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Jacelyn Cane's mom and dad liked their martinis dry: straight gin on the rocks with a dab of vermouth and a hint of water - and they liked them often. They also liked to party; they danced, socialized, and drank - they were good at all three. Sometimes this behaviour led to humorous situations - antics in the pool, at the club, the cottage or in the car, for example. Other times, however, the experiences were not so funny - family fights and times of neglect, trauma, and abuse. By weaving together a series of episodes that take the reader to light and dark places, author Jacelyn Cane tells a poignant cautionary tale for anyone affected by alcoholism and/or family struggles. The author is using a pseudonym and most of the names in the book have been changed to protect people's identities. "Mom and Dad's Martinis: A Memoir" is a great read for anyone who has experienced a childhood mixed with joy as well as sorrow. It is a story of love, acceptance, forgiveness, and hope.
read an excerpt...
As our kids grew up, I started drinking a few glasses of
wine with dinner. By the time I was forty, I’d added a couple of Bloody Caesars
“Dinner’s ready, Jackie,” said Ivan one night. “Call the
“Let me just finish my Caesar,” I said.
I put my drink on the table and poured myself some wine. “How was school today, girls?”
“It was great,” said Eliana. “We had drama. I loved it.”
“Ms. Stitt did drama? That’s fantastic,” said Ivan.
We talked some more, and I poured myself another glass of wine. “How about you Leah, how was kindergarten?”
“I painted a big flower with a sun,” she said. “I’m going to bring it home when it’s dry.”
We continued talking, and I drank a few more glasses of wine. I leaned forward on the table.
“Time for baths. Eliana, I’ll be up after I finish the dishes. Help me clear, Eli.”
“No, no, I can do the dishes.” Clumsily, I dropped some plates in the sink.
“Stop, Jackie.” Ivan put his hand on top of mine. “You’re going to break things. Go to bed.”
The girls were watching me as I stumbled upstairs.
“I think you need to see someone about your drinking,” Ivan said, as we lay in bed that night. “You’re drunk every night at dinner, and it’s not good for the kids. It’s not good for anyone: certainly not you.”
I ignored his suggestion for a while, but he insisted. I wasn’t feeling good about myself or my drinking. Eventually I took him up on it and found a wonderful therapist named Penny Watson. She was formerly a medical doctor, but left her practice to specialize in individual, couple, and family therapy.
I went to my first appointment at her grand home in the Beaches neighbourhood in Toronto. My stomach was filled with butterflies as I arrived. Just seeing the front door of her house made me feel better. It was cornflower blue. I let myself in as Penny had instructed. The walls inside were painted the same colour, and it was very soothing. She had photographs of her children on the walls. There was a large book with a thought for the day on the front hall table. I sat down on a chair in the hallway and waited. Soon, a door opened and out came another client followed by Penny. She had light-blonde hair and was dressed in black leggings and a long black top. She had beautiful silver bangles on her wrists with matching earrings.
“You must be Jacelyn. Come on in.” She pointed to a large blue comfy chair and I sat down. When she went into the kitchen to get us some coffee, I sized up the room. Penny’s chair matched mine. There was a grand piano in the corner, a magnificent Persian rug on the floor, and interesting art on the wall. A framed doll’s dress really piqued my curiosity.
She returned with the coffee and sat across from me. “Have you ever been in therapy before, Jacelyn?”
“Yes, once when I was twenty-four, I was hospitalized for being suicidal and having anorexia. I did therapy while I was there. It changed my life.”
about Jacelyn Cane...
Jacelyn Cane was born and raised in Toronto. She lives with her husband, and near her three
children and step-daughter. She is a retired elementary school teacher who also worked in social justice education with the United Church of Canada. She has worked in theatre and as a reporter. She was educated in Toronto, earning a B.A. in Political Science and an M.A. in Canadian History from York University. Later, she earned a B. Ed. at the University of Toronto. She is passionately involved in numerous social justice issues such as climate crisis concerns and Indigenous rights. She loves meditating, writing, reading, music, laughing, and being around nature. She is motivated by a deep sense of spirituality. Her number one love, however, is being with family and friends.
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