Happy New Year from our house to yours!

Photo borrowed from Flickr

The Best of New Years to you and your families, from Poetikat and the gang in the Hyggehus!

Thanks for sharing in my wild meanderings into the past days of my youth. I ‘m so happy that you’ve come to enjoy the trips back in time that I dredge up willy-nilly (usually in the middle of the night) when my brain suddenly clicks: “Ah ha! I remember that! I need to post that on my memoirs blog” There’s lots more where that comes from.

Please link to me on your blogs ( I’d love to have some new visitors to share in this experience), follow me and keep coming back for new excerpts from our past Generation- X worlds. It’s fun for me and I sure hope it’s as fun for you!

Thanks to everyone and I hope to see you in the New Year! I’ll be round to your blogs – you can be sure of that!

Love and blessings,

Kat

P.S. Don’t forget to sign my guestbook at the bottom of the page.

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Our Best Wishes For a Wonderful New Year!

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Happy New Year to all my blog-friends, old and new! You make blogging fun, enlightening, valuable and worth continuing. I hope you’ll continue to visit and partake of my offerings. I will surely be round to enjoy everything you present in 2009.

Peace!

Kat (& Kev and the 4 cats)

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Hot Wheels and me ( Most Wanted: Part 4)


To look at me, you would never assume that I have a thing for cars, but I do. It’s strange, this fascination of mine, but it goes back a very long way–back to the early 1970s and a highly unlikely Christmas present under the tree.

As a child, I was what you would call today a “girly girl”. My mother would dress me in finery – matching coats and hats, satin-sheened dresses and gloves, black patten-leather shoes and spic and span Buster Browns. Despite once being caught next to a trash can in the act of creating a home-cooked meal with a piece of stale bread in one hand and a near-empty bottle of Heinz ketchup in the other, I was to all intents and purposes, the model little girl and rarely did I get all grimy in the sporting arena. Being petite, I was uncoordinated and gangly and had no aptitude for athletics of any kind, save folk dancing.

I have always had a good memory for numbers and things. I still know my old student number from university by heart, I remember my best friend from grade school’s phone number, and I can tell you all the best picture Oscar-winning movies from 1960 to the present day. I can recognize just about every breed of dog, and I can point out different cars on the road.

Why would a “girly girl” care about cars?

Thank Santa Claus and Red Line “Hot Wheels” and the miles of orange track with its loop-the-loops all lain out in the front hallway of the bungalow on Pyramid Crescent. My sister, Nancy and I would spend hours running our Camaros, Firebirds, Corvettes and even a Ferrari down those plastic tracks. We’d watch, mesmerized as they flew down the raceway and wound round the bends. Our cat, Fourchu was fascinated as the tiny cars ripped along and often created a major roadblock in the path of oncoming vehicles.

Although I know my dad owned a 1958 Mercury Monarch, the first real car I remember was my parents’ aquamarine Ford Galaxie 500. It was all square edges, bench seats and a huge trunk we often used to carry my toboggan in winter. We made trips to Nova Scotia in that car and I recall sleeping on the long back-seat with my pillow under my head, my orange and white teddy-bear tucked under my arm. We had that car right through my childhood until 1975 when my dad came home one day with a brand new Midnight Blue Chevrolet Impala. That was a car! It was monstrous, really and could fit our family plus the family next door if we all scootched a bit.

I learned to drive in that behemoth. It took me until I was 21 because my dad insisted on teaching me and our lessons were fraught with frustration on the part of my father at my not following his instructions, and fright on my part as I dreaded going on the highway.

One grey day, we were out for a lesson when my dad insisted that I head to the on-ramp for the Queen Elizabeth Way (QEW). I balked. Like a mule, I blatantly refused to do it. We were on the service road that flanked the highway and my dad told me to stop the car. He made a fatal error when he got out on his side to come round and chastise me on my own. I saw my chance and I took it. I tore off in the car and left him standing at the roadside where it had now started to rain. I drove to our church. (I’d heard it was a good place of refuge). The priest eventually convinced me to go home where I ran in and promptly locked myself in the bathroom. An enraged father on the other side of the door didn’t convince me to come out for quite some time, but when at last I did, he had calmed down considerably.

The sheer bulk of the Impala was amazing. One night in 1986, while driving home from a club with my friend Marianne, we were stopped at an intersection on a back road. Suddenly, we heard a bit of a bang. I said, “Did you hear that?” Marianne replied, “I think it was behind us.” We turned around to find that a Chevette had actually ploughed into the back of the Impala. When we got out to inspect the damage, there was none–to us, but the Chevette was a mess.

I’ve driven other vehicles. In 1979, I was at a party with a new family just moved in to the neighbourhood from Argentina. Their daughter was my friend and she had two gorgeous brothers with whom I got on well. One of them let me take a spin in his deep purple Mustang. That was wild! Then I ran up on somebody’s boulevard and almost took out a hedge.

