No More RegretsMonday, March 11, 2013
|Alexandra Elizabeth Waterhouse-Hayward|
Baja California, 1973
My eldest daughter Alexandra Elizabeth Waterhouse-Hayward will be the last of the Waterhouse-Haywards. Since I have no male issue, when I am gone, my name, unique to me will be lost but I do not see this with having any consequence or lasting importance.
My daughter Ale has chosen a single life and from her home in Lillooet she dotes via long distance or by frequent tortuous trips in her vehicle on that curvy Lillooet through Pemberton highway with her two granddaughters, Rebecca Anne and Lauren Elizabeth (both Stewarts).
There is not one week that may pass where our daughter Ale (pronounced: A-leh) who will be 45 this August does not tell us how grateful she is to us for forcing her to finish university or not allowing her to abandon her guitar lessons (she is a fine sight reader).
If anything my daughter (she is Rosemary’s too but here I want to go at it alone) is doing what I never did to my regret. I never told my mother I loved her and I rarely ever thanked her for all her sacrifices in making sure I received the best education money could buy,
My daughter Ale’s house in Lillooet I have often likened to a shack. Ale has been justifiably angry, almost bitter, with my constant criticism.
When I returned from Buenos Aires in 1967 I had hair down to my shoulders. I read Ramparts and called myself a hippie. I was a hippie only in name. I did not indulge in drugs or free love or any of that stuff that made hippies hippies.
I remember being with a friend in his house in the Haight-Ashbury district in San Francisco in 1967. I was sipping on my father’s Argentine mate. I invited the folks in the bottom floor to try it. Puffing their pot they told me they weren’t too sure as my mate seemed to them to be some sort of addiction.
I returned to Mexico City and got a haircut. I have been too straight-laced a man to ever let go as so many of my friends have urged me to do.
Our daughter Ale is that free spirit I never was. She is a hippie of the 21st century, always calling us when her heart desires her to. I find this (sometimes) offensive. I want to make her the way I am. But most of the time I know that if I could I would do the same.
Christmas until recently was her opportunity to shower us with gifts in great quantity until I put my foot down and told her what she had often told me,” I don’t want more stuff.” She has kept my request and this last Christmas she offered up a dizzying array of consumables.
From my mother, grandmother, my wife and even from me, Ale has inherited the talent and passion of teaching. She always wanted to teach children from aboriginal communities. This she does with delight in Lillooet. She gardens in a harsh climate that is dry most of the year, bitterly cold in the winter and in the summer it competes with Lytton for the hottest spot in Canada.
Ale does not have a husband, a partner or a paramour. She has made her choice or perhaps she was never lucky. Or maybe, even, she had indeed been lucky. I sometimes wonder what it must be like to live with only a cat. I cannot live without my Rosemary and on days when she is not around I am lost. It seems that Ale has found solitude as an asset in her life.
When I look at her, and she smiles often (she has that happy-go-lucky attitude of some Mexicans) but I see in her face a sadness (an acceptance of the inevitability of death which is an ever present thought of most Mexicans) that breaks my heart. I want to comfort her and tell her that she is not alone and that we are here for as long as we will be here.
I see in both of our Mexican born daughters, vestiges of my mother, the woman I loved but never told her. I regret that omission and I must make sure and make it plain to Ale and Hilary that I do love them. I could not live with more regret than the one I live with now.