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100 Things, part 2

4 December 2008

And the listing continues, with thanks to KathyF for suggesting the questions that started me off on this section of the list.

  1. I was four years old when we left Belgium. It was supposedly for a 3-year posting. Thirty-seven years later, we’re all still here.
  2. We moved to New Jersey. First an apartment in Hackensack, which was crappy back in 1972 (which is why I still can’t get my head around that Hackensack is now a yuppie enclave), then a rented house in River Edge.
  3.  I don’t have an accent. But when people would learn that I was from Belgium, they’d then say, “Oh, yes, you sound like you’re from Canada”. Baloney. I just didn’t speak with a New Joisey accent.
  4. I worked REALLY HARD not to have a New Jersey accent. I never wawked a dawg acrowss the grayass. Never.
  5. We are Walloon — southern, French-speaking, Walloons. From Liege, which is a 1,028-year-old city. Now that’s a city!
  6. During the 1970s-1980s, tensions were really high between the Flemish and the Walloons. There were times during summer visits when relatives would ask me tongue-in-cheek (but not completely) to speak English, rather than French, when in a public place.
  7. I consider myself a true child of the 1980s: I started high school in 1982, college in 1986.
  8. Growing up when I did, I was absolutely sure the world would end in a big nuclear showdown between the US and the USSR.
  9. Well, it was the time period, and the fact that I loved James Bond/spy/armageddon-type stories.
  10. I also knew enough about the fallout from nuclear warfare that I decided if a bomb fell, I would run towards it. A quick death seemed much more palatable than life in the aftermath.
  11. Once we became a serious “item”, the Consort argued against that philosophy. He said he really wanted us to be together through anything, and didn’t want me to die.
  12. It took a while for him to convince me, but I agreed.
  13. Because I love him.
  14. When I was a teen, my Girl Scout troop participated in a winter survival weekend, taught by Green Berets. (See? Apocalypse was the theme of that decade.)
  15. (I got my Girl Scout First Class Award, by the way. Back when First Class was the Girl Scout equivalent of Eagle Scout. Now they’ve gone and messed things up. Just because men couldn’t wrap their minds around the fact that a Girl Scout First Class was higher than the Boy Scouts’ First Class Award.)
  16. During the survival training, we learned how to build a snow shelter (and sleep in it), how to provide emergency first aid, how to try to communicate with “civilization”, how to use a compass, how to find food, and how to skin a rabbit.
  17. At the end of the weekend, we were each given a “wounded” Green Beret (*sigh* flutter *sigh*),and  directions to a stash of food and bandages. We had to start a fire with no matches, administer first aid, prepare the food, purify water, and get a message out. All in the deep snows of winter.
  18. Part of the food package was a rabbit to be skinned. They had been killed on the Wednesday before the training, and we had to do the skinning on the Sunday. No one wanted to do it. My friend Lorraine and I figured, “what the hell, somebody has to do it”, and we skinned the rabbit. 
  19. OH MY GOD, that thing had turned green under its fur. It smelled bad and the skin was slippery under our hands. We cried, and bitched, and moaned, and ranted, and raved (and held our noses). But we did it. We skinned and spitted that darn lagomorph. Then told everyone in our group NOT to eat it — we didn’t want to have to deal with any real-life first aid issues.
  20. I still plan for apocalypse (not in the religious sense, though).
  21. That’s why I learned how to knit socks, you know. So I could keep us warm through the winters. Since I had promised to live through it.
  22. Little House in the Big Woods is chock full of information on how to survive in the wild. I noticed this not when I read the book as a little girl, but when I read it to Impera and Trixie.
  23. So when the world collapses, others may grab guns, or raid a pharmacy for medicine — I’m going to raid the library for a copy of that book.
  24. I’ll also raid a yarn store for wool, and a seed store for seeds. I’m not stupid.
  25. I notice that I am much more prone to crying at movies or books now than when I was younger. Hero? I sobbed. The last chapter in The House at Pooh Corner? (The one where Winnie tells Christopher Robin that it’s OK for him to move on and grow up) I cried as I read it to the girls. It freaked them out (Mommy? Mommy, why are you crying? … Mommy?) and I’m sorry, but it was just so sad (because that’s what happens to parents as their kids grow up, too, don’t you see).
  26. I much prefer the original A.A. Milne Winnie the Pooh stories to the bland pablum that Disney has made of them. Eeyore has a sharp and witty tongue in the originals, he’s not just a whiner. Everyone should check them out, if they haven’t already.
8 Comments leave one →
  1. cowgirl permalink
    4 December 2008 10:11 am

    after reading this- my “ritualistic sacrifice of small woodland creatures” post on flick is SO not funny…

  2. Peaceable Imperatrix permalink*
    4 December 2008 1:19 pm

    It is! It’s totally funny! 😉

  3. 4 December 2008 1:58 pm

    #8-10: Growing up in the ’80s, I took comfort from the fact that my family lived near not one but two prime nuclear targets (one major city and one very important Air Force base). After reading Carl Sagan’s Nuclear Winter and watching all those made-for-TV movies about nuclear war (remember Testament?), I was pretty sure I wouldn’t want to be around afterward.

    #26: Totally with you on this point. (Then again, I have long believed that the Disney Corporation is the antichrist.)

  4. 5 December 2008 9:03 am

    I did Girl Scout wilderness survival thing, too, although not nearly as intense as yours. No rabbits were harmed, etc. And, you know, no snow. We did get lost in Griffith Park (bad orienteering and how), but managed to dodge a collection of freaks hanging out in the hills there and found our way to a pay phone near the Greek Theater. Urban survival skills, baby.

  5. 5 December 2008 12:02 pm

    Do you guys remember all of the hoop-la around The Day After? For the non-80s children, that was an ABC miniseries about life after a nuclear war. We had announcements in our school, telling us about discussion/support groups that were going to be meeting after the show, and devoted a class to determining what was realistic and what wasn’t, so that we wouldn’t be freaked out and so on. When I watched the movie, I was totally disappointed, because I figured with all of that prep, it must be really good!

    Ah, the 80s!

    Hey, btw, regarding that about you sounding Canadian. You are wrong–it is not just that you don’t have a New Jersey accent. It is that you enunciate clearly, and make use of pretty much all of the sounds in the modern American phoneme tree. That makes you sound, just slightly…exotic. Not from the UK, where they have an accent, but maybe Canada? Or Bermuda, perhaps. Certainly not the US, because in the US we each choose our favorite subset of phonemes and go with that.

    I think that’s also why I can understand your french, but maybe I’m wrong.

  6. 6 December 2008 12:48 pm

    “When I was a teen, my Girl Scout troop participated in a winter survival weekend, taught by Green Berets.”

    Wow. This speaks to Reagan’s abject failure to get us into a ground war in the ’80s 😉

  7. 8 December 2008 4:31 am

    They did a radio dramatization of On the Beach the other day. Even though it’s kind of a stupid premise, and outdated, I cried at the end when they gave the baby the injection and then gave it to each other.

    See? Crying AND apocalyptic thoughts. Better not read that one.

  8. 14 December 2008 3:12 pm

    I’ve been awol for a while. Nice to have a good few posts to catch up with!

    I hadn’t realised you were from Belgium! I’ve been through Belgium, but never stopped there. At least, a coach stopped in Gent at 2am for the driver to have a half-hour break, but I don’t think that counts.

    Loving the snow 🙂

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