Not the Whole Story is a compilation of sixteen stories narrated by single mothers in their own way and about their own lives. Each story is unique, but the same issues appear again and again. Abuse, parenting as single mothers, challenges in the labour market, mental health and addictions issues, a scarcity of quality childcare, immigration and status vulnerability, struggles with custody, and poverty-these factors, combined with a lack of support, contribute to their continued struggles. The themes that recur across stories illustrate that the issues the women face are not just about individual struggle; they demonstrate that major issues in Canada's social system have been neglected in public policy. In order for these issues to be addressed we need to challenge the flawed public policies and the negative discourse that continue to marginalize single mothers-in terms of the opportunities in their own lives and in terms of how they are understood by other Canadians. The first-person narratives of the struggles and issues faced by low-income single mothers provide narrative richness and are augmented by introductory and concluding chapters that draw the narrative themes together and offer overarching discussion and analysis.
Olivia Cockett was twenty-six years old in the summer of 1939 when she responded to an invitation from Mass Observation to "ordinary" individuals to keep a diary of their everyday lives, attitudes, feelings, and social relations. This book is an annotated, unabridged edition of her candid and evocative diary. Love and War in London: A Woman's Diary 1939-1942 is rooted in the extraordinary milieu of wartime London. Vibrant and engaging, Olivia's diary reveals her frustrations, fears, pleasures, and self-doubts. She records her mood swings and tries to understand them, and speaks of her lover (a married man) and the intense relationship they have. As she and her friends and family in New Scotland Yard are swept up by the momentous events of another European war, she vividly reports on what she sees and hears in her daily life. Hers is a diary that brings together the personal and the public. It permits us to understand how one intelligent, imaginative woman struggled to make sense of her life, as the city in which she lived was drawn into the turmoil of a catastrophic war.
Accident of Fate is a first-hand account of persecution, rescue, and resistance in the Axis-occupied former Yugoslavia. At the age of thirteen, Imre Rochlitz fled to Yugoslavia from his childhood home in Vienna following the Nazi Anschluss, leaving his family behind. In January 1942 the Ustashe (Croatian Fascists) arrested and interned him in the Jasenovac death camp, where he dug mass graves. On the verge of death, Rochlitz was released due to the extraordinary intervention of a Nazi general. He escaped to the Adriatic coast, where he and several thousand other Jewish refugees were protected by the army of Fascist Italy. After Italy's surrender, he joined Tito's Partisans, becoming an officer and army veterinarian, and rescued dozens of downed Allied airmen. In 1945, he fled Yugoslavia's Communist regime and reached liberated southern Italy. In 1947, at the age of twenty-two, he emigrated to the United States. With unique personal photographs and documents supporting the text, this eyewitness narrative covers little-known topics and provides a revealing historical account of the period. The book helps clarify and render accessible the complexities and contradictions of conflict and genocide in wartime Yugoslavia.
Becoming My Mother's Daughter: A Story of Survival and Renewal tells the story of three generations of a Jewish Hungarian family whose fate has been inextricably bound up with the turbulent history of Europe, from the First World War through the Holocaust and the communist takeover after World War II, to the family's dramatic escape and emmigration to Canada. The emotional centre and narrative voice of the story belong to Eva, an artist, dreamer, and writer trying to work through her complex and deep relationship with her mother, whose portrait she cannot paint until she completes her journey through memory. The core of the book is Eva's riveting recollection of the last months of World War II in Budapest, seen through a child's eyes, and is reminiscent in its power of scenes in Joy Kogawa's Obasan. Exploring the bond between generations of mothers and daughters, the book illustrates the struggle between the need for independence and the search for continuity, the significant impact of childhood on adult life, the reshaping of personality in immigration, the importance of dreams in making us face reality, and the redemptive power of memory. Illustrations by the author throughout the book, some in colour, enhance the story.
Canadian Graphic: Picturing Life Narratives presents critical essays on contemporary Canadian cartoonists working in graphic life narrative, from confession to memoir to biography. The contributors draw on literary theory, visual studies, and cultural history to show how Canadian cartoonists have become so prominent in the international market for comic books based on real-life experiences. The essays explore the visual styles and storytelling techniques of Canadian cartoonists, as well as their shared concern with the spectacular vulnerability of the self. Canadian Graphic also considers the role of graphic life narratives in reimagining the national past, including Indigenous-settler relations, both world wars, and Quebec's Quiet Revolution.Contributors use a range of approaches to analyze the political, aesthetic, and narrative tensions in these works between self and other, memory and history, individual and collective. An original contribution to the study of auto/biography, alternative comics, and Canadian print culture, Canadian Graphic proposes new ways of reading the intersection of comics and auto/ biography both within and across national boundaries.
