Friday, March 02, 2007

70 years on - what's changed?

As with most of the articles I find, I stumbled across this one whilst trying to find an article on another topic, and as with anything that seems to hint at the now rather boring debate over working mum v. housewife I almost didn't read it. However I am thoroughly glad I did as it is a charming article. It touched me particularly because I struggle so much with wanting to be back in England and near my friends, especially now that many of them are having children. It saddens me that Jay is missing out on the experience of an English childhood and the American cultural childhood experience that I expected, saw on tv, (The Wonder Years, Stand by Me) and heard about from American friends no longer seems to exist. Daily I wonder just how my path in life directed me to this small town in the American mid-west and just how long it'll be before I can get back on the road to pastures new. I know that my struggle is cultural, far more evident here than in Arizona where many of my friends were also lost Europeans having found their way to the desert - I have yet to meet another "foreigner" in Fort Wayne, let alone another English person*. Cultural understanding and empathy that I took for granted in Phoenix seems somewhat lacking here and I have yet to find a truly decent restaurant, (I'm not sure I'm willing to count Biaggi's as real Italian). So the sense of lonliness that I often feel, despite being back at work, which I love, and having made some dear friends, (Emily, Renée), stems truly from feeling like a fish out of water. That disjointedness seeming to be magnified with a child who corrects me when I say digga as opposed to diggerr. Anyway I'm digressing into melancholy stupor and getting sidetracked because one of the things I kept thinking about as I was reading the article was how lucky I am to have friends all over the world with whom I can correspond instantly through email and IM. I rather like the thought of starting a Cooperative Correspondance Club between us all...another one of my ideas to be momentarily shelved along with the building of a new Garage Banville, (Donald Trump call me on this one, I'll run the place, got the ideas, location, you've got the financial backing, sorted), my bookshop, etiquette school, leading Grand Tours with Josh Bernstein etc, etc. Sorry, digressing again, it's Friday and my bloggage brain is sadly lacking, must be time for a coffee, my thought process is all over the place, suffering from the Molly Blooms.
Enjoy the article...I did...

"In 1935 a reader’s letter to the magazine Nursery World began with the words: “Can any mother help me?” It was a cri de coeur from a young woman, bored and isolated at home with small children, desperate for distraction from her “brooding” thoughts. Readers responded — some with sympathetic understanding, others with bracing advice —and the young woman wrote again, regretting that she couldn’t afford to reply to each of them personally and suggesting that they form a correspondence magazine: each contributor would write pieces on any subject, mail them to the young woman who would stitch them together inside a cover and post to the first name on a prearranged list; that person would read and/or write any comments in the margins and send on to the next name and so on until the magazine had been fully circulated. (Click to continue reading article)."

* I lie, the tailor I go to, George, is Greek. Brilliant tailor by the way, highly reccommended. Gogos Tailoring can be found at 1230 E State Blvd.


Anonymous said...


I recently discovered your blog and find it an absolute joy to read. Thank you! I'm always appreciative of an "outsider's" view of the town we live in - it usually validates my opinions of the place, and I grew up not far from here.

I'm surprised, though, that you've not been fortunate in meeting some of the other English residents (or other nationalities) of FW. Maybe it's because I work downtown, but I encounter people from all over the world nearly every day.

Finally, my husband and I have not yet enjoyed the wonders of Europe, but we have traveled a fair amount around North America and the larger Canadian cities. Through our travels we've developed an appreciation for good food and revel in finding culture and beauty in unexpected places. Though FW may be the backwater of the Midwest, there are a few glimmers of light here to be enjoyed. I'd be happy to share them with you, if it would help your feelings of isolation.

Keep writing - you definitely have the gift!

Mélaine said...

Thank you for your very kind words - I enjoy writing and am pleased that people other than its intended audience (my family and friends spread out all over the globe) are enjoying it too!
Perhaps because I'm in an insular (not in thought just in situation and the way a college campus is!) community I don't really get to meet people from a particularly globally encompassing group. I think my Monday nights at the Literacy Alliance are probably more diverse than who I meet during my workday at the college!
And despire of all my complaining, which is primarily just an outlet for my desparate homesickness, I do try and make use of what Fort Wayne has to offer - however I would always appreciate any glimmerings that may shed light on this cynical soul!