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All of Me

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Documents the Canadian singer's life from her humble origins in a tragedy-plagued coal mining town to her arrival on the world sta... Lire la suite
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Documents the Canadian singer's life from her humble origins in a tragedy-plagued coal mining town to her arrival on the world stage.

NATIONAL BESTSELLER

"It is warm, straightforward and candid, and Posner has wisely dimmed his own stylistic light in order to let her voice come through. And it does, sometimes with low-key, self-deprecating humour and surprising honesty, and always with a lack of pretentiousness."
The Globe and Mail

"In keeping with Murray's down-to-earth honesty, the [book]...provides a balanced account of her life that covers both career highs (her 54 million records sold and dozens of awards) and personal lows (the dissolution of her marriage and her daughter's struggle with anorexia)."
— Calgary Sun

"Anne Murray's new memoir blows the lid off her image as the fresh-faced all-Canadian singing sensation.... A fast-paced and revealing autobiography."
— Winnipeg Free Press

"Murray is the queen of Nova Scotia.... The notoriously private singer finally open[s] up about her astounding life in All of Me."
— The Salt Lake Tribune


From the Hardcover edition.

Auteur
Born and raised in Springhill, Nova Scotia, Anne Murray has enjoyed an unparalleled career, delighting millions with her signature voice and time-honoured songs. Over a four-decade-long career, she’s sold 54 million records, putting more than 30 pop hits, 50 country tunes and over 40 adult contemporary songs on the Billboard charts.


From the Hardcover edition.

Texte du rabat

In this revealing autobiography, Canada's first lady of song, for the first time, tells the whole story of her astonishing 40-year career in show biz.



Résumé
In this revealing autobiography, Canada’s first lady of song, for the first time, tells the whole story of her astonishing 40-year career in show biz. It is a candid retrospective of the extraordinary success achieved, and the prices that had to be paid.

“After ‘Snowbird’ hit, I was swept up like Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz, and catapulted into a strange new universe … If I thought for a moment that I was really in control of events, I was deluded.” Anne Murray

An unflinching self-portrait of Canada’s first great female recording artist, All of Me documents the life of Anne Murray, from her humble origins in the tragedy-plagued coal-mining town of Springhill, Nova Scotia, to her arrival on the world stage. Anne recounts her story: the battles with her record companies over singles and albums; the struggle with drug- and alcohol-ridden band members; the terrible guilt and loneliness of being away from her two young children; her divorce from the man who helped launch her career, Bill Langstroth; and the deaths of two of her closest confidantes. The result is a must-read autobiography by Canada’s beloved songbird.


From the Hardcover edition.

Échantillon de lecture
Chapter One
 
My mother had prayed for a little girl.
 
Every day during her fourth pregnancy, Marion Murray entreated Saint Anne, the mother of the Virgin Mary, to deliver a girl to join her three young sons. This was not an idle request. Mom took her prayers-and her Catholicism-very seriously. She lit candles, said novenas and promised Saint Anne that if she were to be blessed with a girl, she would call her Anne. In the end, when I was delivered by Dr. Harold Simpson on the morning of June 20, 1945, at All Saints Hospital in Springhill, Nova Scotia, I was named Morna Anne-Morna after my paternal grandmother. Morna came first because Morna Anne Murray flowed a lot better than Anne Morna Murray-my first lesson, perhaps, in the importance of rhythm. My mother had no doubt that it was prayer alone that had been responsible for my arrival. Such was her gratitude that virtually until the day she died, she stayed in touch with priests at the Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré shrine in Quebec, sending regular donations.
 