Autobiographical impostures, once they come to light, appear to us as outrageous, scandalous. They confuse lived and textual identity (the person in the world and the character in the text) and call into question what we believe, what we doubt, and how we receive information. In the process, they tell us a lot about cultural norms and anxieties. Burdens of Proof: Faith, Doubt, and Identity in Autobiography examines a broad range of impostures in the United States, Canada, and Europe, and asks about each one: Why this particular imposture? Why here and now? Susanna Egan's historical survey of texts from early Christendom to the nineteenth century provides an understanding of the author in relation to the text and shows how plagiarism and other false claims have not always been regarded as the frauds we consider them today. She then explores the role of the media in the creation of much contemporary imposture, examining in particular the cases of Jumana Hanna, Norma Khouri, and James Frey. The book also addresses ethnic imposture, deliberate fictions, plagiarism, and ghostwriting, all of which raise moral, legal, historical, and cultural issues. Egan concludes the volume with an examination of how historiography and law failed to support the identities of European Jews during World War II, creating sufficient instability in Jewish identity and doubt about Jewish wartime experience that the impostor could step in. This textual erasure of the Jews of Europe and the refashioning of their experiences in fraudulent texts are examples of imposture as an outcrop of extreme identity crisis. The first to examine these issues in North America and Europe, Burdens of Proof will be of interest to scholars of life writing and cultural studies.
On a May morning in 1939, eighteen-year-old Velma Demerson and her lover were having breakfast when two police officers arrived to take her away. Her crime was loving a Chinese man, a "crime" that was compounded by her pregnancy and subsequent mixed-race child. Sentenced to a home for wayward girls, Demerson was then transferred (along with forty-six other girls) to Torontos Mercer Reformatory for Females. The girls were locked in their cells for twelve hours a day and required to work in the on-site laundry and factory. They also endured suspect medical examinations. When Demerson was finally released after ten months' incarceration weeks of solitary confinement, abusive medical treatments, and the state's apprehension of her child, her marriage to her lover resulted in the loss of her citizenship status. This is the story of how Demerson, and so many other girls, were treated as criminals or mentally defective individuals, even though their worst crime might have been only their choice of lover. Incorrigible is a survivor's narrative. In a period that saw the rise of psychiatry, legislation against interracial marriage, and a populist movement that believed in eradicating disease and sin by improving the purity of Anglo-Saxon stock, Velma Demerson, like many young women, found herself confronted by powerful social forces. This is a history of some of those who fell through the cracks of the criminal code, told in a powerful first-person voice.
At the beginning of the Nazi period, 25,000 Jewish people lived in Tarnow, Poland. By the end of the Second World War, nine remained. Like Anne Frank, Israel Unger and his family hid for two years in an attic crawl space above the Dagnan flour mill in Tarnow. Their stove was the chimney that went up through the attic; their windows were cracks in the wall. Survival depended on the food the adults were able to forage outside at night. Against all odds, they emerged alive. Now, decades later, here is Unger's "unwritten diary."
At the end of the war, following a time as people sans pays, the Unger family immigrated to Canada. After discovering a love of chemistry, Israel Unger had a stellar academic career, married, and raised a family in Fredericton, New Brunswick. The Unwritten Diary of Israel Unger is as much a Holocaust story as it is a story of a young immigrant making every possible use of the opportunities Canada had to offer.
This revised edition includes a reproduction of Dagnan's List, a list of Jewish slave labourer similar Schindler's List, made famous in the Steven Spielberg movie. The name of Israel Unger's father appears on the list, in which Dagnan declares that Unger is an "essential worker"-a ruse that may have saved the father's life. This recently discovered document proves that Israel Unger's memory of this key part of the story was accurate. A new postscript details the importance of this startling document.
Annette Libeskind Berkovits thought her attempt to have her father record his life's story failed. But in 2004, three years after her father's death, she was going through his things and found a box of tapes-several years' worth-with his spectacular life, triumphs, and tragedies told one last time in his baritone voice.
