Sunday Photo Fiction: Remembering #flashfiction #writing #amwriting #poetry #remberanceday #lestwenotforget


Thank you to Alistair Forbes for hosting SPF. 

——

A Mixed Bag

——-

“Why don’t they rebuild this old stone building Grandpa?” 

“You know well, Gertrude, it costs a great deal to repair a historical building. They can’t even take it down because this building is a designated historical site.” 

“That doesn’t seem right. Why would we leave something so valuable to history, to fall apart? Eventually it will only be a pile of rubble and everyone will forget its significigance,” Gertrude mused. 

” Maybe someday someone like you, Gertrude, will restore the building. It’s a painstaking process and you must use and find authentic materials.” 

She nodded. “I understand Grandpa, but sometimes certain cities choose not to rebuild. Like in Venice, many buildings are left to disintegrate and collapse into the water. They don’t let architects even plan to rebuild. Many once grand buildings are in such dangerous condition, they’ve been left so long.” 

“Restoring old buildings can be good Gertrude. They are a part of humanity’s history. We need to remember our history to learn from it. But sometimes we need to knock old buildings down and design better ones from our present day knowledge. Future generations can learn from us through newer buildings too,” Grandpa said. 

Gertrude nodded. She was training to be an architect but was only a freshman in university. Her Grandpa had been a great architect and was still well known. 

“What will future people learn from our buildings, Grandpa?” 

“Hopefully, they’ll learn our buildings are stronger. Made with more thought to design, to the environment, and how the everyday person lives. Our simple routines we take for granted are our history as much as the calamities of our time.” 

Gertrude frowned, turning to her Grandpa. He was wearing his WWII uniform for the Rememberance Day Ceremony; he was going to walk in a parade as well. 

 “Will they remember men such as you, Grandpa?  Men who fought for their freedom in Normandy and in other places in Europe? Will they understand why you and other soldiers have nightmares from war? Will they remember why you had to fight and saw so many of your buddies die brutally?” 

A tear escaped Grandpa’s eye and he shook his head, not able to speak. He was too afraid what he and his fellow soldiers had fought for in brutal war, would melt away in time. 

——

Lest We Not Forget. November 11th is Remberance Day in Canada. 

“In Flanders Fields” 

John McCrae, 1872 – 1918

——-

 In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row, 

That mark our place, and in the sky, 

The larks, still bravely singing, fly, 

Scarce heard amid the guns below. 

——–

We are the dead; short days ago

We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow, 

Loved and were loved, and now we lie

In Flanders fields. 

——-

Take up our quarrel with the foe! 

To you from failing hands we throw

The torch; be yours to hold it high! 

If ye break faith with us who die

We shall not sleep, though poppies grow

In Flanders fields.

——-

Works Cited: Poets.org

©Mandibelle16. (2016) All Rights Reserved. 

Part 6: Never Again – Finding Peace.


Please read Part 5 of ‘Never Again’ here.

Part 6: Never Again – Finding Peace.

(Three-Months Later).

“Kasia, are you finished packing?” Jolene asked her daughter.

“Yeah, I’m good Mom, but I had to get another suitcase. I did more shopping then I thought.” Kasia was huffing and puffing as she dealt with her suitcases, bringing them outside Chateau Blanc for Luc to load in an SUV.

“I’m not ready to leave Mom. I’ve had such a fantastic time here, seeing Auntie Cathy and hanging out with Damon.” Kasia sighed. ” I can’t believe I didn’t meet him until a month and a half ago . . .and you’re leaving Luc behind too?” Kasia exclaimed with surprise.

“Kasia,” Jolene said. “We have to go back to Ottawa for awhile at least. Auntie Cathy will be moving into a condo close to where we live soon. She only has to finish training her replacement event planner and do a bit of packing.” Jolene cleared her throat reaching for a bottle of water in her purse.

” Luc owns Chateau Blanc but he’s found an experienced caretaker to keep the place running. Luc’s a trained architectural Engineer and he’s taking a job at an Engineering Firm in Ottawa. He’ll have a great deal of input on projects and doing them to LEED standards around the world. You know he is passionate about the environment…” Jolene said shrugging with a smile.

