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‘My mother,’ I liked to joke to my friends, ‘is missing and in action.’ By the time I was thirteen, she was on her fourth or fifth marriage. ‘Maybe even her seventh or eighth,’ I’d been known to boast. In truth, we never knew for sure how many marriages Nancy had made. It was certainly more than the sturdy homemakers of Vancouver Island ever had. Like Elizabeth Taylor, Debbie Reynolds or my Aunt Elsie’s favourite, Lana Turner, I imagined my mother hopscotching from one man’s broken heart to another.
"One of those broken hearts belonged to my father, Billy. When I was younger I thought he kept it at the back of his dresser drawer and only took it out on Friday afternoons, gluing it back together before his weekend trips to the island to see me."