September 16, 2012

Sharing Memories (Week 38): Leaving Home & Some Bad Memories

Welcome to Week 38 of our 52 weeks of Sharing Memories - A Genealogy Journey for 2012.   I hope you'll join in writing your memoirs and childhood memories for your descendants.

If you are just joining us, please take a peek at almost 150 prompts by clicking on the Sharing Memories tab at the top of Olive Tree Genealogy blog. You can jump in at any time and you can skip topics that you don't like. There are no rules, it's all about getting your memories down on paper. The prompts are here as a guide to help if you are stuck for ideas.

What do you remember about heading off to College or University? Did you have to leave home? I did. I wanted to go to Art College in Toronto Ontario but my mother said being an artist wasn't a career and she would not give me money towards that. So I applied for two Universities - one in Toronto, the other in British Columbia.

To be honest I wanted to go to British Columbia to get as far away as I could from my mother. There, I said it. We'd never gotten along and it got worse after  my dad died when I was 14.

Anyway, the letter of acceptance arrived from University of Toronto, but nothing from UBC. So off I trudged to the big city. U of T didn't accept me into residence so I had to find a room somewhere to live in. It was pretty bad. There were cockroaches and I shared a disgustingly filthy bathroom with 16 people. The door to my room didn't lock so every night I shoved a dresser against it. Did I mention I was 17 and never been away from home? Even the Bell telephone installer was horrified at  my living conditions, especially since I was a young, very naive girl.

But my trials and tribulations over living in a big city entirely on my own are another story.  I don't recall one single visit or phone call from my mother or my older brothers and sisters so I felt very alone and yes - scared!

While I was in Toronto struggling to get to classes and not get too freaked by my horrendous living conditions or the scariness of the scummy part of Toronto I was forced to live in, something happened that my mother didn't mention to me for several years. Yes I said years.

It seems that no sooner had I left for Toronto then UBC sent a letter accepting me into both the University and residence. But my mother tore it up and didn't tell me. Years later when I asked her why (hey, maybe she would miss me or something?) she shrugged her shoulders and said "Oh I couldn't face the thought of having to take a day off work to move you again!"

This has been an interesting memory for me. I truly meant to talk about University of Toronto, meeting new friends, going to classes and so on. But by just letting my thoughts take me where they wanted, I got a lot of resentment towards my mother out on paper. And I feel better!

It wasn't all bad for me. I met great friends and had a wonderful time at U of T. I didn't graduate as I was way too busy partying but it was an incredible experience. And as horrible as much of it was, I think it made me a strong person and able to cope with the challenges life has thrown at me along the way.

What were your leaving home experiences like?


Mariann Regan said...

Respect. That's what I feel for you in your journey and your courage in writing this post. You were brave and persistent enough to go through horrendous living conditions and function as a college student, even without the support of a loving mother. Good for you! I can totally relate to your situation (that's another story). One of the rarely spoken-about facets of real life is that not all mothers are loving, not all are good mothers. Perhaps someone in your life--maybe your father, a friend, another relative--provided you with a good-enough relationship to enable you to be autonomous. I say again, brava for you! And thank you for this post, on behalf of all of us with similar struggles in our lives.

Lorine McGinnis Schulze said...

Mariann - thank you for your comments and support! I love how you worded it "One of the rarely spoken-about facets of real life is that not all mothers are loving, not all are good mothers"

I've always felt tremendous guilt about my feelings of resentment and anger towards my mother. I hear others speak of their loving relationships with their moms and I feel sad that I never had that BUT at the same time I never feel comfortable sharing my own difficult relationship with my mom.

Honestly this blog post was very liberating for me! To post it and not feel guilty or feel like I was a bad daughter to dare say something negative about a (gasp) mother -- wow that was a first.

I don't feel sorry for myself. I do miss not having had a loving kind mother but as my brother always says "It is what it is!" All you can do is try to accept the nature of the individual, try not to judge them, and go on from there.

My father was my support, my idol. He and I were very close but sadly he died a month after I turned 14. That left me alone with my mother. (but that's another story for another day perhaps or for my private journal)

I was lucky to have an older brother who looked after me as best he could and who was a good support for me much of the time.

I am sorry to think that you too went through some rough times. Thank you for your kind words and for helping me realize I'm not alone

Yvonne Demoskoff said...

I felt a tug at my heart when I read your story, Lorine. Although I didn’t experience what you did with your mother when I left home for university, I wasn't sure if I could put into words my experience or if I could get past my shyness to share it. I was surprised to find that the words came easily to me (even though I couldn’t remember everything as clearly as I had hoped) and that I didn’t feel quite as shy or nervous about telling my story as I anticipated. My story is at

Lorine McGinnis Schulze said...

Yvonne, I read your blog post - what a horrendous experience you had. So glad you made it home and got the care you needed. I left a comment on your blog. Thanks so much for letting me know about your post, I enjoyed reading it