“What about Damon? How will I see him. If I’m supposed to travel around with you and have a tutor for high school, when will I see Damon?” Kasia asked worriedly. “I’ve been saving money to travel. You know, the money I made modelling for La Petite Mademoiselle and a few other shoots, Simon, your agent, could find for plus-sized models in Nice… How will you see Luc if we’re always travelling?” Kasia asked. Jolene smiled as Kasia peppered her with questions. They’d both been extremely occupied the last few weeks.

“There is going to be some changes, Kasia. I’m not going to model anymore. I will have business trips with La Petite Mademoiselle in Europe. I have hired a couple of Presidents for the Canadian and United States chains. Judy thought it was a great idea, she wants to travel more with her husband.” Jolene explained.

” Judy and I will be dealing with our expansion into France and into other select European cities. You will have occasions where you will be able to come to France with me or Luc and see Damon, while you work on Grade Ten material with your tutor. Damon maybe in Grade Twelve, but he also has his last year of high school to get through in Nice.” Jolene reminded Kasia.

“I think, it’s best to keep most of your modelling work for La Petite Mademoiselle, until you are eighteen. I don’t want to overwhelm you when you need to focus on school.  Not to mention, I would like for you to still put a shift in every week in our flagship store in Ottawa when we are home. It will help you to know how our company works on the ground level.” Jolene added. Kasia sighed, not completely happy with her Mom’s solution for Kasia’s schooling and work. Would she get to see Damon enough between work and school? What if Damon forgot about Kasia for some other girl?

“So, if you’re busy overseeing things in Europe, how will you organize your schedule with Luc’s” Kasia asked Jolene.

Jolene’s face lit with a smile. “I have something to tell you… I’m getting married to Luc! He asked me last week. It was so hard for me not to tell you. I wanted to wait for the perfect time, I suppose that’s now.” General shrieking ensued and the details of the proposal were shared.

” Luc will be doing some projects in Europe as well, so all three of us will often be back at the Chateau Blanc and Auntie Cathy is welcome, whenever she wants to come along.” Kasia was taken aback. Everything seemed to be falling into place. Kasia was overjoyed Luc would be her step-dad. Her only Dad, as far as Kasia was concerned. She missed Damon alread, even though he was chatting with Luc. He had come to the Chateau to see Kasia before she went back to Canada. “Damon,” Kasia called. . .

——

An iPhone began ringing and Jolene felt her pocket buzz. Her face went pale when she saw the number on the phone. It was Scott’s work number. Jolene felt sick. She hadn’t heard from Scott since she left Nice over five-years-ago. Jolene wasn’t ready to talk to Scott. But perhaps, she should accept his call and tell Scott once and for all, to leave her alone.

“Hello” Jolene said quietly, walking away from Kasia.

“Hello Jolene,” Scott said.”Nice of you to get in touch with me when you were here.” Jolene said nothing at first.

“Why would I want anything to do with you Scott. I don’t love you anymore and I’m not attracted to you. Our time together is a lifetime away, I’m getting married.” Scott laughed

” So, I heard. It took you a long time. It was difficult getting over me, huh?” Scott said.

” And why is that?” Jolene questioned Scott.

“Because you will always have me in our daughter, Kasia. She looks a lot like me you know. You should have told me about her.” Scott said sounding wounded.

” How did you find out about Kasia? You can’t have her. She’s mine, my daughter — not yours. You wanted me to abort her.” Jolene said furiously.

“Kasia came to visit me a couple months ago. She wanted to meet me. I can’t blame her. She’s a smart girl and tracked me down.” Scott remarked.

“Damn it,” Jolene said, “Auntie Cathy told her everything. I knew we should have kept our mouths shut about you, Scott. You stay away from Kasia, I mean it! I can afford a great lawyer these days so don’t try anything. You are not allowed to see Kasia until she’s eighteen. Then, it is her choice, unfortunately.”Jolene yelled into her phone.

“Relax, Jolene. I don’t want anything from you or Kasia. Kasia wanted to meet me but she doesn’t want a relationship with me. She also told me to stay away from her and you.” Scott said hushing Jolene.