Nachman Libeskind's remarkable story is an odyssey through crucial events of the twentieth century. With an unshakable will and a few drops of luck, he survives a pre-war Polish prison; witnesses the 1939 Nazi invasion of Lodz and narrowly escapes; is imprisoned in a brutal Soviet gulag where he helps his fellow inmates survive, and upon regaining his freedom treks to the foothills of the Himalayas, where he finds and nearly loses the love of his life. Later, the crushing communist regime and a lingering postwar anti-Semitism in Poland drive Nachman and his young family to Israel, where he faces a new form of discrimination. Then, defiantly, Nachman turns a pocketful of change into a new life in New York City, where a heartbreaking promise leads to his unlikely success as a modernist painter that inspires others to pursue their dreams.
With just a box of tapes, Annette Libeskind Berkovits tells more than her father's story: she builds an uncommon family saga and reimagines a turbulent past. In the process she uncovers a stubborn optimism that flourished in the unlikeliest of places.
Canadian composer John Beckwith recounts his early days in Victoria, his studies in Toronto with Alberto Guerrero, his first compositions, and his later studies in Paris with the renowned Nadia Boulanger, of whom he offers a comprehensive personal view. In the memoir's central chapters Beckwith describes his activities as a writer, university teacher, scholar, and administrator. Then, turning to his creative output, he considers his compositions for instrumental music, his four operas, choral music, and music for voice. A final chapter touches on his personal and family life and his travel adventures. For over sixty years John Beckwith has participated in national musical initiatives in music education, promotion, and publishing. He has worked closely with performing groups such as the Orford Quartet and the Canadian Brass and conductors such as Elmer Iseler and Georg Tintner. A former reviewer for the Toronto Star and a CBC script writer and programmer in the 1950s and '60s, he later produced many articles and books on musical topics. Acting under Robert Gill and Dora Mavor Moore in student days and married for twenty years to actor/director Pamela Terry, he witnessed first-hand the growth of Toronto theatre. He has collaborated with the writers Jay Macpherson, Margaret Atwood, Dennis Lee, and bpNichol, and teamed repeatedly with James Reaney, a close friend. His life story is a slice of Canadian cultural history.
Lexi, a young Mennonite woman from Saskatchewan, comes to work as housekeeper and nanny for a doctor's family in Waterloo, Ontario, during the Depression. Dr. Gerald Oliver is a handsome philanderer who lives with his neurotic and alcoholic wife, Cammy, and their two children. Lexi soon adapts to modern conveniences, happily wears Cammy's expensive cast off clothes, and is transformed from an innocent into a chic urban beauty. When Lexi is called home to Saskatchewan to care for her dying mother, she returns a changed person. At home, Lexi finds a journal written by her older brother during the family's journey from Russia to Canada. In it she reads of a tragedy kept secret for years, one hat reconciles her early memories of her mother as joyful and loving with the burdened woman she became in Canada. Lexi returns to Waterloo, where a crisis of her own, coupled with the knowledge of this secret, serves as the catalyst for her realization that, unlike her mother, she must create her own destiny. Watermelon Syrup is a classic bildungsroman: the tale of a naive young woman at the crossroads of a traditional, restrictive world and a modern one with its freedom, risks, and responsibilities.
Magie Dominic's first memoir, The Queen of Peace Room, was shortlisted for the Canadian Women's Studies Award, ForeWord magazine's Book of the Year Award, and the Judy Grahn Award. Told over an eight-day period, the book captured a lifetime of turbulent memories, documenting with skill Dominic's experiences of violence, incest, and rape. But her story wasn't finished. Street Angel opens to the voice of an eleven-year-old Dominic. She's growing up in Newfoundland. Her mother suffers from terrifying nighttime hallucinations. Her father's business is about to collapse. She layers the world she hears on radio and television onto her family, speaking in paratactic prose with a point-blank delivery. She finds relief only in the glamour of Hollywood films and the majesty of Newfoundland's wilderness. Revealing her life through flashbacks, humour, and her signature self-confidence, Dominic takes readers from 1950s Newfoundland to 1960s Pittsburgh, 1970s New York, and the end of the millennium in Toronto. Capturing the long days of childhood, this book questions how important those days are in shaping who we become as we age and time seems to speed up. With quick brush-stroke chapters Dominic chronicles sixty years of a complex, secretive family in this story about violence, adolescence, families, and forgiveness.
