Ostomy Memories Remembering

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Memories aren’t chronological, or even necessarily accurate. Some may pre-date your surgery; some be from afterwards. So when I find myself shoveling back into my past, the items flashing upon my mind’s screen come from all over the place. In my case, from the Forties, the Fifties, the Sixties, all the way up to the present. I could have done without Donald Trump, but perhaps we’ll even survive him, although I have my doubts occasionally. The times have been incredible. When I wander backwards, some of the things that pop up include… Studebakers… mimeograph machines… dial phones… Sea of Love (Phil Phillips) & Beyond the Sea (Bobby Darin)… first read of Joyce’s Ulysses… Freddie Friehoffer horse-drawn bakery wagons… round TV screens… dial telephones & party lines… automobile fins… my first kiss from a girl in the 4th grade… 25¢ draft beer… playing R&R (ring and run)… Wednesday & Friday night fights on TV… white wall tires… “I Love Lucy”… the butterscotch ’54 Chevy in which I learned to drive… Saturday morning kid’s matinees, complete with newsreel, cowboy serial, lots of Looney Tunes cartoons, plus a feature film… “I Like Ike”… stickball with a garage wall catcher… penny candy… transistor radios… George Carlin as the Hippy Dippy weatherman… “It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World”… bell bottom trousers… Sonny and Cher… Route 66 (the Mother Road)… bagging groceries at 50¢ an hour plus tips… what’re yours?

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OK, Henry - here goes: I remember being able to lie on the back window ledge of my parents' VW Beetle (pre seatbelt, and apparently pre common sense days); my mom making a satin wedding gown for my Barbie doll; my dad making an ice rink in the backyard every winter for my brothers and me, and the frozen toes that came with it; pixie stix powdered candy; going home from school for lunch every day; a blacksmith shop down the street from my grandparents; every kid smelling the ditto sheets that the teacher handed out; Ed Sullivan every Sunday night; cartridge and fountain pens; the milkman putting milk in the little cubby built into the house; wearing Go-Go boots absolutely everywhere; my first piano recital and how I was so nervous I made a mess of it; Crazy Guggenheim; meeting Pierre Trudeau by chance outside the Parliament buildings in Ottawa, without bodyguards, and getting his autograph (wish I knew where that was now); the birthday party of a friend, during which she played Dizzy, by Tommy Roe repeatedly because that was the only 45 she had; playing hide and seek with my brothers and cousins in the coffins of my grandparents' funeral home; Foster Hewitt on Hockey Night in Canada every Saturday night; winning a local "name the new flag" contest for my suggestion of "Leaf the Lucky" (alas, the Canadian government had other ideas); going to Expo '67 in Montreal; watching 2001: A Space Odyssey on a huge screen, pre IMAX, at Ontario Place in Toronto; spraining my elbow falling off my horse because I was showing off, sitting backwards, bareback (served me right); drinking Caribou during free time on a class trip to Quebec City during Carnival, and wishing the next morning that I hadn't; and my first summer job - corn detasseling at 50 cents an hour, and thinking that was more money than I could spend in a lifetime! (I was wrong about that!) Lots of fantastic memories.


How to Manage Ostomy Leaks with LeeAnne Hayden | Hollister

Smelling the ditto sheets!  Yeh, that's the old mimeograph machine, my first high.  This is from Emily Dickinson:  "I think heaven will not be as good as earth, unless it bring with it that sweet power to remember, which is the staple of heaven here."


Hi Henry,OK, here are some of mine, and somewhat chronological, wondering why my Mum was so upset when I put the kittens in the lake so they could swim, floating on my back on the same lake (my Dad owned a fly-in fishing camp where we spent several monts of the year) after falling in while pretending I was a sleepwalker on the boat dock as my Mum panicked and ran to get my Dad because she didn't know how to swim (she took lessons as soon as we returned to the city). Making mud pies in my outdoor "kitchen" behind the lodge. The panic that ensued when my two year old brother went missing (he was found asleep under one of the overturned row boats). The red velvet Christmas dress my Mum made for my first "bridal" doll. Going home for lunch every day and my Mum's homemade pea soup. The day we got our first black and white TV. My brother and I trick or treating on Halloween by ourselves. Walking all the way to high school and back in the middle of winter with only stocking protected legs because girls had to wear dresses or skirts. Summers at our cottage on the island where my brother and I (and all our friends) removed our shoes upon arrival and didn't put them back on until we had to return to the city for school in September. Sunbathing and swimming at the beach all day with no sunscreen. Beachfires with someone playing guitar. An eight track tape deck playing "Light My Fire" and "Stairway to Heaven" in the back of my friend's pickup.

