Monday October 09, 2017

October 9, 2017 Full Episode Transcript

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The Current Transcript for October 9, 2017

Host: Laura Lynch

STORIES FROM THIS EPISODE

Listen to the full episode

Prologue

[Music: Theme]

SOUNDCLIP

VOICE: This is the last option we had. I mean it didn't give us any other option. We tried to do it the proper way but we just could not.

[Sound: Crowds chanting]

LAURA LYNCH: That's just one of the thousands of Catalonians who voted last week for independence from Spain. The vote has been deemed illegal and it led to a violent crackdown by national police sent in by the government in Madrid. This week the regional parliament in Barcelona may make another bold unilateral move issuing a declaration of independence from Spain, despite protests by those who want to remain united. We're starting today in Catalonia, for the latest and for the arguments for and against going their own way. And then it is Thanksgiving, harvest time, and time to taste the fruits of the season.

SOUNDCLIP

[Sound: Munching]

Mmm that is lovely, a little sour. Nice crisp.

LL: That first bite of a fresh apple, one of the fall season simplest pleasures. What's your favorite? Golden Delicious? Macintosh? Honeycrisp? Did you know that there are thousands upon thousands of apple varieties that you've never tasted? The vast majority of apple varieties, once grown across North America, have been lost to the ages. But in half an hour from now, we'll meet a man who calls himself an apple detective bent on tracking them down, and he should be up to the task. His previous job was with the FBI. Also coming up today our documentary 50/50 about twins, one with autism one without, and their big adventure this fall, starting high school apart from each other after years together.

SOUNDCLIP

Ben has defined who I am in a lot of plays. Like, obviously people know me by my name, Amy, but if I'm just meeting them or if we haven't formally met yet, they will say: “Oh, you are Ben’s sister.”

LL: we'll get an update on how month one of high school has gone for Amy and Ben. I'm Laura Lynch sitting in for Anna Maria Tremonti and this is The Current.

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Tensions escalate in Spain as Catalan independence gains traction

Guests: Gerry Hadden, Marc Coll, David Jiménez Torres

SOUNDCLIP

[Sound: Noises]

What they just did, that is a crime, they stole materials, they violate human rights, they -you know - they injure people. That is a crime.

LL: Violence and defiance in the Catalonia region of Spain. That was the autonomous region’s minister of education, Clara Ponsatí Obiols, denouncing the violence that followed Catalans overwhelming referendum vote for independence last week. Spanish police flooded in during the boat confiscating ballot boxes and violently removing peaceful voters. Spain didn't countenance nor recognize the legitimacy of the vote. But that hasn't dampened the drive for independence in Catalonia. Secessionists are said to be preparing a unilateral declaration of independence from Spain which could be adopted as soon as tomorrow. Spanish Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy, said Saturday he wouldn't rule out removing Catalonians government, if that happens. And yesterday hundreds of thousands of pro-unity demonstrators filled the streets of Barcelona to oppose separation. Gerry Hadden is a freelance Public Radio correspondent who has been on the ground covering all of this and we have reached him in Barcelona. Hello.

GERRY HADDEN: Hi Laura.

LL: What are you hearing about plans for the Catalan Premier to declare independence this week?

GERRY HADDEN: So far it's a go. He has said, on radio over the weekend, as have those who surround him in the Catalan leadership, that their plan is to “follow the law”. And by the law he's not referring to what the High Court in Spain wrote about this referendum and Declaration of Independence, which was that it's unconstitutional, rather to a Catalan law passed earlier this year that said: “If a referendum gave a yes vote to the independent independence movement then the leadership within 48 hours would declare unilaterally independence from Spain.

LL: It's going to be beyond 48 hours. Why is that?

GERRY HADDEN: Well there's been a bunch of brinkmanship going on all week. It's pretty clear I think that the Catalan leadership is hoping to use the pressure of this possible declaration as a bargaining tool, as leverage, to get the central government of Spain to sit down and begin negotiating either a better arrangement overall between Catalonia and Spain, or perhaps even a agreed upon referendum. Remember this referendum was ruled an unconstitutional by Spain's highest court.

LL: Why did Catalonia then decide to call this independence referendum?

GERRY HADDEN: Well two years ago an independent minded coalition won elections here in Catalonia in the regional government and that's their platform, that's their stated goal to have an independent Catalonia. They rode a wave of discontent that started about 10 years ago when their basic law - the law that sort of governs the relationship between Catalonia and the rest of Spain - was watered down and they lost some things in there that they had voted for and approved on their own. So this is the end goal they say that the central government has never really been willing to sit down and negotiate with them and hear their grievances what happened with that basic law and the economic crisis that started just about the same time. The Catalans more and more began to shift over into this camp of wanting to separate from Spain. There's still not a majority. There's still more people in Catalonia, according to polls, that want to stay part of Spain. But over the last 10 years as I say their numbers have been growing and they've been trying to capitalize on that.

LL: Let's go back to the day the referendum. Where were you that day and what did you see?

