braved it. Les was beside himself. He was so worried because he didn’t think I could do it. I on the other hand was eager for the challenge.
On the first day, I hung back. I watched the other artists and if someone asked me to do a portrait, I would direct them to one of the other artists. Then I realized that would never do and started tentatively to become involved. I did learn a lot by watching and asking the other artists about certain techniques and I became more confident as the weeks wore on.
Les came down and hovered around me. “Are you okay?” He’d ask.
“Les, honestly, don’t worry. I’m fine.
I knew I was an artist and could draw well. That had been my goal at first when I discovered my talent. But, when I had to quit school prematurely, It was not to be. Also, Les had indicated that Commercial Artists were a dime a dozen and without certification, I didn't stand a chance in that venue.
He was worried sick that I would be embarrassed. It didn’t work out that way and he soon stopped worrying. He was so set in his ways that out of the box actions really threw him for a loop. I wasn’t that way. I was all for trying new things always.
To be continued...
|The book continues with July 11th, 1953.. We will provide a link to it when you review this below.|
Filling my life with meaning became somewhat of a chore, but I was determined to be active rather than sitting back and watching the time fly by.
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