A Memory Bank In The Making - The Virgin SuicidesSunday, August 25, 2013
There is no doubt in my mind that Rosemary and I stay on in our house on Athlone Street because the house will be part of the future memories of our two daughters and two granddaughters.
I fondly remember Ale, our oldest daughter, when she was going to UBC how she would type ever so fast on the keyboard of our IBM which was in our basement. She would then print her term papers on that paper that had perforations on the side. I had, over my Rosemary’s objection relegated our TV set to the cold and musty basement. I didn’t want to make it too pleasant for my family to watch TV. Rosemary wanted a TV in our bedroom and I told her, “It’s either your husband or the TV set. Which one will it be?” Fortunately for me the TV was not her option. It became so, months later, when she was operated on her feet and was bed-bound for a month. I brought the TV set up to the bedroom.
A few days later I put Hitchcock’s Vertigo on the VHS recorder and left Rosemary with her black cat Mosca who was lounging at the foot of the bed.
I went for a job and when I returned everything seemed to be normal except that, suddenly, Rosemary screamed, “Mosca hasn’t moved since you left. He’s dead.” Mosca must have died as soon as the film began because he was stiff as a board. I buried Mosca in the garden and the TV set returned to the basement. A few years later I relented and placed it in our den.
I fondly remember taking a portrait of Ale’s sister Hilary in a beautiful long dress before she left for her prom. I took her picture by a Lawson Cypress that is long gone from root rot. The memory of Hilary so excited about her graduation and dance has lingered in me since.
The garden, when the granddaughters were younger, was the place that when they arrived they would run through the house and out the kitchen door and they would romp in the grass which I have always kept very green and nicely mowed. The garden is the place where Rebecca’s interest in roses began. The garden is the place where Lauren gently pets Rosemary’s cat Casi-Casi who has never hissed or scratched her. The garden is where the pond with the fish that Lauren named just a couple of months ago swim and she so eagerly feeds when she’s here.
The garden will be a place of memory for whoever survives Rosemary or yours truly. Whoever dies first will be left with a garden of plants in which each one will have my face or hers.
So we stay on Athlone Street, in the Tudor Revival house on the corner with the large garden because every day shared with our family will become a future memory. Every day is putting some Prussian blue or Mexican ochre on a canvas that will someday have rosy areas and dark stormy ones. It will be a canvas of Rosemary and Alex the grandparents of two little girls not so little anymore.
Rebecca Anne Stewart and Lauren Elizabeth Stewart will remember us fondly, I hope, and forget our instructions to behave or to do this or that. Perhaps they will remember my food and how Rosemary always makes sure that the fridge is full of the goodies they all love.
Today I invited Rebecca, who is now 16 to watch Sofia Coppola’s 1993 film, The Virgin Suicides.
Rebecca is not eating very well these days so Rosemary prepared a dish with green melon and dark, ripe cherries. Rebecca and her grandfather sipped on a mate. All was well. The film was perfect. We both fell for Kirsten Dunst. I will have to invite Rebecca again to see my fave Kirsten Dunst film, Melancholia. I took Rebecca home.
As I drove back to our corner house on Athlone Street I felt good. The day had finished just right. More memories have slipped into the memory bank of my Rebecca who will one day, I hope make me proud. If I am not around it will be irrelevant.