With three older brothers-David, Daniel and Harold-and later two younger ones-Stewart and Bruce-my childhood fate was largely predetermined. I didn't have a chance. Even before I could walk they had laced a pair of boxing gloves onto my hands for a family photograph. I never actually donned them for a fight, but they are an apt metaphor. I was a tomboy and relished the role, wanting to do everything my brothers did, stubbornly resisting the repeated well-intentioned efforts of my mother to transform me into a model of junior femininity. I did have dolls and I did play with them, but they were never a major part of my childhood. Only years later, long after I had left home, did my mother succeed in decorating my bedroom as she had long envisaged it, with frilly pinks and whites replacing my posters of Hollywood heartthrob James Dean and Tony Dow (Leave It to Beaver's older brother, Wally). I had it bad for Tony Dow.
 
Taught by my older brothers, I learned to catch, throw and hit a baseball with proficiency. Along with them I rooted for the Brooklyn Dodgers and the Toronto Maple Leafs, though my loyalties shifted from time to time to Dad's favourite team, the Montreal Canadiens. The boys owned a vast baseball card collection that we stored in gallon ice-cream pails. In time I memorized the batting and earned-run averages of every major-league player. My brothers liked to quiz me-they would cover up most of the card and, from the portion that remained visible, I had to identify the player and what team he played for and recite all his relevant numbers.
 
Outdoors I was recruited for neighbourhood games and, because I had a good arm, later played centre field for our girls' softball team, the Top Hats. We won the town cham pionship, but my contribution to our victory was minimal. Despite my training, I was never a confident player, either at bat or in the field. I rarely swung at pitches and in the field I was often thinking, Please, don't hit it to me.
 
I would never be able to compete seriously with my brothers on the sports field, and I knew it. This is just a theory, but it's possible that when I discovered in my early teens that I could sing reasonably well, I worked hard at it precisely because it was one thing that I could do better than they could. I couldn't get enough of singing; it was a tonic for my otherwise deflated sense of self-esteem. But that was later. In my early years we were a sports-mad family. We swam, played baseball and hockey (Dad would rent the local skating rink for an hour on Sundays after church), and on Saturday nights during the winter and all through the Stanley Cup playoffs, watched hockey games religiously around the family TV. It was a nineteen-inch black-and-white Westinghouse with chrome legs that sat in my parents' bedroom; all eight of us and assorted friends sprawled in awkward configurations on the bed or the floor to watch it. (In his later years, whenever the Canadiens were playing, Dad would don his official Guy Lafleur number ten jersey.)
 
They were an active bunch, my brothers; they loved to box and wrestle with each other, and often roughhoused with me as well. Until Harold went off to college, I don't think he ever missed an opportunity to slug me in the arm if I was within his considerable range. He was merciless with all of us-on the day he left, Stewart, Bruce and I cheered lustily from the back porch of our big Main Street home. On my sixteenth birthday two of the older boys administered the traditional sixteen slaps to my butt with such enthusiasm that I was brought to tears. I would fight back-writhing, wriggling, flailing, screaming and complaining frequently to Mom, but usually without results. The precise circumstances of one incident are lost in the mists of memory, but Harold had pushed me a little too far, and in a moment of anger I picked up a small rock and hurled it at him, nicking his ear (I think I was eight or nine at the time). He put his hand to his ear, felt the blood trickling down and flashed me a big, wicked grin-not because he was proud of me for fighting back, but because he knew he would need a few stitches to sew it up. And, since I had drawn blood, he knew that some form of parental wrath would be expressed and that I, for once, would be its recipient. He was going to savour that moment.
 
Much of the time, I'm sure, I was either a nuisance or a burden to my brothers-or both. Once when I was an infant, the boys wheeled me down the street in my pram and left me while they went inside a store. One small problem: they had neglected to put on the brake-and Springhill is built on a cluster of steep hills. So down the hill I went, gathering speed, until an alert neighbour spotted the careening carriage and raced out to save me. But for that timely intervention, my music career might have been aborted very early. On another occasion, while I was still a toddler, I was again consigned to the less-than-scrupulous care of the older boys. They wanted to play baseball. These two imperatives-play and supervision-conflicted, so they cleverly arrived at a solution that would keep me from wandering off: they thoughtfully tied me to a nearby tree and the game continued. At other times I was a victim of their pranks. Walking home at night from movies at the community hall in Northport, where we spent our summers, they would run ahead and hide in ditches and behind trees, leaving me alone in complete darkness. Then they'd jump out and scare me half to death.
 
