love rocks

growing up, my oldest friend, meghan, and i belonged to dozens of clubs of our own devising. a sticker club (her teacher-mom organized a field trip to the sandy sticker factory!), a pog club, a writing club (where we sat on her front porch tapping away on typewriters), a detective club, an “m & k” club where, if i recall correctly, your name had to be “meghan” or “kendal” to join and you also must be in possession of a frog charm necklace. basically, if either one of us developed an interest in anything, we immediately formed a club of which we were the exclusive members.

for quite a while, when we were seven or eight, we had a rock club. i, somewhat predictably, was very into gemstones only, and meghan was less discriminating, but had quite the fossil collection. we both had rock tumblers and numerous scholastic and dk books, in which i scrawled lots of “extra info” in the margins learned from additional research in encyclopedias (this was before the internet). i was so excited about this particular club that i remember shaking my mother awake at exactly 6:00 one morning (the earliest i was allowed in her room) to demand she draw “bubble letters” that said “gemstone club” to fit in the clear plastic sleeve in the front of my dedicated gemstone club binder, as i was unable to produce satisfactory bubble letters at 4:00am, which was the time i got up, too excited about our new club to sleep. obviously, i was a pretty intense kid — wholly dedicated to any given thing at any one time to the exclusion of being able to focus on anything else, like eating, or sleeping, or chores. in many ways, i’m still a little like that…though i can draw my own bubble letters now, thankyouverymuch.

the rock club, abandoned long ago by meghan and myself, played a small role in pierre’s and my whole falling in love and getting married thing, i think. after all, pierre, a geologist, had finally found a girl willing to look at his rock collection and who was a veritable source of “extra info” like hematites bring good luck. i remember him being pretty impressed with my gemological knowledge on our second date? and he maybe gave me a giant pink rock (that’s “rose quartz” to you) from his personal collection on our third date. and then, later, a giant diamond. so.

when pierre and i moved in together about a year after meeting, i brought a small drawstring bag full of gemstones with me to our new apartment — my rock collection from when i was a kid. pierre brought a giant, super heavy, rubbermaid bin — and he has continued to add to his collection over the five years we’ve lived together. i felt it was high time that the rocks he’s been bringing home should emerge from the bin in the basement, maybe co-mingle with a handful of ones i’ve held onto.

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so we hung this up in our dining room today, an old typesetting tray that we bought for $15 at the st. lawrence market a few months back, and filled it with pierre’s favourite samples. i cleaned the tray up with soap and water and reinforced some of the wigglier dividers with wood glue before pierre hung it.

P1030870 copy1. the jasper gemstone was the first rock i ever found, discovered by an exploratory toe in the sand of a beach in port carling (where my cousins grew up) and it was the sole gemstone in my collection for a long time. i’ve had it since i was in kindergarten or grade one — a few years before meghan and i started our rock club.

P1030867 copy2. this is a piece of gypsum from a gymsum mine outside of wilsonville, ontario, where pierre went underground for the first time.

P10308743. this is gold lifted from the gold mine in kirkland lake that pierre’s grandfather worked in. he brought it home for his wife, pierre’s mémère, to turn into jewelry, but she forgot all about it until she didn’t, and that’s when she gave it to pierre.

P1030865 copy4. our sister-in-law, genevieve, brought pierre these samples home from a trip to crystal mountain, north west territories.

P1030859 copy5. the book of matches is from a favourite brunch spot on queen west, swan, and the plastic soldier came with a breakfast order at a place in roncesvalles. i ordered “toast soldiers” and this guy was pulling a mission in amongst the eggs.

P1030855 copy6. pierre spent the first year we were married in and out of the surinamese jungle and he brought these samples home.

P1030856 copy7. pierre visited some ruins when he went to peru, where he found this piece of pottery.

8. about a year before we got married, pierre spent 4 months at a mine called mupane in botswana, africa. that’s where this rock is from. plus, we spent 10 days in london, uk together about halfway through his trip, and the shell on the shelf (above and to the left) is from a seaside town near london.

P1030858 copy9. this is a sample from one of pierre’s trips to a mine called granny smith in australia. he’s been twice and brought me home lovely gifts…and rocks for himself.

P1030861 copy10. pierre found this sanddollar on a beach in pei, where we took our honeymoon. i’d never seen one before and was amazed when he handed it to me.

P1030863 copy11. in 2007, we spent a month together in italy. from our base in venice, we took a day trip to murano, where they make the world-famous murano glass. at some point, we wandered into a workshop where we watched men work the glass over with fire. this was a little piece they tossed us.

P1030854 copy12. pierre’s older brother, jean-paul, brought this piece of sodalite home for pierre from afghanistan.

13. the copper ore is from sutton, quebec, where pierre did field school in second year.

14. the core sample (with veins of amethyst) is from a mine called doyon in rouyn-noranda, quebec, where pierre spent three months early on in our relationship.

15. finally, this rock is from zimbabwe, where pierre collected rock samples while his friends went zip lining at some point during his stint in africa.

P1030872pierre loves having some of these special samples out instead of forgotten in the basement, though there’s more where this came from. and i’m really glad we figured out a way to display them without a curio cabinet having to enter my life. now i just need to find that rose quartz he gave me after we first met. it’s in the basement, somewhere…