In a time when religious conservatives have placed their faith and values at the forefront of the so-called "culture wars," this book is extremely relevant. The stories in Leaving Fundamentalism provide a personal and intimate look behind sermons, religious services, and church life, and promote an understanding of those who have been deeply involved in the conservative Christian church. These autobiographies come from within the congregations and homes of religious fundamentalists, where their highly idealized faith, in all its complexities and problems, meets the reality of everyday life. Told from the perspective of distance gained by leaving fundamentalism, each story gives the reader a snapshot of what it is like to go through the experiences, thoughts, feelings, passions, and pains that, for many of the writers, are still raw. Explaining how their lives might continue after fundamentalism, these writers offer a spiritual lifeline for others who may be questioning their faith. Foreword by Thomas Moore
January 21, 1995: Dorothy Joudrie is arrested for attempting to murder her estranged husband. Soon after, Audrey Andrews begins to write her book. Audrey and Dorothy had known each other as children, but the identification of Andrews with Joudrie goes beyond merely the accident of a childhood acquaintance. It has to do with being subjected to the same societal constraints placed on girls and women during the years immediately following World War II, the years in which they had prepared for their adult lives. Expectations, placidly accepted then, are now seen as unrealistic and unreasonable. Did these expectations have some part in causing the tragedy in Dorothy Joudrie's life? When Andrews attempted to understand why Dorothy Joudrie had tried to kill her husband, and to write Joudrie's story, she began to examine her own life, her own expectations - those she had of herself and those others had of her. She also realized that telling the story of anyone is an intricate and often ephemeral pursuit. Any story she wrote could only be her version of Joudrie's experience. Nevertheless, it was important to be as honest as she could about her interpretation of that life. She determined to show carefully and accurately the damage that had been done to one woman - damage that is still being done to many others - through prejudice, attitudes, traditions and the institutions that are still the foundation of our society, and of our lives, everyday. The result is a fascinating account of events leading up to the trial, the trial itself and the effect of Joudrie's trial on the life of Audrey Andrews.
"I am a girl, 13 years old, and a proper broncho buster. I can cook and do housework, but I just love to ride." In letters written to the children's pages of newspapers, we hear the clear and authentic voices of real children who lived in rural Canada and Newfoundland between 1900 and 1920. Children tell us about their families, their schools, jobs and communities and the suffering caused by the terrible costs of World War I. We read of shared common experiences of isolation, hard work, few amenities, limited educational opportunities, restricted social life and heavy responsibilities, but also of satisfaction over skills mastered and work performed. Though often hard, children's lives reflected a hopeful and expanding future, and their letters recount their skills and determination as well as family lore and community histories. Children both make and participate in history, but until recently their role has been largely ignored. In "I Want to Join Your Club," Lewis provides direct evidence that children's lives, like adults', have both continuity and change and form part of the warp and woof of the social fabric.
Motherlode: A Mosaic of Dutch Wartime Experience is Carolyne Van Der Meer's creative reinterpretation through short stories, poems, and essays of the experiences of her mother and other individuals who either spent their childhoods in Nazi-occupied Holland or were deeply affected by wartime in Holland. The book documents the author's personal journey as she uncovers her mother's past through their correspondence and discussion and through research in the Netherlands. Motherlode also considers mother-daughter relationships and the effect of wartime on motherhood.Motherlode is not about recording precise historical data; rather, it attempts to recover and interpret the complex emotions of the individuals growing up in wartime. The book is based on interviews with the author's mother and other Dutch Canadians, interviews with and letters from Canadian Jewish war veterans, and information provided by individuals with direct or indirect experience of the Dutch Resistance. The creative pieces explore onderduik (going into/being in hiding), life in an occupied country, the work of the Dutch Resistance, liberation, collective and individual cultural memory, and the way in which wartime childhoods shaped adulthood for these individuals.
