A few weeks before my mother passed away, I finally had the chance to do what I had wanted to do for years: Visit the sites where my French-Canadian ancestor had been.
The problem was, I could only figure out one specific location, and that was only due to guessing based on an old photograph: a “cabinet card.”
My mother had insisted for decades that she had French-Canadian ancestry. Her grandmother Carrie Lewis Connally was French, she claimed. But I always wondered.
Lewis doesn’t sound terribly French.
I’ve made good progress on my mother’s high school manuscript — up to Chapter 9 (out of 15). Taking notes while I type, particularly about cultural references and language usage, I came across one interesting prediction:
“The space program of the two major nations [US and Russia] were joined after the moon project because it was cheaper to outfit; also, with the world’s greatest minds working together, better vehicles could be built.”
This was written a full 9 years before the joint Apollo-Soyuz (or Soyuz-Apollo) Test Project in 1975 that basically ended the “space race” started by the launch of Sputnik.
Written by a 17-year-old in 1968. The reality was more complicated, but still, heck of a prediction. Go, Mom!
Two days ago I celebrated Thanksgiving Day, or as we call it, Turkey Day, with my relatives in the US. It was the first time for me to do so in over 20 years.
The myths about the holiday are well-known, so I won’t waste time relating them here (most Americans are happy to go on pretending the “Pilgrim Fathers” started this when really it’s just an excuse for a four-day weekend of stuffing yourself, watching football, and shopping).
In our case, it was the first holiday since my mother passed away. The next two will be even harder. But the oft-trite is oft-true: it was as if the empty chair at the long table was filled with her presence. This year was different.
A passing of the family torch. Dinner at my sister’s house, dessert with her in-laws. Boardgames with aunts, uncles, nieces, and nephews. Family stories with grandpa. Skype with the grandkids overseas. Most of us drove seven or eight hours roundtrip just to spend one day together.
The grieving process continues. So does life. You can’t pick your relatives, but in some case you get real lucky.
The holidays are coming up, which always reminds me of old Trek.
No, seriously. When I was a kid, we always went to my grandparents’ house for the holidays, my mom’s parents. And they had a color Zenith (we had a tiny black and white TV at the time).
The first time I saw Star Trek was in the “TV room” of my grandparents’ house in Troy. In brilliant red-blue-green color. It blew my seven year old mind. Continue reading
On October 29, 2018, my mother Linda A Langworthy Apple died.
On October 31, 2018, I discovered an unpublished science fiction book in my mother’s dresser. The manuscript was buried under high school and nursing school yearbooks and diplomas.
I think it’s time for it to be published.
May the roads bring success to you,
May the winds be forever at your back,
May the sunshine be warm on your face,
May the rains fall lightly upon your fields, until we meet again.
And may God hold you in the palm of His hand.
Go n-éirí an bóthar leat
Go raibh an ghaoth go brách ag do chúl
Go lonraí an ghrian go te ar d’aghaidh
Go dtite an bháisteach go mín ar do pháirceanna
Agus go mbuailimid le chéile arís,
Go gcoinní Dia i mbos A láimhe thú.
Good bye, Mom. Your final journey awaits, and I cannot follow. But your memory will here linger still, until I have the courage to go on.
Since I don’t have access to a printer for a while (on a research stay in Montréal for a while), I decided to write a letter.
You know, on paper. With lines. That stuff made from trees that you can still find everywhere although nobody under the age of 25 ever uses it any more.
I hadn’t written an actual handwritten letter since probably before 1995. It felt…oddly satisfying.
Of course, I rambled on for 12 pages before I realized it. But imagine that; imagine no email, no tweets and posts and shares, and actually writing a letter that *only one other person will ever see.* (My mother in the hospital, in case you’re wondering.)
Can kids these days even conceive of such a thing, let alone actually write one?
Just think: You who are born into the digital age, you will never know the frustration of constantly confusing “stationary” with “stationery.”
‘Cause, what’s “stationery” again?
Oh, yeah. That stuff made from trees.
Old fossil. Jeez, get back to writing about SF already. (Getting there, getting there. Family comes first. Gimme a break.)