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Stories that Need Telling: Kara Martin


t’s Tuesday lunch. I’m sitting in the community college cafeteria. The standard turkey

sandwich and 2% milk are not really doing it for me. My hearing which at the best of times isn’t great provides snatches of student conversations. “Yeah like she asked us 'What does family mean to you?' I didn’t know what to say, I mean my dad and mom they were pretty much there all the time when I was a kid and stuff. They took me everywhere to see and explain things. Sometimes they were like impossible with all their rules”. He begins to devour a huge slice of

pizza. I look grudgingly at my “healthy choice” turkey. His friends are nodding their heads in agreement. They are an interesting group, this generation; each texting on their cell phones. Simultaneously they check out the latest in downloaded music and peek at their bank account. Multi-tasking at its best. One of the group pipes up, “Yeah I got the notes here off her blog. It says that 'inWestern society the school begins to share some of the responsibilities of child rearing. Then peer groups and media take on the role. When they reach a certain age they are ready to fly on their own.'” “Hey I like that idea as long as they keep

the money coming!” chortles the girl with the tri-coloured hair. Their clothes and technology tells me, the money pipeline to home is pumping steady. “Heywe gotta get to Rawlinson’s class. I heard if you're late, he makes you sing 'I’m a Little Teapot' before you can sit down.” The group laughs in unison and with a few final gulps, they collect their trays and are gone. The eavesdropping completed I think

about my next appointment. It's an interview for this magazine with Kara Martin, a second year business student at the college. I am taking a look at a trait that for me personifies Miramichiers, the

by Doug Dolan

Kara Martin with her daughter, Elsa. Photo by Brenda Daigle.

dogged determination of a people to improve their lot despite experiencing “mountains beyond mountains”. I work as an educational manager at the college where people often comewith life’s travails to start a new career. Kara greets me with a warm smile and

intelligent eyes hinting of mischief. She is a 29 year old mother. Recalling the conversation of students a few moments ago I ask Kara to tell me about her family. As she begins I can’t help but compare the comments of the Caucasian kids. “I was born and raised in Eel Ground. I

have an eight-year-old daughter, Elsa,” her face beams with delight. “She is my reason for coming to the college. I have two sisters, Dru and Crystal, who double as my best friends. We went everywhere as kids and even today we talk everyday. I know some families can go a long time without speaking to each other but for us, and maybe it’s my culture; family is

10 • Bread ‘ n Molasses September/October 2010

everything.” I make a mental note to follow up on my

brother’s call of last week. She continues, “I started in MiramichiValley High School but when I turned 16, I wanted out. I just felt there were some great things going on in a bigger world and I wanted to be a part of it. My dad (Chester) and mom (Rita) understood the value of education and they also knew how stubborn their daughter was. They made a decision to support me. When I look back, it has been life changing. They called my dad’s sister in Ottawa and asked if I could try school there. She agreed and I found myself tearfully saying goodbye to my family at the Newcastle train station. Thatwas really hard for us all. “When I first set eyes on Ottawa, it was

huge. I felt overwhelmed I guess but then I spotted my aunt, Karen Martin. She gave me a big hug that made me feel I belonged. And that was pretty much how it went for the next two years. I got my eyes opened

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