On Being a Weasley
my very first reading of the Harry Potter books, I have related directly to the
Weasley’s. The comparisons to their life
and mine as a child are numerous. I am
one of seven children raised in relative poverty by parents that did not see
that poverty as a hindrance, but merely a circumstance. Each of us was different, but very loved and
nurtured. Until my tenth year we lived
in a progression of intercity apartments, as my father struggled to find a
career to support the burgeoning family.
He finally found his niche as a minor civil servant and we moved to the
‘suburbs’. An aging home in a tiny town,
it was not quite as ramshackle as ‘The Burrow’, but it did not strike one as
the perfect home for a family of nine!
The two bedrooms and one bath cottage had a large rambling attic that
was turned into a dormitory for the older children, with curtain partitions to
give privacy between genders. This area
was in a state of construction for another 30 years until it was finally
converted into the promised bedrooms. We
even had a family ghost, who did not restrict himself to the attic, but roamed
the house at will, adding to the overall chaos and melee of life by hiding what
ever it was we were looking for, causing screeches in the aging cast iron pipes
and all sorts of bumps, particularly in the night.
lived within walking distance of our schools.
Every morning was a challenge for everyone to tumble out the door
dressed and packed for the day. We
trouped down the road dropping off siblings as we passed their school. Once at secondary school, I found myself, as
Ron does, trying to prove my place. I
followed in the footsteps of three sisters that had
each made their own place. One had made
her place as an academic, one was the athlete, one was just overpowering with
her personality (and flaming red hair!).
I had always been quiet and withdrawn, but approached secondary school
with the attitude that I would make my mark.
I didn’t have a Mirror of Erised, but I saw similar
desires to Ron’s when I looked into myself. It was difficult proving myself
as a different entity from my sisters to our teachers, but by the end of seven
years, I, too, had made my mark in honours, drama and sports. All the while our parents encouraged us to be
our own, separate person and find our own separate strengths. Others looked at us a one of seven; our
parents looked at us as seven ones.
does the love come from for seven children? How do the Weasley’s consider
taking on two extra teens in the summer?
Do you know how much a growing teen eats? How can they afford that? How does the strain of housing, clothing and
feeding this huge brood not take a toll on the souls on parents? That is the greatest mystery of life. Love never divides, it only multiplies. My parents took on many a surrogate child,
some more permanently than others. Our
home was always open to any child in need of a loving hug, warm meal or even
just a place to ‘crash’ after school.
There was never a question as to whether feeding another mouth was
financially feasible. The pot always
held another bowl of soup, and the oven always offered out another loaf of my
mother’s signature homemade bread. Was the
house ever neat and spotlessly clean? Never in my memory.
Was the house ever lacking in room for one more? Never in my memory. Even as the years passed, as we moved out as
adults, the house was always full of teens.
First, primarily friends of my younger siblings, but even afterwards,
teens found their way to the not quite ‘empty nest’ of our home. When mother passed away at the age of 80,
there was still a teen girl living in our house that we called a sister, even
though most of us had children older than her.
Mother had one more child that needed raising,
and had done so to her last breath.
will be the Weasley legacy? I can only
hope that of my parent’s. A home that always offered what a child needed,
whether a child by birth or surrogate. Loving arms to give hugs that had been denied. Food cooked with love rather than
of the soul rather than squelching of individuality. These are the real necessities of life.