Persecuted as a Jew, both under the Nazis and in post-war East Germany, Johanna Krause (1907-2001) courageously fought her way through life with searing humour and indomitable strength of character. Johanna Krause Twice Persecuted is her story. Born in Dresden into bitter poverty, Krause received little education and worked mostly in shops and factories. In 1933, when she came to the defence of a Jewish man being beaten by the brownshirts, Krause was jailed for "insulting the Fürer" After a secret wedding in 1935, she was arrested again with her husband, Max Krause, for breaking the law that forbade marriage between a Jew and an "Aryan." In the years following, Johanna endured many atrocities-a forced abortion while eight months pregnant and subsequent sterilization, her incarceration in numerous prisons and concentration camps, including RavensbrÃ¼ck, the notorious women's camp near Berlin, and a death march. After the war, the Krauses took part enthusiastically in building the new socialist republic of East Germany-until 1958, when Johanna recognized a party official as a man who had tried to rape and kill her during the war. Thinking the communist party would punish the official, Joanna found out whose side the party was on and was subjected to anti-Semitic attacks. Both she and her husband were jailed and their business and belongings confiscated. After her release she lived as a persona non grata in East Germany, having been evicted from the communist party. It was only in the 1990s, after the reunification of Germany, that Johanna saw some justice. Originally published as Zweimal Verfolgt, the book is the result of collaboration between Johanna Krause, Carolyn Gammon, and Christiane Hemker. Translated by Carolyn Gammon, Johanna Krause Twice Persecuted will be of interest to scholars of auto/biography, World War II history, and the Holocaust.
When poet and essayist Kenneth Sherman was diagnosed with cancer, he began keeping a notebook of observations that blossomed into this powerful memoir. With incisive and evocative language, Sherman presents a clear-eyed view of what the cancer patient feels and thinks. His narrative voice is personal but not confessional, practical but not cold, thoughtful and searching but not self-pitying or self-absorbed.
The author's wait time for surgery on a malignant tumour was exceptionally long and riddled with bureaucratic bumbling; thus he asks our health-care providers and administrators if our system cannot be made efficient and more humane. While he is honest about what is good and bad in our system, he is not stridently political or given to directing blame. His narrative is interwoven with engaging ruminations on the meaning of illness in society, and is peppered with references to other writers' thoughts on the subject. A widely published poet, Sherman helps the reader understand the deep connection between disease and creativity-the ways in which we write out of our suffering. Wait Time will be of special interest to anyone facing a serious illness as well as to health-care providers, social workers, and psychologists working in the field. Its thoughtful observations on health, life priorities, time, and mortality will make it of interest to all readers.
What is memory, and where is it stored in the body? Can a room be symbolic of a lifetime? Memories are like layers of your skin or layers of paint on a canvas. In The Queen of Peace Room, Magie Dominic peels away these layers as she explores her life, that of a Newfoundlander turned New Yorker, an artist and a writer - and frees herself from the memories of her violent past. On an eight-day retreat with Catholic nuns in a remote location safe from the outside world, she exposes, and captures, fifty years of violent memories and weaves them into a tapestry of unforgettable images. The room she inhabits while there is called The Queen of Peace Room; it becomes, for her, a room of sanctuary. She examines Newfoundland in the 1940s and 1950s and New York in the 1960s; her confrontations with violence, incest, and rape; the devastating loss of friends to AIDS; and the relationship between life and art. These memories she finds stored alongside memories of nature's images of trees pulling themselves up from their roots and fleeing the forest; storms and ley lines, and skies bursting with star-like eyes. In The Queen of Peace Room, from a very personal perspective, Magie Dominic explores violence against women in the second half of the twentieth century, and in doing so unearths the memory of a generation. In eight days, she captures half a century.
After a fifteen-year career as a sled dog racer, musher Dave Olesen turned his focus away from competition and set out to fulfill a lifelong dream. Over the course of four successive winters he steered his dogs and sled on long trips away from his remote Northwest Territories homestead, setting out in turn to the four cardinal compass points-south, east, north, and west-and home again to Hoarfrost River. His narrative ranges from the personal and poignant musings of a dogsled driver to loftier planes of introspection and contemplation. Olesen describes his journeys day by day, but this book is not merely an account of his travels. Neither is it yet another offering in the genre of "wide-eyed southerner meets the Arctic," because Olesen is a firmly rooted northerner, having lived and travelled in the boreal outback for over thirty years. Olesen's life story colours his writing: educated immigrant, husband and father, professional dog musher, working bush pilot, and denizen of log cabins far off the grid. He and his dogs feel at home in country lying miles back of beyond. This book demolishes many of the clichés that imbue writings about bush life, the Far North, and dogsledding. It is a unique blend of armchair adventure, personal memoir, and thoughtful, down-to-earth reflection.
