The Ol’ Wringer Washer (Feb 1993)

“Keeping a journal will help you heal yourself,” extol the holistic magazines and therapists. Being a practical-minded soul, I thought it would be a waste of time, like going backwards and thought I was too busy to try. But I also know I asked for change and the best way to change is to heal the old forgotten hurts. First you must remember them and feel the emotions connected to them, and then with an adult mind, you can release the pain. So I accept my fate and once every two months, I sit down and waste my time writing this column for a whole day because I am told by my readers that they love my personal insights and Mom’s old family photographs. Each time I publish “Musing,” a little bit more of me is healed, so I encourage any of you nearing mid-life to take a little time for reflection. Focus on why “you are the way you are” and decide if it still suits you.

This month’s front cover is probably one of the first pictures my Mom took at Rosswood, BC. My family had just moved from Alpena, Michigan to homestead and with seven children, laundry always needed to be done. The water was hauled by hand from the creek and heated on the campfire, while gasoline was used to power the second-hand wringer washer. This picture of my Dad with my baby brother Don helping him brought back a flood of memories.

In 1959 rent was twenty dollars a month on the old telegrapher's cabin where we homesteaded. We cleaned and scrubbed and discovered hidden treasures and finally got our belongings moved in from the school bus. The side porch became the laundry room with the clothes line just outside. Being the only girl, I became an expert at using the wringer washer by the time I was nine years old.

One of the memories that came flooding back to me was of a rare day when I had some girlfriends visiting me from town, an hour's drive away. I was in seventh heaven as we chatted and ate lunch. After lunch, Dad told me to do the dishes. I protested and said, “It’s not my turn!” I was told to do them anyway, but I rebelled and left the kitchen, for we three girls were going for a walk !! Twenty minutes later, Dad drove past us on the tractor and when we met him standing in the road, face to face, I could see that he was angry. He had a willow branch in his hand and he switched me all the way home ... to finish the dishes. Mom was standing on the porch doing the laundry and just shrugged her shoulders. My Dad was a wonderful soul who loved children, but like all parents he had his bad days. Living in the wilderness taught me that hard work is a way of life and I became a very responsible young person. I am still learning to take a day off.

I used this same picture of the old wringer washer, on the very first edition of ISSUES, February/March 1990 and it feels appropriate to republish it. Back then, my column was about ten sentences long with no explanation of the picture. I knew who was in the photo and what they where doing and I assumed everyone else would just figure it out.

Organizing the Spring Festival of Awareness and starting ISSUES has changed my life, and I was ready for it. I had quit my job as a Lifeguard/Swim Instructor of fourteen years, for the chlorine had gotten the best of me and my health was starting to suffer. My oldest boy had just left for university and the kids didn’t really need me. I decided to apply for the government business grant rather than be on UIC, for I realized the valley needed a magazine like Shared Vision in Vancouver. I figured I was creative, intuitive and hard working enough to make a go of it, so I created my own job.

Originally I had visions of my husband of twenty years helping me in my new business. When he had owned a garbage collection business many years ago in Terrace I did much of the work, like collecting the bills, answering the phone, and doing the paperwork. I even got my Class 3 driver’s license with Air Brakes certification so that I could be the spare driver. Many people stared at this lady truck driver and one incident still sticks in my mind. As I lowered myself from the truck, belly first, hanging onto the truck supports, I noticed two men staring at me with their jaws hanging open: for I was eight months pregnant. I never thought much of it at the time. The work needed doing and we couldn’t afford to pay a third person. Besides, I was programmed that once you got married you helped each other, till death do you part.

Before I started ISSUES, my husband Rae told me he wanted to change occupations as truck driving was taking its toll on his body. I figured he would make a great salesman for ISSUES: he loved travelling and could deliver the magazines, and he could even learn to operate the computer, if change was what he wanted. As I eagerly embraced my transformation, Rae watched. He encouraged and supported me but then decided to offer me my freedom: the wholistic business was not for him. He was feeling lonely because my organizing the Spring Festival of Awareness and publishing the Issues magazine took up much of my time. We parted company two years last Christmas and now that the shock has worn off ... I feel it’s time to let you folks know. Rae is a wonderful man, a great Dad and the best friend anybody could want. It was I who had changed.

Today I have many like minded friends, who are concerned with planetary awareness, and when they ask me, “And how is your love life, Angele?” I shout with great joy. “It's marvellous!” For I have never depended on others for my happiness.

Even while raising a family and working, I had always taken a little time just for me. I never let money or time be an excuse for not growing. I usually signed up for something mental and something physical each year that would help develop the me I wanted to be.

One of my quotes that helped me keep sane and not be a martyr during that period was, “Make yourself happy and everybody will be just fine.”

After twenty years of living my truth and being a doer who takes her responsibilities seriously ... cause that's the way I was raised ... I have discovered that happiness comes from both giving and receiving. For the more I give, unconditionally, the more I get back from the universe. The love I experience in meditation and in `the doing what needs to be done' is gratefully accepted and ... passed on.

So Happy Valentine's Day to all you `Lovers of Life'. For staying centered within ourselves, we shall change the world.