Thanks Henry for the trip down memory lane, it made my day.



Lovely memories, Henry. One of mine sticks out. Flying to Lahore for the Derby, we ran across Mehdi Hassan in the cabin, a popular singer on this sub-continent. "Don't forget me when the bottles are opened" he told us. He had a reputation for hard drinking and sang better when he had downed a few. Just like I shot better after some under the belt. I once heard our wizened old Gamekeeper say: "You know why he shoots so well after having so many, he sees every bird as double." Anyway, after a while everyone was in a good mood, and we asked the chief steward if Hassan could sing over the aircraft's sound system. He returned to tell us it was alright, probably asked the captain first. So we helped him to the mike where he was introduced and started singing his favourite songs. The other passengers, a boisterous lot, mostly punters like us going to the races joined in vociferously and there was a lot of singing and merriment all the way to Lahore. Something like that would be unthinkable today, brings back memories of how green was our valley then and how happy we were. Mehdi Hassan went on to reach new heights and received many awards, one from Nepal and the U.A.E. India gave him the prestigious Saigal award. On July 18, 2018, Google featured him on its homepage doodle.


Hello Henry.

Thanks for another thought-provoking post .

I ponder on your contribution with envy at so many pleasant recalls. Unfortunately, my memory doesn't seem to work in this way and I have tendency to have 'flashbacks' to all the horrible and traumatic things that have happened throughout my life. Hence, whenever I slip into that semi-conscious state of meditation, I try to manipulate my mind into poetic mode, so that whatever occurs to me may be used to formulate rhyming verse. This converts the exprience into a form of 'distraction through work', which helps me to 'manage' my sadness and negativity, placing it in a context where I can read about my thoughts as an observer rather than a participant.

There is a sort of per-verse satisfaction in having stumbled on an effective technique for controlling what otherwise might be repetitons of past traumas and it is testament to how many times this has happened that I have stored all these rhymes in so many books. In 2018, I documented many of my memories in the form of a book  entitled 'Memories of a Bettermaker', which made me realise how and why I devoted much of my life to try to helping others who may be 'afflicted' by negativity engendered by past traumatic events and life's circumstances.

Just to clarify further: I do have lots of positive things that have happened to me, but generally I have difficulty recalling these from my own memories and need other people to remind me of these via their memories.

I love to spend time flicking through photo-albums with my wife, who, fortunately, has a good memory for all those good things that have happened. I also keep loads of photos on my phone for the same purpose.

As I said earlier, I envy people who conjure up pleasant memories that can fill their mind in those moments of relaxation and contemplation.

Best wishes



Poetry has always had a positive and life-affirming impact upon me, and so I find your manipulation into poetic mode as a means of dealing with life's difficulties to be a strong, creative, and ultimately affirmative thing.  Good for you, Bill.  I really appreciate your comment.


Bowsprit, thank you for sharing this. I have learned something. Since I saw your post, I have been reading up on Mehdi Hassan, as well as the poetic form of the ghazal, and listening to Mr Hassan sing. What a beautiful voice, and such mesmerizing and moving music. I can understand why he was so popular, and why it would have been such a thrill to meet him. And to have him sing on the plane for you! That is so special.

While I was listening to his music, I kind of thought it sounded familiar. I have a CD by a Canadian (Indian born) singer - Kiran Ahluwalia - who also sings ghazals. I had heard her by chance, singing in a play a few years ago, and bought one of her CDs. Now, thanks to you, I have a better understanding of what she was singing. nbsp



How nice. Its a small world indeed! Music does really transcend borders. Thrilled to learn that you liked Mehdi Hassan's ghazals. He would have been equally thrilled to hear that he has a attractive fan in Canada, but unfortunately he is not around anymore. I heard Kiran Ahluwalia the Canadian-Indian after you mentioned her. She is good. All the best wishes.

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