Perry Boys – a Look Back

Given the COVID-19 pandemic, I’m having trouble concentrating long enough to compose an original post. So today I’ll share a post from exactly five years ago, a nostalgic look back to simpler times.

When my husband Paul was six years old, he and his family moved from Newtown – the little community in which we live now – to live in the capital city of St. John’s. Their parents relocated so that Paul’s oldest sibling David could attend the Vera Perlin school for his special needs.
On the day of the big move, Paul crawled up under the house – the actual house we live in now – in a show of protest. “Everyone should be able to live where they were born,” he argued through tears, but the die had been cast. He was pulled out and packed into the car with everyone else.

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On the very first day at their new school, Paul and his other brother Kevin, who is one year older, decided to walk home from school for lunch, despite being told to stay there and eat the lunch they’d brought. But when they saw other children going home, they wanted to go as well. Unfamiliar with their new neighbourhood, the two boys got lost, and Kevin started to cry.

Brave little Paul tried his best to console his big brother by distracting him. “Don’t cry, Kev. Look at the pigeons,” he said, pointing at a bunch of them as they waddled across the sidewalk, hoping the strange, tame city birds might cheer him up. It worked, and they ended up following a classmate to his house. Between the jigs and the reels, their dad had to leave work and go pick them up.

Let’s go back a couple of years when Paul was four and Kevin was five, to another time the younger boy displayed his wisdom. A new addition to the family of three boys had arrived, and this time, it was a girl! When their mom brought baby Julie Ann home, the boys crowded around to get a look at their new sister. Kevin’s eyes opened wide when her diaper came off to be changed. “Look, Paul,” he said, incredulous. “She ain’t got nar topper!” (penis)
“No, ya foolish,” Paul said, enlightened beyond his years. “She got whatever Mom got.”

Now before you think I’m beating up on my brother-in-law, I’d like to share one more tale. Okay, two. When Paul was about nine and enjoying his summer vacation in Newtown, Kevin saved him from drowning. Paul was diving with some other boys off of Burnt Island, but he tired in the deep water and panicked. Kevin grabbed him by the hair on top of his head and pulled him to safety.

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Years later, when Kevin was just beginning his teaching career, he and Paul were driving along in St. John’s one evening. Without warning, Kevin pulled over, stopped the car, and jumped out. He’d spied two teenage boys in a fist fight near the local hockey rink, and he wanted to stop them. Paul watched as he parted the boys, reasoned with them, and ended the scuffle.

It was a day he never forgot. Where most people would just keep going and not get involved, Kevin stepped in and tried to solve the problem. It made Paul really proud of his brother.

Paul confessed there were other boyhood fights where Kev stepped in and rescued Paul himself, fights my husband started and couldn’t finish. I would say he’s grateful for those too. And so am I. 🙂

L to R: David, Paul, Julie, and Kevin
L to R: David, Paul, Julie, and Kevin
Thirteen-year-old Paul

Originally posted on March 24, 2015 here.

Menopause…or “Perry” Menopause? An Update

Last week, while looking back on a few of my January posts from the past, I hit upon the following that I’d written exactly eight years ago. I thought the timing was perfect to provide an update as the last line suggested. I had mentioned that “The Change” can take anywhere from two to eight years. Thankfully, it didn’t last anywhere near eight years for me, and yes, Paul survived. 🙂

By the way, he still plays floor hockey on Monday nights and I never turn the heat off anymore in the dead of winter. I hope that brings a measure of comfort to those of you who are dealing with menopause or perimenopause at the moment.

January 30, 2012:
So here I am, on a frigid January evening. Outside, a bitter wind chill of minus 10 degrees Celsius (that’s 14+ degrees for you Fahrenheit folks) is blowing directly off the North Atlantic  just a few yards from our door. Husband Paul is gone playing floor hockey at the high school gym, so I’m alone, trying desperately to chill out. Not figuratively, mind you, but literally. I turned down the thermostats so there is no heat on in my house, simply because my body feels like a furnace turned up on cremate.

