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Debbie Ridpath Ohi reads, writes and illustrates for young people. Every few weeks, she shares new art, writing and resources; subscribe below. Browse the archives here.

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family weekly

We drove out to Bramalea yesterday, to celebrate my Dad's 70th birthday. While snooping through old family archives, Ruth and I found some interesting stuff including:

- An old report I did as a child about Japan. At the time, of course, I had no idea that it would be thirty years before I actually visited Japan. Sadly, the report is fairly dull, the usual sort of fact-spouting so common in school research reports.

- My first "novel", written when I was nine years old. It had 23 chapters (I remember being particularly proud of that fact) and was called The Door to Magic. Here's the first page.

- Some old issues of Family Weekly. I started this family publication as a single page of family news, jokes, and cartoons and taped it up on the bathroom wall. I guess I've always had the writer/editor bug in me. :-) FW gradually evolved (hm, shades of Inkspot, no?) into a a much larger tome (one issue we found was 34 pages!) of material gleaned from all family members. Here's a Family Weekly cover.

The pages are musty-smelling, crumbling a bit at the edges. My plan is to scan all the pages before the paper begins truly disintegrating. I think Sara and Annie might get a kick out of seeing them when they're older.

Going through the issues of Family is a bittersweet experience. I don't think I could have done it five years ago. There are stories and cartoons by my brother Jim, who had a dry wit even as a youngster. Even my mother contributed the occasional drawing and editorial content.

I find an interview I did with Mom. Reading through the interview as an adult is a much different experience, and I'm able to read between the lines of her lighthearted answers. She was worried about my brother being so small compared to his classmates. She didn't really like camping but did it because the rest of the family enjoyed it. She loved us fiercely, worried about our future, wanted us all to be healthy and happy.

I can almost hear Mom's voice as I read her interview answers. Though she was fluent in English in terms of understanding it, her spoken and written English was sometimes more awkward. I remember her being self-conscious about this, and it made her shy about meeting new people.

At the end of my interview with her, I ask Mom whether she wants to add anything. At the time, I dutifully transcribed her answer without much thought. Now, I'm able to read much more from her answer:

"Most of all, the five of us should try hard to make our family the best. So after all, I'm the one who has to try harder. Give me some time. I've never been a wife or mother before, you see."

If she were alive now, I would give her a huge hug and tell her, Mom, you did great.

Today's Blatherpics

- My mom and me, during a camping trip at Sibbald's Point when I was 4 months old.

- The first photo was taken last night, of Annie playing the piano. The second is of Ruth as a child, playing the same piano many years ago. I think this is a pretty cool mother-daughter composite. :-)

- My mom, age 23. She sent this photo to my dad from Japan. The first time they met in person was when she arrived at the airport in Canada to marry him.

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Today's Poll:

Do you like the Three Stooges?

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