In 1974, I was 14 years old.Suffering my first "peine d'amour", and a bout of mononucleosis, I was exiled to my grandparent's house in the country to recuperate.My parents visited every weekend, but for the most part, I was left to my own devices and the loving care of my grandfather. My grandmother was still working, and he made sure to wash the whole house from top to bottom every Friday before she arrived.We, or they, had a wood stove..and he would heat it up to such a degree I thought we'd melt, only to scoop the hot water from the reservoir on the side, pour it on the linoleum floor and start swabbing away like the best of sailors.Singing all the while, reminding me of old Jackie Gleason clips.

Sitting on the porch or balcony for weeks at a time, I started to write to my friends, write in my diary and start to write some poetry. Des petits mots douces to my boyfriend who was now persona non grata, given that my parents thought that he must have been "la personne" who had infected me. He came regularly to see me and we just held hands, but after a time, those visits ceased.He was free and that's what he needed.

During that time we had started listening to Harmonium, the Quebecois group that would take the province by storm.It was this first experience with the people, colour and fabric of the province that would mark me and instill in me the value of living in a multi-cultural society.I am the product of anglo stock, have two french step-parents and now numerous connections of cousins, step-siblings, grandparents and whatnot. I consider myself very lucky.

I get to live the french experience, both personally and professionally on a daily basis.

 

The words of Harmonium are the first that made sense to me, and now having viewed the interview with Serge Fiori, I wonder how he survived it and so does he.

His words are so poignant for a whole generation of people, anglophone, francophone.........

 

"Dis-moi ou je suis, dis-moi qui je suis, et viens ici, repond a ma question,  Repond..."

 

I remeber every word because it had a huge impact on my life and my writing