Spring 2020: songs, homes, memories, times

Not an actual Solstice letter, we may have to add a section for other letters to friends...

<< | SolsticeLetters | 2019 >>

Dear Friends:

Someone in one of the blogs on an Ottawa ‘nostalgia’ facebook site, to which I belong, sent a song by Kate Wolf she recorded in the late 60’s. I had forgotten about this song. It brought back memories of when I was young, before I married, married, and afterward.

When I moved to Ottawa with my first husband, it was 1969. I had never lived anywhere else except Montreal. I’ve seldom returned to the first home we had on Otterson Dr.. The last time was more than five years ago. My neighbour bought our home, but had not changed the outside at all. It looked unlived in and lonely. I have not seen my second home in decades, but I spent only four-and-a-half years there. When I read and re-read these lyrics, it seems that they describe a dream. I realize that memory is phasal, not linear, and I remember what has been very significant in my life. There have been many significant experiences which I remember with all my senses. Many of us have lived in several ‘times’. When this song was written, it must have been by someone in their young years, because we have lived from the middle-late period of WW2 until now, and hopefully, will live past the 20’s. We have seen, felt, heard, smelled, tasted, laughed, cried, described, fought, protested, sung, loved, liked, fought, marched, written, and more about each ‘time’ we have lived. We have lived in several different homes since newborns, childhood, adulthood, senior years. Each indoor environment and surroundings have meant different things to us. Each one is important. I just finished another novel about such a home: “The Dutch House”. It was haunting at times for me, because it returned so many memories I’ve had about where I lived and when; what I did in those places and why. I realized that my perspectives have changed somewhat, now that I live with Peter in an apartment. I realize that I’ve become a happier person. I do worry though, about all the social action causes we undertook when I was much younger: the marches, protest rallies, letters to government officials, MP’s, and more. I try not to think of how much more ‘right wingers’ have influenced our politics. I try the best I can to remain positive, remain strong to fight oppression, racism. I try to keep reminding people that it is only by affirming the worth and dignity of each living being and the earth itself, that we can become and remain healthy and happy. I have found that many people don’t really know what ‘affirming the worth and dignity’ is. I think I must try to find a way to show them, and try to explore my own weaknesses and failings , by combing the many experiences from the many ‘times’ I have lived. I might find more of the solutions. It is amazing how songs can elevate one’s awareness of so many aspects of life.

Thank you for your patience reading this. I still get horn swaggelled sometimes when I know that I have so much more to remember.

Sincerely and with Love,


These Times We're Living In

Down by the river the water’s runnin’ low As I wander underneath the trees In the park outside of town The leaves turned brown and yellow now Are falling on the ground Remembering the way you felt Beside me here when love was new That feeling’s just grown stronger Since I fell in love with you

Now we’ve only got these times we’re living in We’ve only got these times we’re living in

Winter wood piled on the porch Walnuts scattered on the ground And wood smoke risin’ to the sky An old man comes home from work And he hugs his wife in a sweat-stained shirt Walks through that door to Where it’s warm inside And I’m walking as the wind Rustles in the fallen leaves My footsteps picking out a tune My heart sings silently

Now we’ve only got these times we’re living in We’ve only got these times we’re living in

See the roses dried and faded The tall trees carved and painted With long forgotten lovers’ names Old cars standing empty And dogs barking at me As I walk through the quiet streets the same If I could I’d tell you now There are no roads that do not bend And the days like flowers bloom and fade And they do not come again

Now we’ve only got these times we’re living in We’ve only got these times we’re living in

-- Kate Wolf and Nina Gerber ©1981

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Page last modified on February 02, 2020, at 08:32 PM