The Wartime Letters of Leslie and Cecil Frost, 1915-1919 brings to light the correspondence between two officer brothers and their family at home from 1915 to 1919. Despite wartime censorship, Leslie and Cecil wrote frank and forthright letters that show how the young men viewed the war, as well as what they observed both during training and from the trenches in some of the war's bloodiest battles. The letters also deal with the war's political context, including conscription and the Union government, as well as social issues such as the emerging role of women, the role of the growing middle class, nativism, and the use of liquor overseas.
R.B. Fleming, the collection's editor, contends that Leslie Frost's military experiences and hospitalization affected his policies as premier of Ontario (1949-1961), especially those related to medicare and liquor control laws. Frost's government was the first to pass laws providing penalties for racial, ethnic, and gender discrimination on private property, creating a movement that led to the Ontario Human Rights Code.
The Wartime Letters of Leslie and Cecil Frost, 1915-1919 makes a significant contribution to military history and social history. Fleming places the letters in context and shows the value of their commentary. This book will be of interest to the general reader as well as scholars of military history and social history.
Over the last forty years, Canadian adventurer, writer, and artist Allen Smutylo has experienced some of the wildest and most captivating waters imaginable in all corners of the globe. The stories in The Memory of Water-all of them accompanied by the author's own stunning artwork-describe his adventures in the Arctic, South Pacific, Great Lakes region, and India. In the Arctic he is attacked by a polar bear, stalked by a rogue walrus, and nearly drowns in ferocious waters. But his Arctic stories also celebrate human creativity as they recount the life of the pre-Inuit people, who, hunting in a changing environment, endured many hardships and developed new technologies, such as the sea kayak, to cope. Other stories include an account of a sojourn in a small Georgian Bay fishing village as a young artist, an adventure on an urban river in southwestern Ontario, and a portrayal of the complex underwater world of the South Pacific. Travelling the River Ganges in India, the author finds that a massive misuse of water is complicated by a billion people's faith-based adoration of the same water. The Memory of Water probes a crucial and contemporary issue-that of our relationship to water and the wildlife and human life that depends upon it. This book will appeal to anyone interested in the natural world, in artistic depictions of it, or in a good story well told.
I Have a Story to Tell You is about Eastern European Jewish immigrants living in Montreal, Toronto, and Winnipeg in the early twentieth century. The stories encompass their travels and travails on leaving home and their struggles in the sweatshops and factories of the garment industry in Canada. Basing her work on extensive interviews, Seemah Berson recreates these immigrants' stories about their lives in the Old Country and the hardship of finding work in Canada, and she tells how many of these newcomers ended up in the needle trades. Revealing a fervent sense of socialist ideology acquired in the crucible of the Russian Revolution, the stories tell of the influence of Jewish culture and traditions, of personal-and organized-fights against exploitation, and of struggles to establish unions for better working conditions. This book is a wonderful resource for teachers of Canadian, Jewish, and social history, as well as auto/biography and cultural studies. The simplicity of the language, transcribed from oral reports, makes this work accessible to anyone who enjoys a good story.
Working Memory: Women and Work in World War II speaks to the work women did during the war: the labour of survival, resistance, and collaboration, and the labour of recording, representing, and memorializing these wartime experiences. The contributors follow their subjects' tracks and deepen our understanding of the experiences from the imprints left behind. These efforts are a part of the making of history, and when the process is as personal as many of our contributors' research has been, it is also the working of memory. The implication here is that memory is intimate, and that the layering of narrative fragments that recovery involves brings us in touching distance to ourselves.
These are not the stories of the brave little woman at home; they are stories of the woman who calculated the main chance and took up with the Nazi soldier, or who eagerly dropped the apron at the door and picked up a paintbrush, or who brazenly bargained for her life and her mother's with the most feared of tyrants. These are stories of courage and sometimes of compromise- not the courage of bravado and hype and big guns, but rather the courage of hard choices and sacrifices that make sense of the life given, even when that life seems only madness. Working Memory brings scholarly attention to the roles of women in World War II that have been hidden, masked, undervalued, or forgotten.