This is a new and fresh hell for yours truly, only making itself known within the last couple of weeks. Somehow, I had let myself believe I’d be lucky enough to escape the discomfort of “tropical moments” at this time of my life. How I used to chuckle when one of my friends or coworkers complained of a hot flash. Ha! The joke is now on me. And for the uninitiated, it doesn’t feel like a source of external heat that hits you. It’s more like internal spontaneous combustion, where you think you just might suddenly burst into flames.

pexels-photo-207353Stripped down to a tank top and appropriately, sweat pants, eating blueberries out of the freezer (still frozen), I’m trying to hold it together. I made the mistake earlier of googling other menopause symptoms, and started ticking off other lovely ailments I’ve been experiencing. Brain fog? Check. Anxiety? Check. Night sweats? Check. Mood swings? Okay, that one is just me, can’t blame that on The Change.

The website also warned that the whole process could take anywhere from two to eight years before it is done. That’s just terrific. Think I’ll go out and stick my head in a snow bank.

And now Paul is home. “It’s freezing here!” he says. He looks at my red face. “Is it alright if I turn up the heat?”

“If you must,” I bark, fanning myself with a throw cushion.

Then I realize something. In our house, PMS always stood for Paul Must Suffer. Well, the PMS might be coming to an end for me, but it won’t be ending for him any time soon. Will he survive? Will I?

Check back in two to eight years.

*Images courtesy of Pexels

Sunday Snaps: A Saturday in Lead Cove

Last weekend, we took the five-hour drive to Lead Cove, Trinity Bay, where my daughter and her family have their summer house.

I took a few photos on our walk to the beach on Old Lead Cove Road. When I lived there many moons ago, we called it Lead Cove bank.

Lots of dogberries once meant we were in store for a harsh winter, but that belief has since been debunked. Whatevs – they all seem harsh to me.

Of course, Archie came along.
His first time in Lead Cove.


Love this one.
Every year, a little closer to collapse.


An old root cellar,
still used by locals to store vegetables.

An abandoned root cellar figures largely in my new novel,
so I had to grab these shots.

Archie LOVED the freedom of his off-leash run.

This beats a dog park any day!

My kids played on this rocky beach many a time.

“Grand-Paul” describing erosion caused by the sea.
Either that, or he’s found an ostrich egg.
🙂

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This past week, Paul and I drove to Deer Lake for work,
another five-hour drive each way. So all together,
20 hours of driving since last Friday.

Still, I do like fall road trips around the island!

Scrabble by Candlelight

Last Sunday, I shared photos from our beautiful but cold sunny walk on January 1st.
The very next day, everything changed when a blizzard moved in and left our little town without power.

The lights – and heat! – went out at suppertime while our macaroni and cheese casserole was still baking. That was okay, because it was almost done and there was enough heat  in the oven to finish it up. So we ate by candlelight in the living room.

With no other heat source and before the room cooled off completely, hubs and I covered ourselves in bathrobes, throws and blankets and decided to read to each other from my Kindle. We chose Treasure Island, which I’d forgotten I had, and read alternating chapters until we got too cold to continue.

We found out online that the power wouldn’t be back until morning at the earliest because of the ongoing blizzard. So we got the idea to go to the small spare room upstairs, light as many candles as we could find, and hopefully stay warm that way until bedtime.

It worked! We set up a game of Scrabble and the candles on my writing desk, poured some wine, and played while listening to digital music. You wouldn’t believe how much heat comes from candles in a small area!  We were toasty warm until it was time to blow them out and turn in – cats and all, of course.

Scrabble by candleight

Who won the game, you may be wondering? Hubs was in the lead the entire time, but my last play of all seven remaining letters clinched a win for me!
Neither one of us can remember what the word was – probably because of the wine. 😉

A couple of nights ago we took up Treasure Island again and read some more to each other. No, the power wasn’t gone, but we thought it was fun enough to continue reading it that way.

Have you ever come up with fun ways to enjoy a winter power outage?
Do tell!

Artist in the House

Entering Newtown by Paul Perry
Entering Newtown (1983)

My husband Paul spent a lot of time working on portraits and landscapes in his younger years. His love of artistry was one of the things that first attracted me to him. That and the fact he owned a cat, of course.

These pen and ink drawings are just a few from around our house, although limited edition prints of “Entering Newtown” grace the walls of many.

Some of you may remember a Springsteen portrait mentioned in my novel Calmer Girls, which Samantha drew for her father. Paul’s drawing below is what inspired me to write it in.

Springsteen by Paul M. Perry
Springsteen in the 70’s 
Lou Reed by Paul M. Perry
Lou Reed 

Paul rarely gets time these days to draw, but I hope he picks it up again when he retires. Problem is, he says you’ll read about his retirement in his obituary!