GERRY HADDEN: I was actually in Our Children's school. It was one of the voting places and I went in there in the evening and spent the night there with a bunch of parents who were camping out. And it was almost a sort of festive atmosphere during the night. But then in the morning when the when the polling began about 9:00 a.m., the police immediately began entering different schools around Barcelona and other cities in Catalonia and very aggressively began confiscating ballot boxes. They beat people, they threw people down stairs and all of these things were caught on videos and they were being shared almost simultaneously on social media. So the parents at Our Kids school we're watching all these things getting more and more nervous. And sure enough about lunchtime the national police showed up, broke the front door down, beat a bunch of people on the street who are trying to block them peacefully. They were sort of linking arms and sitting on the ground and they came at them with their batons, and kicked them and punch them and dragged them by their hair and so forth, broke down the front door of the school, repeated the same thing inside the school courtyard. It was complete chaos and eventually got the ballot boxes and marched out again leaving you know hundreds of people bewildered, shocked, some injured and just at a loss for words.

LL: Now let's just be clear, that that's the national police. We know that the Catalan police force has been accused of standing by, while everything unfolded that day and letting things happen. What impact has this had, what you saw that day on the wider question about independence?

GERRY HADDEN: Well I mean tactically I would have to say that Mariano Rajoy, Spain's prime minister, drove more people into the independence camp by being heavy handed with the police last Sunday. Certainly if he was out to win the hearts and minds of Catalans and convince them at the last minute that this was the wrong road to go down, having the national police come in and beat people, you know, women, people sitting on the ground, elderly, is not the way to do it. So I would say that is still not a majority of Catalans in support of independence but he did push more of them into that camp. And looking forward if negotiating is the way out of this, he also made that much more complicated.

LL: Gerry, thank you.

GERRY HADDEN: You're welcome.

LL: Gerry Hadden is a freelance Public Radio correspondent in Barcelona. We started the show with the sound of protests and the firing of rubber bullets, after national police forcibly removed voters from polling stations in Catalonia. My next guest was volunteering at one of those polling stations. Marc Coll is in Barcelona. Hello.

MARC COLL: Hello good morning.

LL: There is speculation that the Catalan parliament is going to declare independence this week. How are you feeling about that possibility?

MARC COLL: I'm very anxious about it. To be true, I think that is the step that we have to do now. It's what is coming up. It's not for us but for me, what I think is that what we've seen - the opposition that we've seen from the central party in Spain is treating us like where we were a part of it just like an arm off of a full body, that will be Spain and we're Catalonia we're just one arm - and we always have considered, through history, as another person. The position that the Spanish government is taking into the situation is repression and as they say an internal issue, and they do not consider it as another person to which we can dialogue and talk and look for solutions.

LL: Can you take me back to the day of the referendum? What happened at the polling station that you were at?

MARC COLL: I was supposed to be voting on Monday in a different polling station. I went there. We knew that the court has declared the referendum illegal and that the police were going to try to shut down the polling stations. So we were asked for it from different communities to spend the night and do some activities on these polling stations, so that they would not be able to lock them down. So I went to my polling station. It was crowded. It was full of people. So then I received some Whats Apps from my daughter’s primary school saying that they needed people. So I drove over there and I saw that there were very little people. So I talked to them. I went back to my house. I picked up some mattresses and blankets and food and espresso coffee machine, everything to spend the night there. So I took everything to the school. We started calling more people. We all went there. It was not that many but we were about between 50 and 60 people that decided to spend the night there.

LL: And what happened that day?

MARC COLL: So the day of the vote, the guys who, you know, we've been hiding the ballot boxes and the ballots and everything. So that first thing in the morning a guy appeared with a ballot box. We were very excited. We open up the doors. People started queuing at 5:30 in front of the school. We let them in so that they could join us and protect the school. That went really well. At 9:00 in the morning. We opened the door. We were frightened of secret police coming in so we were looking for police not to get in and block the ballot boxes or take them away. It was really emotional. It was a really nice moment. It started raining a little bit but everyone was queuing. It was really nice until the day when I was running around the queue and trying to line up the people and making older people to come first, and then I saw the vans with the SWAT police coming up the street. We had a door that was on the street that was locked and I was locked outside. So, some of the people that were queuing outside we just sat down in front of the door with the hands up. It was everyone. It was parents. It was women. It was all man that we just sat down and said: “Please don't come in when. We're peaceful” and they come in with a SWAT. They surrounded us and then they took out the sticks and started hitting everyone and moving us out. And it was really scary.

LL: I'm sure that that must have been quite scary, especially with your children there. And I'm wondering what are you worried about? There is some suggestion that a lot of companies and corporations are going to leave Catalonia.

MARC COLL: That's not so scary. We are a country. Catalonia is a place where we've been traders all our lives. So business and economy and talking to people and having good relations with everyone is our core. So, they might move some now because they get scared, maybe banks, because they want to secure the money but they will come back.

