Troubled Trouble

“Never trouble trouble,til trouble troubles you, cause you’ll only double trouble, and trouble others too.”

“Apples, berries, pumpkin pie, You won’t ever see me cry.”

Did you ever have one of those autograph collection books when you were a kid? A kind of journal where you could collect little mentions from people in your life? I had one when I was about 9. I took it to school a few times, asked teachers to write in it. Got family member’s signatures and scribbles. A little hard cover book that fit in my small hands.

I no longer have the book. I can only remember two of the things written within. They were both entries from women in my life at that time. Both were women to have an impact on me, probably in part why I remember their entries. Also, I think those entries are simple, and clever at the same time. Interesting lessons to give a small girl. Leave trouble well enough alone, and don’t cry, just eat your pie.

These two women were not necessarily positive influences in my life. Or rather, they sit with mixed feelings in my memory. The latter was a close family friend. She would come to stay once or twice a year, sometimes with her troubled neice in tow. We adored her. She was as much an aunt as we were likely to have. But some things that happened in later years leave me with a foul taste in my mouth when I think about her. And so that quote is somewhat fitting. She could be as sweet as pie, but in the end, when we no longer trusted her, did she cry over that loss?

As for the other, the warning about staying out of trouble… Well, that woman was a wretched school teacher who for a time I harboured dreams to taking on a talk show. I know I can be a sensitive sort, but that woman, on purpose or not, had a really negative impact on my confidence. I can clearly remember the last day of school in her class. This was a grade 3/4 split class, I was in grade 3. She had us all sit in a circle. She went around the class giving out little rewards, and signs of affection. She came to me. She certified me as the ‘shyest in class’. And I remember to this day how she hesitated when she leaned in to kiss me. And didn’t make contact. Her lips hardly brushed my cheek, where as other kids in class were practically rolling on the floor tangled in her arms. This is something I remember from 30 years ago. But I can also tell you this, I have never been interested in tangling with trouble. So perhaps I should thank her for that message.

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