” I don’t need Katrina finding out I have an illegitimate daughter, who might be a threat to the money Katrina brought to our marriage. She wouldn’t like it if Kasia inherited anything. Additionally, having somewhat a relationship with my own daughter Sara and my boys is hard enough.” Scott told Jolene, tiredly.

“So, what are you calling about then?” Jolene seethed.

“I need to apologize,” Scott admitted to Jolene.”It was wrong of me to tell you to get rid of Kasia when she was barely a person. I saw her at my office and I’m so thankful you never got the abortion. She’s a beautiful girl and I have no doubt she will be as successful in life as you Jolene.” Jolene couldn’t believe Scott was apologizing.

“Kasia hates me for trying to have her aborted and that bothers me. I couldn’t stand it if my daughter Sara was as mad at me, as Kasia is mad at me,” Scott admitted. “Kasia is also upset because of what I did to you. I can’t change myself  Jolene. I am who I am.” Scott said.

“But, I regret cheating on you the entire time we were together, when you were off modelling. I was never your ‘one,’ and only guy. I’m no women’s ‘one.’ I’m my own guy. I like to be in control and be with whoever I desire. Katrina understands this, she has had a long-time affair with another man. Kasia believes that guy provides for Katrina, what I should be providing for her, love and attention.” Scott said, his voice scratchy. Admitting his faults was hard for him, Kasia had made him think.

” I’m sorry I met so much to you Jolene. I wish I hadn’t met much to you. I would have broken it off sooner, but I had plans…”

“You are and were selfish Scott,” Jolene shouted.” You never cared about my feelings or what I thought about something. You even tried to tell me I was pretending I wanted a baby — which is why I never told you about Kasia.”

” It wouldn’t have mattered had you told me you had had our baby. My Dad said Katrina was the right wife for me. She is in a sense. . . What I wanted to tell you though is for Kasia: Do not let her end up with a guy like me. I told Kasia ‘boys will be boys’ and that men naturally cheat. She called me on it and I thought about it and she’s right, not all men cheat. My half-brother for instance, is faithful to his wife. He works at the company with me.” Scott said.

” Kasia needs to find a guy like my half-brother. Not like me or her Grandpa. And tell her Scott said he will do his utmost to ensure someone like him does not marry her half-sister Sara.” Jolene pressed the phone to her ear. She was amazed at what Scott told her.

“For real, that’s all you want?” Jolene stuttered. “You want Kasia to end up with a kind and faithful partner? You aren’t trying to get me to sleep with you or have an affair with you? You promise to leave Kasia alone, even though I never told you she was your daughter?” Jolene could barely say anything she was so surprised by Scott’s reason for calling. She heard him sigh on the phone.

” As far as I’m concerned Jolene, you and I are done. I have my life and you have yours. We may be connected by Kasia but I promise, I won’t interfere in your lives. If Kasia in the future, wants to contact me so I can help her get into a prestigious university, I can help her, it’s the least I can do.But I have one request Jolene. . . ” Scott’s voice sounded sad to Jolene. She didn’t remember Scott ever sounding emotional.

“Please send, me a picture of Kasia once in awhile on your phone. Not often, just so I know she’s okay.” Jolene couldn’t believe what she was hearing. She kept her voice neutral.

” I can do that, if Kasia doesn’t mind. I will tell her what you said,” Jolene remarked. “I’ll mention you can get her into a prestigious university, no strings attached. And I will definitely make sure she never falls for a man like you.”

“Great. . . gotta go Jolene. My 3:00 pm is here. Good Luck.” Scott said distractedly. Jolene heard the phone click and knew, Scott had moved on. She couldn’t blame Scott for that. It was time for Jolene and Kasia to move on in life as well.

——

I watch my niece as she finishes walking down the aisle. Beneath her veil, her face is glowing. Her eyes are fixed lovingly on her fiancé, Luc Devereaux.

Luc has a giant grin on his handsome face. He told me earlier, “Aunt Cathy, I can’t believe I get to marry Jolene. I always thought and dreamed about her. She’ll be my wife, and I get a beautiful step-daughter too.”

