Memoirs 2013 is a compilation of writing from the participants of the first Guelph Public Library Memoirs seminars. Many of the stories are selections from childhood such as early school days or celebrations, and range into professional years, physical challenges, and family life.
As a collection of touchstone events, these glimpses into life from the first-person point of view not only touch our hearts, but help us preserve reminiscences from our city.
Editors: Karen Cafarella and Deborah Quaile
Contributors: Benjamin Lu, Nadezda Rajcan, Joanne Guidoccio, Carla Wiese, Nicole Schoueri Abouhalka, Lyn Stuart, John Parkyn
Excerpt from one of my contributions
Searching for a theme song was the farthest thing from my mind during that first month. Between appointments in Guelph and Hamilton and all sorts of tests—biopsy, bone density, ultrasounds—I had very little time to do much else. Once the chemo treatments started, I was barely able to focus on my dwindling list of daily tasks.
That period of time between the first and second treatments was the worst. I was spending my nights throwing up and, during the day, I was sweeping loose hair that had found its way onto every surface of my condo. I was getting ready to call Josef about my wig when I noticed the second email from high school chaplain Mike Hamp.
I hadn’t planned on ignoring that first email, but it had come at the most inopportune time. During those two weeks, I stopped answering all calls and emails. But I could no longer ignore Mike’s request, a legitimate one that honored me and my cancer journey. At the end-of-school-year mass, which was less than a week away, Mike wanted to share my favorite Bible readings with the staff. I had no problems coming up with the second reading: the parable of the vine and branches. But the first reading was a challenge. Nothing from the Old Testament came to mind, and I wasn’t in any mood to read the Bible. While I welcomed and appreciated prayers from family and friends, I couldn’t articulate my own.
Hoping to distract myself, I ran several errands in the city. While driving, I heard one of my favorite oldie goldies: Turn! Turn! Turn! As I sang along, I recalled that the lyrics had been taken from the Book of Ecclesiastes.
I had found my first reading.