In turn, when I was charged with their care, I often regarded my younger brothers as an unwelcome responsibility. I was three years older than Stewart and six years older than Bruce, and I could be as inattentive as my older brothers had been. Once when I was ostensibly babysitting four-year-old Bruce, he decided he wanted to use the record player. To do so he had to move a lamp, which he laid down on a foam pillow, which then caught fire-while I was busy playing cards downstairs with a boyfriend. I smelled burning rubber and, Dad being at work and Mom out, my boyfriend ran to get his father. The local newspaper, the Record, reported the story of menacing Master Murray, the four-year-old arsonist, but no serious damage was done.
 
My brother Daniel was the family tease. He enjoyed pinning me to the floor, his knees firmly pressing down on my shoulders so that I was immobilized, and then threatening to lick my face, inching ever closer. He denies these accusations today, but his memory is clearly flawed. Daniel had other idiosyncratic methods of torture as well. With a doctor for a father and a nurse for a mother, their six germ-carrying kids were repeatedly instructed never to drink from each other's glass or eat food the others might have touched. Daniel exploited these instructions ruthlessly. Typically Mom would have us all sit at the kitchen table while she rushed back and forth with plates of food. Even before we'd finished the main course, she'd set out the dessert as well. One of our favourites was date squares. She'd be fussing with something, her back turned, and Daniel, slowly and methodically, would take each square and carefully lick both sides, effectively claiming them as his own. After that we couldn't and wouldn't touch them. But, if we knew what was good for us, we also couldn't snitch on him to Mom. So Mom would ask, "How come no one but Daniel is eating the squares?" and we could say nothing-Daniel's withering glare warning us of dire consequences if we dared. That kitchen table, incidentally, contained a small drawer in which Bruce and I hid bread crusts, which we hated. I'd been told they put hair on your chest, and I didn't want any part of that.
 
To be completely candid, I should confess that my treatment of my younger siblings occasionally reflected the treatment I had been accorded by the others. I once teased Bruce to the point where he threw a pair of scissors at me. At other times I had a tendency to treat both him and Stewart as living dolls, dressing them and coiffing their schoolboy hair as I-and sometimes my friends-pleased. (Hair, in fact, became something of an avocation. I used to cut Dad's hair at our cottage at Northport in the summer, and at university I ran a virtual salon, offering trims and dye jobs to my dorm-mates.) Later my attentions to Bruce and Stewart became more practical and well-intentioned: I taught them both to dance.
 
Afraid of being ridiculed by the others, no one really expressed their fears. I certainly didn't. I vividly recall hearing, either through some fundamentalist proselytizers at our door or on the radio, that the world was coming to an end on a given day. Somehow I took this warning very seriously, but instead of articulating my mounting fear, I took refuge under my bed on the appointed day. Only when it became clear to me that the forecast had failed did I reappear.
 
Having five brothers, I should add, was not without its benefits. They taught me far more than just how to read a box score. I had to learn self-reliance because they had better things to do than cater to me. They taught me by example how to recognize and cut through spin and bullshit, a skill that would come in handy more than once during my life in the music industry. And they made sure that whatever success I might achieve, in school or elsewhere, wasn't going to swell my little head. I wasn't inclined that way in any event, selfconfidence being in short supply, but they'd have cut me down to size quickly if I had been. When, years later, I walked onstage at Radio City Music Hall to a rousing standing ovation, my brother Harold looked around in some astonishment, as if to say, "What's going on? It's just Anne."
 