I carefully patted my new nephews arm. He used to be my boss but now, I am his cherished Auntie.”You’re perfect for Jolene and Kasia. You’re all exactly what the three of you needed, ” I tell Luc.

I see Luc take Jolene’s hand and slide on her wedding band. Jolene does the same for Luc. Beautiful Kasia is her Mom’s maid of honour in a couture pink gown.

But Jolene is simply stunning, channeling Grace Kelly. She is the perfect vintage leading lady in her bridal gown, except for one thing. Jolene’s back reveals a tattoo I never knew she had until I helped her change into her dress this morning.

Jolene’s tattoo is a quote that reads: “You never know how strong you are, until being strong is all you have to be.” 

Jolene’s tattoo demonstrates all that she has come through in life to be at the the altar with her ‘one,’ Luc. It tells me Jolene will be strong whatever she faces in life. But she isn’t alone. She has Kasia, Luc, and as always, her Auntie Cathy who had the pleasure of walking her cherished niece, down the aisle.

Fin

——

©Mandibelle16. All Rights Reserved.

Writing 201 Interview: Nathan (my youngest brother.)


Writing 201 Interview: Nathan (my youngest brother.)

www.sualberta.ca Nathan in the Bike Library
http://www.sualberta.ca
Nathan in the Bike Library

Nathan is a 25-year-old University of Alberta student with a major in Human Geography and a minor in German. He works as a Bike Mechanic for Sustain SU (Student Union) at the University of Alberta. Being part of the Sustain SU is not just a job for Nathan, it is being part of a leadership team that focuses on the environment. Senior volunteers and employees have meetings and events in which they hope to make Sustain SU a better experience for other volunteers.

Nathan’s major in Human Geography is helping him to train for jobs such as an Urban or City Planner. Jobs such as these may include dealing with zoning applications at a desk or planning for areas in the City of Edmonton such as Century Park, for example. A planner stands as an intermediator between different clusters of people in the city such as the civic managers (City Councillors, Mayor), individual citizens, different interest groups (volunteers, community programs etc.), and civic builders\development companies. “A planner will bridge the gap between all these groups because all four of these clusters are required in the city and need someone to organize them” comments Nathan. Planners can also be hired as individual consultants.

The subject matter of Human Geography highly appealed to Nathan because he is

www.ues.tmu.ca.jp A City
http://www.ues.tmu.ca.jp
A City

interested in “how we design and interact within the city.  A planner can change ideas and designs that influence the city, which City Council votes on.” As a Planner, Nathan believes he will have the ability to change infrastructure decisions in a city and not just have to live with them like many other citizens do.

As for Nathan’s minor in German, he would like to do an internship and study abroad or do summer school to improve is fluency. Nathan has a great interest in travel and would like to see more of Europe. He would like to go to France and Eastern Europe as well as Germany which he loved. Nathan would also like to visit many of the United States. What he enjoys about many places in Europe and the States is that “they have a great deal of biking tours and bike friendly roads/paths in which he can travel on.” Nathan not only loves being a bike mechanic but likes his bike as a mode of transportation for leisure in which he can see many parts of other cities and countries.

www.pinterest.com Swing Dancing
http://www.pinterest.com
Swing Dancing

Nathan spends most of his time at school, especially in the Bike Library where he has a computer set up that he can also do school work on. He spends a lot of time at home and visiting his girlfriend and enjoys watching movies and doing crossword puzzles. On Wednesday nights, he goes to Swing Dance lessons and he often goes to Swing Dances on the weekend. He also spends a large amount of time helping out with Sustain SU.

Nathan appreciates having a girlfriend in a relationship because he says it is “nice to have someone to be close with more than others and to talk freely with.” He also likes having someone there that you can be with “without words and understand each other” completely. He thinks that people who are single should “just be patient and not go around looking for a significant other.” The best way to find a relationship is just to be friends with someone first because you develop a stronger relationship with someone you know better. He cautions single people to enjoy being single and not just be focused on dating. He thinks people should “make something good” out of their free time not being an attached person.

