Give Me a Chance by Gail Renard

By Gail Renard

May well 1969. As a 16-year-old, Gail Renard joined John Lennon and Yoko Ono of their week-long bed-in for peace in a lodge in Montreal. She taken care of Yoko's five-year-old daughter, helped to discover tambourines and joined within the first recording of 'Give Peace a Chance'. This e-book tells the tale.

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As a consistent idler I decided to do nothing at all, particularly because there was in fact nothing that could be done beyond commending myself to the care of the Almighty. And so the fatal day came, in April, I believe, 1922. We all took our seats in the largest hall in the school, each on a separate bench so as to prevent cheating, and in deathly silence we were given the topic for our Polish essay. I wrote a lot and was quite pleased with myself. The real tragedy began the following day, when a sheet of paper appeared on my desk bearing a Latin text that was to be translated.

And solemn. These were the kinds of leaps I made between clownishness and gravity, between playing the fool and real suffering. And all the while I was unable to cope with the whole Polish farce, with that disequilibrium of ours. It was an ocean in which I was drowning; yet I also carried it within myself. From Rabka I made a brief excursion to Zakopane; one evening, entering Trzaska's or Karpowicz's, at a table in the depths of the restaurant I spotted a familiar face: Boy-Zeleriski! 44 Polish Memories I didn't know him personally, but I knew who he was: a writer, representing intelligence, talent, Europe.

The lady engineers and lady lawyers who visit from Poland still appear rather formal alongside the Argentinians with their easy ways, and their manner of expressing themselves is still marked by a mania for titles, though these are now bourgeois and bureaucratic rather than noble in character. When certain customs are on the wane, they succumb to a kind of sclerosis; they lose their living core, and what remains is merely the stiffness of "pure form," as Witkiewicz would have put it. Now, I found myself fascinated by this formalism.

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