My past wrote my future when I told my 40-year-old secret in “NO TEARS FOR MY FATHER”, I’ve been overwhelmed by the changes in me, my family, the friends I already had, the new ones I’m constantly making, and now, most recently, the friends I’ve rediscovered. I’m talking about what has happened since word got out about my latest book, “THE LADIES of LORETTO”, the only memoir, incidentally, that I wanted to write.
This latest book hasn’t yet been officially launched. That happens on May 30th on the premises of my old high school, Loretto College School on Brunswick Avenue in Toronto. But it’s no longer a convent high school. It’s now an upscale condominium complex. Like me, it’s changed. Enormously. And here I thought I was done changing by the time I finished writing my second memoir, “LEARNING TO LOVE MYSELF”.
The staff of the current Loretto College School are going all out to make this book launch wonderful and I know it will be. But the hardest part for them has been to locate all those old classmates of mine who will want to read and remember what it was like to be a student in a Catholic girls high school back in the 60’s. Like how many of us are still even in this country, let alone alive? After all, I’m on the plus side of 69 myself!
But over the past couple of months, what a blast from the past I’ve had. Bit by bit, some of my old classmates discovered me via the LORETTO COLLEGE 100th website. I was contacted by one of them who had eventually returned to Loretto as VP of the school and last week, I had the enormous pleasure of having lunch with her. She also brought along a primary school classmate I’d known. I searched their faces for the teens I remembered. Those young girls were long gone, but their essence was unchanged. Lunch lasted over 2 hours as we brought up almost forgotten names of students, teachers and events. I learned just how inaccurate some of the references I’ve made in “THE LADIES OF LORETTO” are, but have to hope all who read it will forgive me and read more for emotional enjoyment, the “essence” than the factual accuracy.
Since then, other classmates have surfaced: a group of sisters now living in Ireland, whose own sister went on to become a writer I mention in the book…O.R. Melling…but I had no idea she was related to anyone I knew. And some of the stories now emerging from former alumni are hilarious, stories I would have loved to include in my book, like the nun who taught us Latin and had a bad habit of poking us in the back when we were conjugating verbs on the blackboard. Apparently, in one class, she was about to poke a student in the back and the student stepped aside. The nun’s finger went straight into the blackboard and crack! Broken finger! Oh to have had such stories to include when I was writing this book!
Of course, stories like that have got me thinking about a follow-up book, one in which other students share their stories. And if that eventuates, my past will continue to write my future. If I didn’t believe in memoir writing and its significance for others, I certainly do now. Each of my 3 memoirs has been welcomed by readers for different reasons. Their words of support and thanks for what I’ve shared has the best thing in my life next to my husband and children. My cup isn’t half-full. It’s overflowing.