In the future, Nathan might like to work for the City of Edmonton but he would also like to experience other cities that are more forward thinking. “People in Edmonton and even in Alberta are conservative and are often stuck in their ways and this can make some people more self-centered,” Nathan believes. “It can be frustrating” he cautions. People need to look into the future and consider what the future will be like for their descendants. Seeing different cities will allow Nathan to experience different ways cities and people work and act together.

environment-1-612x336
A Sustainable Environment

Not to mention, the environment is a big issue for Nathan. “There is so much evidence that in one-hundred-years the world will be majorly effected by environmental issues if [we] don’t do something now. People don’t consider what the world will be like . . . “says Nathan. “Just because you want to drive your car to work every day or throw objects out” to get the latest edition of something means people are not considering the effects their actions will have on tomorrow.

As for the next 5 years, Nathan would like to be graduated from university. Since, he enjoys doing such a variety of things and he is planning for a daily job with set hours he is not sure how that is going to work out. But for now, he expresses that he has times that are up and times that are down. Sometimes he is really busy and sometimes he is not so busy at all so he would like to just focus on the here and now and getting through each day.

Wasteful?


International Recycling Symbol 32px|alt=W3C|li...
International Recycling Symbol 32px|alt=W3C|link=http://validator.w3.org/✓ The source code of this SVG is valid. Category:Valid SVG (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It was a bright sunny morning last week and I ran to our front door to find a package of scrapbooking supplies that I had ordered on our front step. I dug into the parcel admired the sparkly jewels, creamy pearls, glue, and fun pop-up flowers I had ordered from Stampin‘ Up and hastily stuffed  folded-up crunchy brown paper used to pack my box of scrapbooking supplies, into an empty blue-bag. I put the blue bag full of packing paper by our other recycled materials on the back step and promptly forgot about it until my upset dad said to me (later that day) that I should have uncrumpled the packing paper and folded it nicely into the blue bag so other recycled material could have fit in the blue bag with the packing paper. I scoffed inwardly at this and offered to ‘pay’ for the blue bag if it was such a big deal. I had worked in both a university bookstore and an office where a lot of packing paper was hastily stuffed into blue bags without a second thought. What I did not get then and what I still have trouble understanding now was that I was being wasteful. It was not that I used an extra blue bag to put the paper in but that had I folded that paper up – the bag could have potentially held more recyclable material.

Wasteful scenario number two: I had gone through my ottoman full of magazines and decided to get rid of the recent Women’s Health magazines I had received for the last few months as I never really go back to look in these magazines like I do with Style at Home or InStyle. I put the magazines out in the recycling without a second thought – a three-year membership to Women’s Health is only $30.00 so each magazine is only worth less than a dollar anyways. I explained this to my mom who suggested I bring them to the doctor’s office, which has few magazines anyways, when I go for appointments every few months are so. I scoffed at this as there was no way in hell I was going to carry three or four magazines down with me to the doctors on the bus even if other people would enjoy them; again I was being wasteful. I could share my magazine subscriptions with others but I was just to lazy to.

My point is it is hard to recognize when you are being selfish and wasteful because you do not always think about the little ways you could be being helpful and productive. A lot of times we think it takes big ways to make a difference in the world, to make a big presentation at that meeting, to donate money to a worthy cause, to run the marathon, to plan the big party. Often enough, however, it is the little ways we miss that we really can make a difference. Recycling and reusing materials starts by taking time to sort out your recyclables and sort/fold them in away that maybe makes the people working at the recycling place have an easier job. In a big way this recycling leads to a better world. Sharing magazines subscriptions with other people spreads new information to other people and eliminates the production of too many magazines and the elimination of once read magazines. In another way, this makes the world’s environment a better place. Both of these things make me (us) better more thoughtful people.

So next time you think you cannot change people and the environment think of the little ways you can change things. Copy on less photocopy paper, use less disposable plates/cutlery when you go out to eat lunch, take the bus, walk those extra stairs instead of taking the elevator. Help yourself and help other people and I promise if you try, I’ll try to be less wasteful too. What do you think?