 
My parents' marriage was, first to last, a script lifted from a fable. My mother, Marion Burke, was a nurse in training at All Saints Springhill Hospital when, in 1934, James Carson Murray arrived. He was a handsome young Dalhousie medical school grad who had just completed a year of surgical training at St. Luke's Hospital in Cleveland (later the Cleveland Clinic) and a year's practice with his father, a country doctor in nearby Tatamagouche. The nursing corps of Springhill Hospital was then administered by a group of strict and sober Church of England nuns, and they ranked doctors as not far below the angels. More importantly, perhaps, they were advised by Dr. Simpson, the chief of staff, to turn a blind eye to the courtship developing in front of them, between the handsome Presbyterian from Tatamagouche and the comely young Catholic coal miner's daughter with deep Acadian roots from nearby Joggins. In a sense, you might say that Dr. Simpson twice facilitated my birth.
 
My grandparents, on the other hand, took a decidedly more jaundiced view of this romance. Both sides were initially opposed to the union on religious grounds, such were the entrenched prejudices of the day. It was probably family pressure that led my mother, after they had been dating for a while, to ask for a time out. Three weeks went by; then Dad, who was always very quiet and shy, turned up at the nurses' dorm and asked my mother whether she might be interested in buying a set of encyclopedias. Mom declined the books but accepted his proposal. Not long after, they were married, although even then they could not be married in a church. In 1937 they exchanged their vows before Monsignor Currie in what was known as the Glebe, an annex of St. Thomas Aquinas parish in Joggins. None of their parents was present; Mom's sister, Erma, and John Burbine, Mom's first boyfriend, stood as witnesses. Although the laws of the Church kept them from the ceremony, Mom's parents did host a luncheon reception at their home. The honeymoon was a weekend in Saint John, New Brunswick, at the Admiral Beatty Hotel. The parental frostiness did not linger; in fact, it melted as soon as the first grandson, David, arrived about a year later.
 
Growing up, we didn't see much of Dad. His work ethic was legendary. On a typical day he'd be up at dawn to start surgery, delivering babies (4,500 over the decades) or tending to the dislocated or broken limbs routinely sustained by the city's two thousand coal miners, the mainstay of Springhill's principal industry. Then he'd do rounds at the hospital and return home for lunch. He took lunch, as he took breakfast and dinner, in bed; the only times the family gathered all together for a meal were Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter. After lunch he'd take a short power nap, then go to his office above Wardrope's drugstore and see patients for three or four hours. Then he'd come home for dinner-again in bed (we kids would have eaten already)-take another twenty-minute nap, and then set off to see more patients at his office and make final rounds at the hospital. Dad did this every day except Saturday and Sunday, although he was always on call and worked one Sunday in four in rotation with other doctors. He also made house calls. In the summers, when we were at the family cottage at Northport, it was not unusual for people to pull up to announce that he was needed (we had no phone). He'd then drive to the nearest telephone office for a consultation or back into town for an emergency procedure.
 
Dad kept up professionally by reading exhaustively, often late into the night, from medical journals he kept stacked beside the bed. And his dedication was matched by his extraordinary surgical skills. To cite just one example, I received a letter a few years ago about a man who, as a child of two or three, had managed to get his forearm stuck in the rollers of an old wringer washing machine. Muscle and bone had been badly damaged, and the medical consensus was that amputation would be the best and most efficient course. Dad had disagreed, saying there was no way he was going to allow the little boy to lose an arm without trying to save it-which is exactly what he proceeded to do. The surgery was successful and the little boy grew up to become a welder, a profession that would have been virtually unthinkable with one arm. When Dad died in 1980, dozens of people came forward with stories like this, about how he had saved this or that part of them. And, quite frequently, I think, he refused to charge poorer families for his services.
 
Dad didn't waste a lot of time on religion-that was Mom's domain-and so we were raised Catholic; in fact, his consent on that point had been a condition of the Church's sanction of their marriage. Four out of five brothers served as altar boys, and Bruce played the church organ from the time he was eleven. We said the rosary every night on our knees, attended Mass during the week and on Sundays, gave up candy for Lent, and I went to catechism on Friday night, right through Grade 10. I sang in the church choir and, as a girl, said my prayers every night, kneeling beside my bed while a crucified Jesus (and Tony Dow) gazed down at me. On my dressing table was a glow-in-the-dark miniature chapel with the Virgin Mary standing behind a gate.
 
