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Gwen Tuinman

NOVELIST

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nostalgia

The Auction Barn

Last fall, my husband and I moved to a rural one-acre property in Ontario’s Kawartha Lakes region. Farmers fields surround us and from every direction we see where the earth and sky meet. At night, stars are visible in the natural darkness and howling coyotes often lull us to sleep.

We also found unexpected pleasure in a local auction barn nestled on a nearby sideroad. About once a month, a blend of antique and contemporary pieces is auctioned off. Visiting there is a writer’s field trip. I’m always on the lookout for artifacts I might incorporate into my novels or short stories. We’ve seen Model-T Fords, Persian rugs, rustic cross-country skis, 200-yr-old furnishings, dishware, and collectibles.

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A Woman Looking Through a Window

Wouldn’t it be interesting if instead of writing our signatures, we were called upon to “sign” our names with a simple drawing of our choice? An image that represents us more accurately than an assemblance of letters? I know exactly what my drawing would be. A woman looking through a window.

In my mind, I carry so many snapshots, from over the years, of me looking through windows.

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Hats: A Love Story

I used to dislike wearing hats. They didn’t suit me. Millinery shops would draw me to try on hats. I’d pick a style shown in magazines, the type of hat that should be worn by women I admired—the sort who laughed with abandon, ate life like it was a juicy apple, and never second guessed themselves. When I looked at my reflection in the mirror, the hat occupied the entire frame. I disappeared.  

The first hat I ever wore was a baby bonnet secured with an under-the-chin bow. In spite of burgeoning liberation of the 1960s, mothers didn’t wheel hatless babies around town. What would people say?

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