I drove a boxy, pedestrian Reliant, K-Car home from another party in Etobicoke under the watchful eye of my boyfriend. The car belonged to his mother, who was none-the-wiser. It took me back to the “Galaxie” days.

On another occasion, in 1989 (with yet another boyfriend) I drove a Subaru station-wagon back from Toronto because said boyfriend and his buddy were too drunk – they spent the drive home on the highway, chucking cassette tapes out the back window! Our relationship didn’t last much longer after that.

I didn’t get my “own” car until just a few years ago. Technically, it belonged to both my husband and me, but I did the majority of the driving and he took the bus to work, so I considered it mine. It was a black, Toyota Echo Hatchback. I loved that car! It had no power steering, but was automatic. It took might and brute force to make turns, but I loved the feel of the wheel and the sense of being part of the car. The only problem with it was the climate controls. More than once, I ended up at the side of a snowy-road with a windshield fogged on both sides.

My girlfriend Lynn once purchased an ancient Italian Fiat. It was a sexy car, if ever there was one. We drove north to cottage-country one summer weekend, with the top down and the wind blowing our hair into mats. Driving a car like that is a real guy-magnet. It’s the equivalent of a man walking a cute dog that’s irresistible to young women.

Rudy, (one of my last boyfriends before I met my husband), drove a white low-slung Mazda with bucket seats. He was Italian and rather an aesthete (he always had fresh flowers in his apartment and a colour co-ordinated closet). He also wore leather driving-gloves, fancying himself Mario Andretti or something. My mother got a great kick out of those gloves. It was a great little car though.

I’m a big fan of the show, “Top Gear” on BBC. I can look at those cars for ages and dream about what it would be like to drive a vintage Jaguar like Inspector Morse or even a Peugeot like Columbo. Truth is though, if I won a packet of dough, I’d be at the nearest “Porsche” dealership to pick out my “911 Carrera” as fast as my Versa would take me.

I have some consolation, however; my husband just purchased a silver “Mini Cooper”(from Mr. Goldie in London, Ontario) with black racing stripes and chrome-appointed interior. I’d be content with that–if I could ever get him out of the driver’s seat!

To think it’s all down to “Hot Wheels”

Kat

Kathleen Mortensen©2009

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Re: gifts

Photo by Melsky on Flickr

Bring Me No Flowers…

Bring me no flowers;
The cat will eat them
And get sick.

Bring me no chocolates;
They’ll give me spots
I’ll have to pick.

Bring me no vintage;
My sinus-linings
Will grow thick.

Bring me no baubles,
Boiled up with lead–
I’m allergick.

Bring me no candles;
I can’t light matches—
Too phobick.

Bring me no roses;
My fumble-finger’s
Sure to prick.

Bring me no buckskins,
No minks, no fox– I’m
Not that chick!

Bring me no presents;
Just come and kiss me—
Double-quick!

Kathleen Mortensen©2008

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Lost and Found

Photo courtesy of Flickr

The Fold

Out on a hillside, far,
Scanning the skies,
Nuzzling the land,
Ears flinching at flies–
Come baack, come baack
To the fold.

Out on a night bridge, bleak,
Hopefulness hies,
Grasping the girder,
All confidence dies–
Come back, come back
To the fold.

Lost little lamb,
So oft are you used
To grant us a glimpse
Of the blessed and bemused,
The Shepherd comes carting
You in from the cold–
‘Til you’re baack, you’re back
In the fold.

Kathleen Mortensen©2008

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The Other Side

Photo courtesy of Flickr

Unfortunate

The butterball is baking, lights all twinkle on the tree
Lots of presents have been opened–now the kids are on a spree.

Outside some streets over
She stands shivering in shame
Scouting ‘johns” along the roadside–
She’s a hooker on the game.

Let’s open up those chocolates and we’ll quaff another nog
Throw those giblets in some tin-foil—they’re the favourite of the dog.

Silently he trudges
On the sidewalks of the town
But he’s had no destination–
Since the system let him down.

Set the table with the crystal, grandma’s china’s in the chest
Use the silver and the linen–those red candles look the best.

She’s clinging to her baby
In a room she’s seen before
The last time that he hit her–
When she made it out the door.

Inside it’s warm and toasty and the turkey’s burnished gold
Quick! Say grace and pour the “vino”–let’s enjoy it ‘fore it’s cold.

His fingertips are frozen
As he lights a cigarette
Somewhere his mom is weeping—
Still his dad has no regret.

When the party is all over and the family’s gone their way,
There’s an emptiness we’re feeling, though we’ve stuffed ourselves this day.
We really can’t explain it–we made everything just so,
But we’re almost glad it’s over, is there something we don’t know?

Kathleen Mortensen © 2007