I was shaped by men – two men –
more than the women. The women
shaped me, I suppose, negatively
as something to rebel against:
that traditional role. I could not see
the joy in cooking and cleaning.
But father and grandfather shaped
my curiosity, my lifelong wanting
to know and understand. My Dad
by example: ‘Let’s look that up!’
(What would a home have been,
without dictionary and encyclopaedia?)
My Grandpa in long nature walks
when we were together on visits,
pointing out a rich variety of particular
trees and flowers, birds and insects,
kinds of clouds.… And in letters, so many
over the years, wide-ranging conversations.
In some respects it was as if
they didn’t know I was a kid.
They spoke to my mind, that ageless
part of a person, with respect
for my intelligence. They knew
I could think – and even better, enquire.
‘Think for yourself, make up
your own mind,’ they said. ‘Don’t
just take things at face value. Look
deep.’ I was a dreamy little girl,
fond of fairy-tales, but I also knew
to use logic and common-sense.
My brother was brought up the same.
He didn’t have to rebel against cooking
and also didn’t need to abjure
fist fights, booze and sport. He grew up
taking it for granted that real men
include the gentle, and those who think.
Yes, we were ‘different’ – didn’t fit in
with the ‘norm’. We survived that
and found our tribes. Now we are
an old woman and an old man; each
moved far from where we were born:
still filled with curiosity, and life.
Written for Poets and Storytellers United's Friday Writings #26, where Rommy invites us to be inspired by the phrase, 'stay curious'.