It never fails to amuse me how things that cross my path or that I catch out of the corner of my eye in everyday life here in Montreal strike a chord of memory about something that happened in my long-ago childhood at the Manse.
As Raymond and I sat out on our back deck a short while ago, enjoying a warm, easy Friday evening after a demanding week at work, the children from at least three and maybe more neighbouring households were out in the alley, playing together and having a very fine time. But at 8:30 p.m. it was time for some of the smaller ones to be brought inside to be put to bed. Such weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth!
It took me right back to my very earliest memories of the Manse, when I was accorded the bedroom that later became my brothers’, on the northeast corner of the second floor of the house. I can picture like it was – well, like it was this evening – the views out of the two windows in that room, one looking out over the front lawn and the two tall evergreen trees there, and the other overlooking the large lawn (field, actually) at the front of Wallace Kincaid’s adjacent property. In my mind’s eye I’m looking out those windows in a rather desperate way because I am trapped. Jailed. I have been put to bed and it is not even yet dark outside! I can see a whole world (okay, a small corner of Queensborough) out there, a world where people are going places and doing things, and I, poor mistreated urchin, have been cut off from it all by an unfair and unbending diktat that because I am little I must be in bed by a certain time.
I remember my rage at the injustice of it all, the injustice of the universe in general. To be put to bed at such an hour! In the summertime! Before night had even fallen!
So I feel for those tots in the households of our Montreal neighbours. As I write this, though, it’s 9:30 p.m., an hour past their bedtime. And outraged though they may have been as they were being hauled in not long ago, I’m pretty sure that at this moment they are sleeping a very sound and peaceful sleep.
Outrage can only take you so far. Then it really is bedtime.