Posts Tagged ‘Singer’

Warding off roaming ghosts and 50 years of wedded bliss.

November 1, 2015

My paternal grandparents wedding photo at Krasnapolsky Hotel, Amsterdam.

It is not for nothing that Halloween almost coincides with the day we decided to give our fondness for each other a legal format. We hopped into the registrar’s office in Finland and got married on 30th Oct 1965. That was fifty years ago! Notice my hesitancy to avoid the word ‘love’ and call it ‘fondness’ instead. ‘Love’ is so overused in English, it never quite seems to sum it up as when that same word is conjured up in other languages. A Europhobe might agree.  I mean ‘aimer’ or ‘lieben’  ring differently, does it not?. They say ‘Oh, I really love hot chips with vinegar.’ I can’t imagine translating that  literally in many other languages. Love in Dutch is ‘liefde or ‘lief hebben’ and that noun or verb could never be used in the context of hot chips with vinegar. But there you are;  different strokes for different folks.

We are both not sentimental. Birthdays, Sundays, wedding days and even Christmas days come and go without too much fanfare. We prefer to make each day  good or at least bearable. Not that we dance around the table or eat lots of cake but we do enjoy each other’s company more than anything. Our wedding 50th year almost completely passed us when a good friend phoned us up on the evening of 30th of October, asking us if we knew  what day it was. I racked my brains off. Was it a special rugby day or something about a horse race? There has been a lot of attention on both events the last few days. Our dear friend reminded me it was our fiftieth wedding day. It was a surprise; Holey Moley!

When I told Helvi it was our fiftieth wedding, she shouted into the phone, ‘oh what a ‘journey’ this has been’. It has been a bit of an inside joke amongst our friends, that popular parlance on psychiatry’s couches often refers to the difficulties of a life as being on a ‘journey’.  The solution to unhappiness is to transfer our fixation by thinking of all that as being on a journey. A bit like a Thomas Cook trip on the Nile or the sighting of a bear in Alaska.

Gold is of course the traditional gift that couples give to each other on their 50th, but it so happens that even in the area of precious metal, we are in complete unison. We don’t like the  yellow metal. We prefer silver. I mean my dearest H does.  Both metals are resistant to corrosion. I don’t know whether that is significantly related to longevity in relationships.

Try and look up 50th wedding anniversaries and all you get are lists and lists of what to shop for, how unromantic. The whole idea of celebrating anything has been hijacked by commerce and shopping. Christmas, Halloween, normal birthdays, weddings, it is all about shopping. A couple of days ago we were in a large shopping mall. Helvi was looking for some gift. A poor and somewhat oversized shop assistant girl at Big W was dressed in a long black gown with a black cape. She was carrying a large black painted carton axe.  Her cheeks had a white paste and there was pretend blood dribbling down her chin. She looked lugubrious.  I did not know what she was supposed to do but the poor girl just kept standing there. Every few minutes she looked at her watch. It would have been so silly, so degrading. Helvi explained this was probably something to do with the Halloween night that was coming. The girl was there to excite customers in spending money on all sorts of paraphernalia to do with Halloween.

Our 50th went and is gone now. We are getting old and understand pain so much better than the young. We have been each others best friends through so much. What more could one want?

We went to see a movie ‘The Dressmaker’ which had Kate Winslet, Judy Davis and Hugo Weaver in it. We all know that Judy Davis is the best actor ever produced in Australia. The film was alright but produced a lot of laughter from mainly slapstick humour. I worried why I wasn’t laughing as much as the rest of the patrons. The man siting next to me was on an almost permanent laughter, guffawing even during the more serious parts. I started to again worry about my reluctance to join in. Surely, someone who was hit by a Singer  sewing machine was worthwhile laughing about? No, it wasn’t. I was greatly relieved that my lovely H did not join in laughter either. And, let me add, that she is a great laugher. Her laughter is infectious. It is a hearty throaty laugh, infectious to others and it comes effortless. It is one reason amongst many others, we are celebrating our 50th fondness for each other.

Feel free to congratulate us.

The Banana skin on the Doorstep of our Lives

July 1, 2013


You either do what you want to do or spend your life just waiting for week-ends to come around. I think that pearl of wisdom might have come from a successful Austrian or Moldavian philosopher inside a mountain cave deep in thought and wholly absorbed in ‘Weltanschauung’ contemplation of the importance of doing nothing much except occasionally sweep out his cave.

It is all in the broom, some say. The broom that sweeps our lives of all the debris that never found any use in our lives. Lately I noticed the debris building up again. Has anyone noticed that shops now try and sell even more with big discounts on multiple items? You are urged to buy six loaves of bread and get 50 cents off for doing so. The latest that caught my eye is to buy scissors in packets of six. Six scissors?

What is there to cut still? Do peoples cut the cloth for a twin set or blouse, make boys trousers? My mum was a fervent cutter and sewer of the cloth with one of those pedal sewing machines. It was a ‘Singer’. Her feet would go up and down so fast; today it would be seen as an early form of rap-dancing beating the BigBang boys or even a Moon Walk.

My mum had one pair of scissors her whole life. Sometimes a man on a bike would come along. The bike would be put on its stand and knifes and scissors would be sharpened by him peddling the bike that drove a round sharpening stone on top of the handle bars.
This sharpening device has never been improved since. In any case nothing gets sharpened anymore. People chuck it all out and buy multiple sets of knives and scissors, six at the time. The happy shopper comes home with six loaves of bread and six pairs of scissors. It fills their lives, gives substance to an existence so thread bare that my mum’s Singer could well be in for a revival.

Those ideas of the past don’t easily let go. How come that people were more connected with sharpening knifes or scissors? Even enameled pots and pans were repaired with patches put into bottoms when rust had worked a pin-hole into them. Of course, it is nice we can afford to buy stainless steel that doesn’t’ rust but do we need to be so much on the rampage to consume? Why not take pride in a saucepan that has cooked meals for decades on end and try and keep it going as long as possible.

We used to have kind, friendly and benevolent relationships with all sorts of utensils. My mum’s green enameled milk bucket at the bottom of the stairs used to get filled by the milkman when ordered by my mum from above shouting ‘three liters to-day, please”. That bucket experienced entire generations of kids growing up. I can’t remember if this bucket followed us to Australia but I would like to think it did.

Our housed are now so full of everything. Cupboards piling over, scissors behind settees, drawers full of knives with a giant butcher block blocking access to the kitchen. Ikea boxes in the garbage bin. An Allen key looking forlorn, just cast away with all the other debris. We are groaning with debris.

We need a new broom.