But it wasn't long before a certain doubt and disillusionment began to set in. In Springhill the Protestants outnumbered the Catholics ten to one, and our local priest, Father Buchanan, regularly and confidently informed us that all Protestants were going to hell. Now, my father was a Protestant, and in my eyes at least, he was a veritable saint. It wasn't possible that he could be going to hell. And I had any number of Protestant friends, none of whom seemed like wastrels destined for the fiery furnace. So there was something about this dogma that began to strike my adolescent brain as terribly wrong. The narrow-mindedness extended even to extra-liturgical matters-we were not allowed to sing in non-Catholic churches. In fact, I often had to turn down invitations to sing at non-Catholic weddings.
 
I never really warmed to the ritual part of Catholicism either, the elaborate vestments and the incense. It just seemed over the top. Nor could I ever really get a handle on confession. At his first confession, Bruce, who must have been about seven, spent what seemed like an hour in the confessional booth, clutching his copy of something called the Baltimore Catechism. Notwithstanding his accidental flirtation with arson, I couldn't imagine how his little seven-year-old life could have been so terribly warped and misspent as to require so much atonement. Nevertheless, I continued to sing in church and attended Sunday Mass all through my college years, and even later, while I was living in Halifax.
 
By my early teens I was no longer very comfortable in church, for reasons that had nothing to do with spiritual misgivings. As a family we were almost always late for services-getting six kids scrubbed, brushed and dressed took forever-and by the time we walked down the aisle to our pew I was already anxious, feeling like I was going to faint or throw up. I could feel people watching me, and that made me uncomfortable to the point of panic. After about five minutes I'd get up and go outside, just for some fresh air. Around that time I was something of a nervous wreck, riddled with an assortment of strange neck tics and bad habits. I bit my nails and gnawed a few of my knuckles until they were raw. I never talked about it, and Mom, who must have noticed, never said a word. Eventually the tics and habits went away, as these things generally do.
 
Looking back, I think those early adolescent years were very hard for me-the awkward transition from girl to young woman made all the more difficult by living among five brothers. The more like them I could be, the happier I was-so much so that when I first started to develop breasts at twelve or thirteen, I began to carry myself hunched over to avoid drawing attention to this emergent, rather fundamental anatomical difference. Mom was often on my case about that. "For heaven's sake, Anne," I can still hear her saying, "stand up straight!" (In fact, she was still reminding me in her nineties.)
 
It must have been during that period of terrible selfconsciousness, complicated by the arrival of my first period, that Mom took me to buy my first brassiere. I hated these bumps that I had developed; they made manifest what I was most in denial about-the differences between me and my brothers. Having made the purchase, I actually had to wear it; I had to sit down at lunch with the boys, all of whom were acutely conscious of my dramatically altered form. I remember Bruce turned to stare at me-he would have been about six or seven-and said, "What are those things? What are those bumps?" And bumps they were-bras in those days created a very pointy look. Daniel and Harold, sitting adjacent, were busy elbowing him and saying, "Shut up, Bruce." Of course, all my girlfriends were going through similar trials, but they didn't have to cope with five brothers. I thought it was so unfair that boys were spared the ordeal of protruding breasts and crampy periods. Mom had prepared me for that, but that didn't mean I had to like it.
 
 
When he wasn't working, Dad was a keen outdoorsman. He loved to be active, often saying, "Never sit if you can stand" and "Never lie down if you can sit." He was a strong advocate of fitness long before it became fashionable. He loved to snowshoe-sometimes to work. From the house my mother would carefully watch him crossing the fields, because Dad suffered from asthma; if he had an attack she would see him collapse and rush over to him with a hypodermic needle prepared for just that contingency. Dad also cross-country skied. Some of my favourite times alone with him were on ski outings, the sweat dripping from his nose, his layers of clothes discarded and hung on tree branches along the route as his body temperature rose. He taught us to swim, played catch with us in the big field adjacent to our house, and loved to hunt. Occasionally at the cottage my brothers would lure him into a game of bridge, but he was a reluctant player. He always wanted to be outdoors.
 
