Contributed by Yannick
Our High School Student Volunteer from Collège Français in Toronto
A Conversation with Dora
Listening to real-life stories are always a great way to grab the perspectives of others to preserve your own. I had the chance to experience that during a wonderful conversation with Dora.
The call wasn’t that long, but I learned a lot about her in such a short period of time.
Dora is 67 years old, a grandmother and has a grandson.
She was adopted back in 1953 (she was 7 days old) due to her mother(a teacher) not being able to look after her. Part of her journey during the pandemic was finding out things about her past that she wasn’t necessarily aware of (how her parents met during the Second World War).
Her father was a Pilot who went to medical school and wanted to become a doctor, but the war interfered with that and he would end up becoming a funeral director instead. Both world wars had enormous effect on economic stances and forced people to find different employments to get by. Dora also came across a Diary ( this diary was written during the Second World War) written by her mother. This diary was so riveting because of the things going on in the world at the time the diary was written. Her experiences forced her to lie about her age to be accepted into the Canadian Air Force. Dora’s father would eventually become a Pilot and join the Canadian Air Force as well. Despite them being separated from each other at the Airforce, there were hundreds of letters between Dora’s parents that they sent each other while they were at the Airforce.
While growing up, Dora’s mother always wanted Dora and others to pride themselves on not wasting anything, whether that be literally or figuratively. Dora sees her parents so differently now knowing all of these things but still sees herself in them quite a lot (Nurture compared to Nature). She sees a lot of the same things in her grandson in terms of influence. Overall, the pandemic helped her connect with the origins of her family and herself. Certain things, like the diary, were a real peek into her mother’s sense of humour and personality to which she could see the world through her mother’s eyes because she could hear her voice and relate to the stories she read.
Listening to Dora talk about her parents made me curious to know about my own origins and more about who I really am.
There’s nothing more reassuring than knowing who you truly are and how your existence came about. Those are conversations we hope to have more of with Dora and many others who seek such reassurance.