Hi all. I’m a bit late with my letter writing this month after deciding to upgrade my computer and spending the last few days caught in a cycle of reinstalling and restarting. It’s good to be back on the coast, even if I haven’t had time to do some hiking – I got back from Ontario right before the fall term and had a stack of work waiting for me. Straight off we had a department meeting about the university’s contingency plans for a further H1N1 outbreak once everyone is back on campus. I might wind up doing some extra lecturing, or not, depending upon who does or doesn’t get sick.
I flew to Toronto with Anthony, Elizabeth and the kids for Jim’s memorial. James was an angel, falling asleep in Vancouver and waking up about half an hour before we landed in Toronto. Francie was a bit more active, but we took turns reading stories, drawing pictures and playing with her. She couldn’t understand why Merrie and Robin weren’t in Milborough, but Mrs Sobinski was more than ready to be a surrogate grandma and Francie loved being the centre of attention.
I know you’ve heard already about what happened with John and Elly and my unexpected sight-seeing trip to the Milborough police station when Anthony told John who I was. In the chaos that followed, no one else seemed to notice was Elly’s reaction, but she looked at me and for just a moment her expression softened and she whispered, “My baby girl? I…” but then John struck her and they both started shouting and Const. something-or-other stepped in. Apparently he’s an old friend of Mike’s; it’s unreal just how everyone in this place knows each other. When things calmed down somewhat, I reached to touch her arm but she recoiled as far as she could in her handcuffs and hissed at me that she tried to clean all my dirt off her years ago. I had a long cry in my hotel room that night.
Iris and Jim’s decision to ask April and her friend to play Green Day was fantastic (did you know that another of April’s friends was that teen pop starlet whose face was everywhere a few years ago?). The memorial service was a true celebration of life and I think everyone felt that it was a fitting send-off. Iris has a lot of living left to do and a lot of plans for the future. She’ll be spending some time travelling, then winter in Arizona, after which she plans to sell the condo and find a place closer to her son and his family. It’s hard to imagine how just a year ago I didn’t know any of this family, but they all lived right near one another in Milborough, and by next spring there won’t be anyone left except Elly and John, likely in separate provincial facilities.
April needed a break after the service, so we headed back to my hotel. She was emotionally exhausted so I just wound up talking about my time at university and trying to remember what sort of advice would have been useful – and welcome – when I was starting first year. What happens at university stays at university (if you can avoid your picture turning up on Facebook) and never, ever, ever start a relationship with a faculty member. I’m just saying. I really enjoyed talking to her, and pretended not to hear when she caught herself before she finished saying that I was old enough to be her mother. I asked her to think about her winter break next February – and to let me know soon so we can get tickets to an event or two at the Olympics.
That’s it for me. Classes start on Tuesday so I’m going to make the most of the Labour Day long weekend. Actually, I had an unexpected e-mail from someone, who says he’s just writing to say hi. Think I’ll spend the next couple of days wondering what to say.