Wednesday found me home in Vancouver. Yippee and it actually was not raining. I threw on my 10 pound fur jacket purchased at the car boot sale in London, England and was off to meet with Sir Richard of Hot. It was an outdoor day ending up in coffee as his ten o’clock cancelled. We had a lot to catch up on. We have decided on a new career path for him – he will be a personal trainer AND a therapist, all rolled up in one with the client working on their mind and body at the same time. The advantage to Sir Richard is that he will be able to charge hundreds of dollars an hour but as I was the guinea pig I will continue to pay the standard rate. So there! So there! So there!
So I did admit to feeling very cocky because I did follow the advice of my beloved uncle and i worked – an adversary was brought down – down to the ground. It did take about six months but vindication was achieved. Uncle Dave famously said: “Alexis, stop fighting! Go the the sidelines and watch, they will do themselves in.” It was pretty difficult to do as patience is not one of my virtues but it is done. I learned a great deal from the process and I am proud of myself.
After my session with Sir Richard I was off to Vancouver Art Gallery for my first Tour Liaison volunteer experience. “How Now Brown Cow” (one of my favorite employees) was most excited.
He: I am so happy, now you are one of the family!
Me: Thank you for making me feel welcome. What am I? A cousin, an aunt, and in-law?
He: We will decide that later.
Another employee S was a bit more sardonic. I pointed to the Chaperone sign around my neck and said:
Me: Look at me! I am a Chaperone.
He: There is something seriously wrong with the vetting process in this place.
Me: That figures. I mean you got a job here.
So a class of Grade Two children had a fantastic experience and it was really rather amazing to watch their creativity. It was a complicated process consisting of tracing, mylar, paint and all. But they had treasures to take home. One boy asked if he had to take it home because he did not like his work of art. The docent was so wise, telling him that she was an artist, occasionally did not like something she had created but when she looked at it later she saw beauty in it. I later congratulated her on sharing this insight with the little boy. It was rather profound. But at the end of it all I was exhausted, my feet hurt, my back hurt. So I went up to the Cafe, ordered soup and a glass of wine. A wonderful employee, T.G. (for Toronto Girl) brought a second to the table because I did not have the energy to stumble up and get it myself. I even treated myself to dessert – coconut cream pie. Yum, and then walked home. I texted funny S.
Me: Having a glass of wine in the cafeteria attempting to recover.
He: wine? not strong enough
Me: So true! Home sipping rye!
He: That’s what I like to hear! Don’t stop until your drooling
Me: I shan’t you silly!
As you can see it was an excellent first day back home but now I shall switch on you and become very serious. I was very pleased to see an Atlantis article revealing that the City of New York took down a statute honoring J. Marion Sims, known as the known as the “father” of modern gynecology. But he also was a ‘monster’ operating on slave women without unaesthetic. The article opined: “Just as profits from slavery fueled American industrialization, so modern gynecology was birthed by the anguish of black women treated as chattel. And just as the critical role of slavery as a cornerstone of American capitalism has been neglected until recently, Sims’s reliance on human experimentation has only become controversial in the past few decades.Slaves did not have to be recruited, persuaded, and cajoled to endure pain and indignity; they could not refuse. Contrary to the defense that Sims was merely a man of his time, Washington notes, he had contemporary critics—physicians white and black—who attacked his methods as barbaric. His 1883 obituary in The New York Timesmentions his development of a treatment for vesicovaginal fistula, but nothing of the captive women he experimented on. It might have been a simple matter for a white reporter to ignore the descendants of the enslaved in 1883; in 2018, they will be heard.Statues can make for poor history. They are made to celebrate heroes, not to acknowledge human frailties. The former Confederate states erected tributes to their fallen soldiers across the South to honor the defense of human bondage, and the continued triumph of the color caste system that succeeded it after abolition. It is appropriate that a society that no longer seeks to honor slavery or white supremacy, or deceives itself about the Southern cause, ceases to honor the men who lead the fight for it.”
But the final sentence is the most eloquent: “Removing Sims’s statue is not running from history. It is seeing history with the clarity it demands.”
It took home some of the children’s rejected art and made a collage, It is pictured. Today is a chore day – how boring.