Once when I was a young teen, he took me rabbit hunting. It was freezing cold and I was bored and miserable. After about three hours of what seemed like pointless wandering, he said to me, "There's one over there. Shoot there." I couldn't see anything but I fired the gun; to my great surprise and greater regret, I actually hit the rabbit. I heard it whimpering and I felt awful, and felt worse when Dad had to put the poor thing out of its misery. We may have taken it home, but I've repressed the memory. I did tell Dad, "Don't ever ask me to go hunting again."
 
On occasion he'd take all of us kids fishing, lining us up beside the brook with our rods, while he went off to find some trailing arbutus (mayflower), the wonderfully aromatic provincial flower of Nova Scotia, to take home to Mom. I still remember the fragrance of those pink and white blossoms filling the car, an old Meteor, on the drive home. We never caught any fish, mainly, I think, because Dad was less interested in fish than in the flowers. He took us to where he knew the mayflowers were; fishing was simply a way to distract us while he collected them in peace.
 
And Dad relished adventure. He loved nothing more than getting himself stuck in some muddy rut on the Casey Road, a prime, unspoiled hunting area about twenty miles away, and then figuring out how to dig himself out. He carried an old beaten-up rucksack in his trunk, filled with hatchets, knives and other survival gear, just for these occasions. Mom hated that bag, especially when we had a station wagon and it was visible in the back. "Carson," she'd exclaim, "you are not taking that rucksack!" But of course he did.
 
Much to my mother's annoyance, he would also look for opportunities to experience manageable risk. Once he took Stew, Bruce and me on a boat ride when, I am convinced, he knew that a big storm was brewing on the Northumberland Strait. When the storm hit, we were cruising down the Shinimicas River and had to take cover. There just happened to be an overturned lobster boat on the shore, so we pulled over, took refuge under the lobster boat and ate our picnic lunch. When the storm had passed, we were on our way again. We got back to find Mom rooted to the bank, furious, arms folded. "Carson," she bellowed, "what were you thinking?" She always called him "Cars," except when she was angry; then it was "Carson!" And he called her "Mummy the Dummy," affectionately, of course. They adored each other. She was feisty and fun, full of life, a perfect complement to his calm reserve. When he pulled one of his stunts, she'd light into him verbally for a few minutes. When she was finished, he'd just say, with a little grin on his face, "Pardon?"
 
One day he went duck hunting and, just as dusk approached, he finally shot one. He had to wade out into the water to retrieve it, so he decided to strip down to his shorts, leaving his clothes on the bank. By the time he got back, however, night had fallen and he couldn't find his clothes in the dark. So he found a farmhouse and, in his underwear and freezing cold, knocked on a stranger's door. They kindly lent him some clothes-and a flashlight.
 
Dad had a dry and wry sense of humour. Once he was summoned to a nursing home where a senior citizen had died.
 
"She's not dead," he declared, after conducting a brief examination.
 
The presiding nurse glared at him. "Well, she was dead five minutes ago!"
 
"Well, then," said Dad. "I guess it's a good thing for her that I didn't get here earlier."
 
Even as a disciplinarian, Dad was taciturn. He never lectured or sermonized-he didn't have to. One look, one glance, was enough to tell us kids that we had offended and had better stop, pronto. He spanked me only once, when I was about four. Mom had asked me to go upstairs and fetch the toothpaste and I had refused, more than once, I think because I was afraid of the dark upstairs. She promised punishment when Dad came home, but he'd never hit me before, so when he asked me to get the toothpaste, I said no to him as well. He put me over his knee and probably slapped me about three times. I never said no again, at least not to him. All he had to do was look at us.
 