Hieroglyphs

Part of the Ancient Egypt Exhibit at the Louvre

Sunday Snap: Heiroglyphs

I know you’re a smart guy, Paul, but you can’t read that. Stop pretending. 😉

Photo first published here: Scenes From France – Part Two: Paris

Concerned: Part Two

Welcome back for the Big Reveal.

On Sunday, I asked “What has gotten Vivian so concerned?”
Scroll down to find out!

On an especially gorgeous Saturday last month, Paul and I decided to go out for a row in the Serendipity, a lovely little punt built by our late neighbour, Ben Perry.

We came up with the ‘brilliant’ idea
to try to take Vivian along.
We did everything we could to coax her aboard,
but she was having no part of it.

In fact, she almost lost her mind that we were going,
with or without her.
She cried to break her heart as we left.

Bon voyage!
Your loss, Viv.

 

 

 

 

Rounding Perry’s Point…

…and down through the Tickle

Part of a wedding photo shoot.
You never know what you’ll see
when you’re out for a row.

Leaving the Tickle,
we set out for Bennett Island.

In case you were wondering why there are no lifejackets,
the water is very shallow here.

Vivian missed out,
but thank you for coming along!

For more Barbour Tickle photos, click here.

All She Knows For Sure

The north wind rages,
thick curtains of snow swirl outside
and darkness sets in –
yet another spring blizzard
close on the heels of another.

The sound of it
as it rattles thin panes
in old windows
and the deep isolation
weighs heavy on her spirit.

He puts on soft music
from 1977 and
pours her a glass of wine
to drown out the world
beyond this room.

Sitting beside her,
he begins the footrub
she’d asked for earlier
and they’d both forgotten about
until now.
She closes her eyes.

The music swells
in the warmth of this cocoon.

And all of a sudden
he is her young, dark-haired man again,
the one who had captured her heart
more than twenty years ago.
She smiles.

Is it the way he tends to her,
the way his eyes meet hers?
Or is it the wine, and
the song he knows she loves?

Or could it be
their history together,
a combination of all these things
that transcends
and zooms her back
to that magical fall of ’94?

She doesn’t know.
All she knows for sure
is this:
she never wants this moment to end.

The Ends of the Earth

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“I could make you happy, make your dreams come true
There’s nothing that I would not do
Go to the ends of the Earth for you
To make you feel my love.”

Bob Dylan wrote it. Billy Joel, Garth Brooks, Adele, Neil Diamond, and many others recorded it. These talented singers knew a great song when they heard it.

Make You Feel My Love has been one of my favourite love songs ever since Dylan released it on his 1997 album, Time Out of Mind. As it happened, that was the same year he came to perform two shows at St. John’s Memorial Stadium here in Newfoundland, one of which Paul and I attended.

A little side note here about that concert: My daughter Denise was in class during her last year of high school when she heard through the student grapevine that Dylan was coming to our fair province. Knowing full well how big a fan her mother’s fiancé was, she phoned Paul from school on her lunch break to be the first to blurt the good news. Needless to say, we were elated and scored our tickets right away for the show. But as excellent as the concert turned out to be, Paul remembers that phone call with a special fondness. It showed him how much his stepdaughter cared.

Nowadays I like to tease him about the song and how I identify with the lyrics in the last verse shared above. I am reminded of how I followed him to Newtown five years ago. Now tell me, what could be more proof of my love and loyalty – to make him feel my love – than to go to “the ends of the earth” that is Perry’s Point, a wild piece of land that juts out into the cold North Atlantic?

Mushy? Sentimental? I don’t care.

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*Photos taken from Perry’s Point on April 19, 2016.

A Poem by Vivian

“Man’s Best Friend”

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by Vivian K. Perry

DSC_4685My master and I are best buddiesDSC_4686time together we do love to shareDSC_4688I have proven my “dogged” affectionDSC_4689For a cat, I am told, that is rareDSC_4773So it gives me great pleasure to flaunt it,DSC_4775how I’ll follow behind my fine friend,DSC_4779 stay with him as long as I’m needed, then…012…make a bed of his shorts at day’s end.

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Nighty-Night!

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*Photo credits go to Paul Sautter Jr. – except for the last two 😉