She’s Usually In Chinatown.

Because I am so mad at my father for his general attitude, I am missing my mother even more than usual these days.

It’s okay. All the do-gooders in the world are right when they say the pain lessens over time. It does. Look at me. I have been able to get out of bed and put pants on consistently. I have begun to laugh, to heal to an extent. Because if I need her, I can find a connection to her.

She’s in Chinatown.

We used to take trips down there, especially if some of our cousins were in town. Each kid would get, like, five dollars and we could spend it on whatever we wanted. Scott always bought miniature swords and nunchucks. I bought tiny glass animals and improbably-coloured chenille birds. Mom would ride herd on however many kids and we’d while away a pleasant afternoon looking into baskets and at painted bowls and silk fans.

If I really, really miss her, I can go to Chinatown. Somewhere between the smell of ginseng and barbecued duck, somewhere between the Hello Kitty and the little jade pendants, she’s there.

10 Comments to “She’s Usually In Chinatown.”

  1. By Beth, July 19, 2006 @ 8:56 am

    I understand this. 46 years later and I still go looking for my mother in Alice in Wonderland. When I read it, I hear her voice in my head, reading it as a bedtime story. Her name was also Alice.
    And when I do something I’m proud of, I catch myself saying, “See Mom? See what I did?”

  2. By gen, July 19, 2006 @ 9:01 am

    Playing Crib and sucking on Halls bring Grandpa back. There is also a hymn that I periodically find myself singing and when I do I know that he is around.

  3. By Liz, July 22, 2006 @ 1:07 am

    Beth, I still hear my father’s voice when I read The Hobbit. I hope I always do.

    It’s funny, even though we have our issues at the moment, the highest priase I could pssibly be awarded is “You done good.” He has said that when he is very, very proud of me. Not just you-got-an-A-in-a-class proud, but when I have acted with compassion or humanity or honour above and beyond what is expected by even the most stringent moral code.

    Gen, what hymn is it?

  4. By gen, July 22, 2006 @ 10:00 pm

    It is the St. Francis of Assisi prayer. It starts off with the line “Make me a channel of your peace.” I almost had my brother sing it at the wedding but thought that it might not be appropriate, besides Grandpa will be there anyways.

  5. By Liz, July 23, 2006 @ 12:36 am

    Gen, I’ll keep a weather eye out in case he decides to manifest somehow.

  6. By gen, July 23, 2006 @ 8:10 pm

    Also plus,

    I think there is something about growing up in Vancouver that meant trips to Chinatown. For Mom and I (I don’t remember about Thomas and Rachel) there was always the visit at Christmas to Chinatown and Woodward’s windows. Trust me, we spent a lot of time at Woodwards (and Marks and Spencers) before they disappeared but it has always been the memories of standing in front of the windows and then meandering our way down to Chinatown for dim sum and present buying that haunt me whenever I go pass Woodwards. Sometimes I have wondered whether or not if I turn a corner at just the right time if I’ll see the shadow of me at 6 staring into the windows.

    Maybe that is why I have never been afraid of the DTE, it was a magical place for me when I was young and truth be told while a patina definately hangs over it there are still glimmers of gold.

  7. By Liz, July 23, 2006 @ 10:56 pm

    Do you remember the smell of Woodwards Food Floor? I loved that smell. I also remember the Christmas display, and there were characters I’d look for from year to year.

    I developed my uneasiness in the DTE because of my mother’s upwardly mobile attitude. “West Side” was never ironic in my mother’s house. West Side was where you lived if you could.

  8. By gen, July 24, 2006 @ 11:53 am

    I do remember the smell. There is also the ‘$1.49 Day, Tuesday’ jingle that periodically pops into my head. I am pretty sure that I heard the melody being used to advertise something else. The only thing about Woodward’s that was bad was their tubs of all natural crunchy peanut butter that you would have to stir because the oil floated on the top. Because of that I am Squirrel’s extra smooth kinda girl, sugar be damned.

  9. By Pam, July 25, 2006 @ 6:21 pm

    gen, only the addition of solid-at-room-temperature bad fats keeps peanut butter from separating.

    O Organics Safeway, inverted, centrifuged & refrigerated

  10. By Liz, July 25, 2006 @ 9:10 pm

    Damn, more bad fats in things I love. More’s the pity.

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