Ann’s Update: 23 Jan 2011

Dear Ladies and Gentlemen,

Well, I would have managed to write last night, except for the fact that Sasha got sleepy early and everyone headed for bed, including me, at an hour when I would usually be sitting down and gathering thoughts and memories for this note.  I’ll either make this rather short, because we’re going to be interrupted momentarily by a plumber who will, we hope, make things flow as they should in the bathroom and kitchen — or I’ll make it long because the mood will be right and the urge will overtake me.  The writing urge, that is.

Right now, despite my knowing that 99% of the world’s population is unluckier and less blessed than we are, I’m caught on that knife-edge between light and energy on one side, and dark grey grouchiness and self-rejection on the other.  Mild depression, I guess.  (Self-pity, says my inner judge.)  On PBS television there is a great program about the Big Bands of the  ’40’s. Benny Goodman’s music, tremendously familiar and loaded with memories — or bits of memory — about high school (most of it sheer hell for a girl with an English accent who had recently been in Europe and home-schooled) ….  Actually, when I got to private school in New England, things got a bit better.  There were lots of weird people there; I wasn’t the only one. (The inner judge grumps, “You think you had problems because you had an English accent?  Try having a black skin, kid!  Now, THAT was problems!)  My mother persuaded my father that my brother and I should change our names to her family name, instead of going around with a name that sounded Jewish (because it WAS Jewish).  So we did.  We became Ormiston, instead of Gotlieb, because my dear father had experienced anti-Semitism (plenty of it in the State Department, for which he worked), and didn’t want to make his kids go through what he’d gone through (and because he was afraid of my mother).  It worked pretty well.  But kids will make hell for other kids without the excuse of black skin or Jewishness or even English accents.  If they’ve been bullied at home, they’ll bully others at school.  Boys, especially, will attack weakness or gentleness, and my brother was very gentle — extremely intelligent and gentle — and he was sent to private boy’s school in Canada and never really recovered from it.

But those were the days when good parents did things like that — sent their kids to private schools (if they could afford it) and told the boys to “buck up” when they wrote home pleading to be released from torment.  Bullying was accepted as normal (that lasted until just a couple of years ago, and is still accepted in most schools), and young males were expected to fight back or just put up with it.  Nobody talked about the suicides.  And, realistically, it was simply the law of the jungle — if you can’t fight back or turn the tables in some manner on your attacker, you will go under and die.  The survivors were strong and apparently self-assured.  The British Empire was forged by such survivors.  And they kept the empire going until a little guy who walked around in a cotton loincloth and taught helpless Indians how to handle the tough, hard British took the country back from them.

I’m probably going to have to throw out all this stuff, unless I decide I’m writing Book Three on Caring Bridge, and Facebook, and I’m not sure that’s what I should be doing.

I’m just in a mood to hate the dark side of humanity (including my own Shadow), and that is a complete waste off time.  It’s there because it has to be.  My only job is to make unconscious things conscious — starting with myself and my own Shadow.

As for Sasha, he’s doing well and better, really improving every day.  It looks as though the various things we’ve been attempting — hanging the heel out over the edge of the cushion — has begun to heal the ulcer.   And he’s sleeping better (which means the caregiver at night gets more sleep).

And I’ll stop running on at the keyboard, and give you fuller Sasha information in the next note.

Blessings and love —  Ann

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