However, Dad was usually absent, so it fell to Mom to impose some modicum of discipline on the boys. She did this well for the most part, sometimes carrying a narrow strip of linoleum, a kind of whip that she wielded as an instrument of intimidation. But there were times when she simply closed the bedroom doors and let the lads go at it on their bunk beds, pounding the daylights out of each other, the walls fairly reverberating with the raucous symphony of fraternal warfare. My father's mother, Nanna Murray, once opined that it was unlikely Mom would see her sons as adults; she was sure they would kill each other off in battle before that.
 
Nanna couldn't have been more wrong. All grew into responsible adults, successful in their chosen fields. David became a nephrologist; Daniel a geologist; Harold a gastroenterologist; Stewart, the only one who stayed in Springhill, a program manager for Corrections Canada; and Bruce a singer and later a teacher. Mom was generally lenient and fair, and none of the boys ever posed a serious behavioural problem. She was equally relaxed with me. She seldom imposed a curfew and it never really occurred to me to rebel. Apart from some experimentation with marijuana in university, neither did the boys. We had an innate sense of what was right-or at least of what was wrong.
 
My mother doted on my father, and spoiled him. As a couple they never had much of a social life-Dad's work habits didn't allow it-but she seemed untroubled by that. She was with the man she wanted to be with. She baked and cooked; she volunteered with the Catholic Women's League and the hospital auxiliary; and once a week she played bridge with a group of friends. When Dad finally came home at night, she'd already be in bed, sitting up half asleep but dressed to the nines-the best-looking woman in bed. She was happiest when there were people around and mouths to feed, the more the merrier. My brothers would sometimes bring their baseball teams to the cottage and she'd feed them all for an entire day, thinking that was the greatest thing. In Springhill she was aided by Dena Vienneau, a remarkable woman who came to work for us in 1946, when she was sixteen, and stayed fifty-eight years, until Mom's death. Dena had no children of her own, so we were it. Her husband, Alfred, was a great friend of Dad's, and when Dad retired, the two of them (sometimes accompanied by Stewart) went hunting almost every weekend.
 
More than in most other houses, I suspect, language was important. Both my parents were sticklers for good grammar, but Dad had a particular way of correcting us. If we slipped up on something, he'd stare at us and say, very coolly, "Pardon?" And he'd keep saying "Pardon?" until we got it right. And Dad loved poetry, particularly the English Romantics-Keats, Shelley, Wordsworth, Byron, as well as Sir Walter Scott's The Lady of the Lake-and among the moderns, Robert Frost and the playful Ogden Nash. He could recite many of their poems and, often without warning and sometimes for no apparent reason, would launch into a recitation. I recite some of those poems today, much to the embarrassment of my children.
 
Neither of my parents swore. Dad never did, and the worst thing I can recall hearing Mom say was "Oh, damn" after she discovered that her cake in the oven had fallen, likely because the boys had been running around the house. Among the brothers and me, there was frequent invocation of the word frig-friggin' this and friggin' that. But even now none of us really swears, although our kids, I think, more than compensate.
 
Having put my father on a substantial pedestal, as a child I was not able to see how hard Mom worked and how much she contributed to the family's cohesion. It was only years later, when I became a mother myself, that I realized how selflessly she had laboured on our behalf. I'm sure I must have disappointed her at times. I was not remotely the girly girl she had wanted. Once, invited to help her at a tea and wearing a new dress, I ended the affair by climbing a tree with the neighbourhood kids. Quite frequently we sparred verbally, usually for the most trivial of ...

Informations sur le produit

Titre: All of Me
Auteur:
Code EAN: 9780307398451
ISBN: 978-0-307-39845-1
Format: Couverture cartonnée
Editeur: Random House N.Y.
Genre: Musique
nombre de pages: 352
Poids: 459g
Taille: H229mm x B154mm x T27mm
Année: 2010

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