LL: I'm wondering what you hope will happen now.

MARC COLL: I'm looking for complete separation. I have very good friends around Spain. There's nothing to do with the Spaniards. It has to do with the central government. I think they've gone too far.

LL: Marc Coll, thank you.

MARC COLL: Thank you very much. Bye bye.

LL: Marc Collis a pro-independence resident in Barcelona. To help explain why Catalonia views itself as a separate and distinct nation from the rest of Spain, we reached out to Paul Freedman, a historian at Yale University.

SOUNDCLIP

They have a different history. They have a different language and unlike some European Communities agitating for autonomy, they actually have preserved their language. So many more people speak Catalan than speak, say Irish. They have a long history in the Middle Ages. They were basically an independent principality. Since the early 18th century they've been a part of a more unified Spain but they've had autonomous rights since the death of Franco. So they see themselves as a different nation, and I would say above all, as a richer people than the Castilians. This is a part of Spain that has always been the richest part of Spain and sees itself as the most forward looking.

LL: Well my next guest was dismayed by Catalonia’s push for independence. David Jiménez Torres is a professor of history and literature at Camilo José Cela University and he is in Madrid. Hello.

DAVID JIMENEZ TORRES: Hello.

LL: What do you make of what you just heard from Marc Coll?

DAVID JIMENEZ TORRES: I think I would like to correct both Marc Coll and the historian had speaking just now. I think there's a very kind of pernicious discourse saying that Catalonia is a united country, that it is a homogeneous people, and they all want the same thing, and they are fighting against an oppressive state. And this is simply not true as your correspondent was saying earlier. Catalans are deeply divided over the question of independence and the divisions run very deep in that society, along linguistic lines and also along class lines. Independence, all the data that we have suggests that it's supported by the upper classes and the upper middle classes whereas the working class of Catalonia and the lower middle class does not support independence. And when I was listening to Marc Coll, I felt it resonated in the sense that I think most people have some friends in Catalonia, even people in Madrid that support independence. And we are very heartbroken when we hear these stories of what happened in the referendum on October the 1st. And all of us were dismayed at the use of police against protesters. But at the same time, and this doesn't fundamentally change the fact that what we're talking about is a push for a unilateral secession and that it's being carried out by a government that has the support of 48% of Catalans.

LL: What do you think will happen then if Catalonia does unilaterally declare independence?

DAVID JIMENEZ TORRES: To be absolutely honest with you, I have no idea what will happen. I am saying that it would be a deeply misguided move. And again it wouldn't be the move of a region of Spain against the rest of Spain. It would be the move of half of Catalonia against the other half. I mean just yesterday we saw hundreds of thousands of people - of Catalans - marching in Barcelona against the project to secede. If I may just point out that the last regional elections the anti-independence parties won the popular vote. They received 52% of the votes. It was only through a very warped electoral law that the pro-independence parties, which had 48% of the vote, achieved the majority of seats. And if that sounds kind of like the Donald Trump trick of losing the popular vote but pretending that you've won a democratic mandate to do whatever you want, then it's because it's very similar to that. And I think we should all be very concerned about one half of a population trying to impose a project on the other half.

LL: But Professor the referendum obviously did tap into a frustration that some even many Catalonians felt. How do you explain that nationalist sentiment that led to the referendum?

DAVID JIMENEZ TORRES: Well I think that it helps if we think of Catalonia and not as a stateless nation but actually as a region upon which two states act. And so that would be the national Spanish government and also an extremely powerful devolved regional government. And the regional government or nationalist parties haven't had demonic over the past 40 years, has been particularly -through the educational system but also through its media policy both in public media and subsidies to private media - found it very useful to create this narrative of victimhood whereby Catalonia would be disadvantaged by being a part of Spain when it this is clearly not the case. Catalonia has long been one of the wealthiest regions in Spain and it's not because of any I think particular genius of the Catalans. I think it's more to do with the fact that the current system has been very advantageous towards Catalonia.

LL: If they had been such an important part of the economy in Spain, don't they deserve a better deal?

DAVID JIMENEZ TORRES: Well sure. And that can be fully dealt with within the bounds of the Constitution. I think what is extremely disproportionate is to say that because you have a grievance in terms of infrastructure investment or some other very quantifiable very concrete problem - which by the way pretty much every region in Spain has. I mean there's no shortage of grievances in Spanish regions. I think the right way to do it is to discuss it within the established parliamentary procedures. I mean it not that the Constitution allows for changes within the existing framework. It also allows for reform of the constitutional system. But what people do in advanced democratic societies is to work together and to work through dialogue to try to reach compromises that are helpful for everyone. They do not unilaterally decide that they don't like the rules and they're just going to break away.

LL: In that context then, I wonder how you viewed the actions of the national police on that day.

DAVID JIMENEZ TORRES: Again I was devastated. I think it was extremely hurtful and disappointing to see that it has come to this. I wish that it had never happened. And I think most people in the rest of Spain held that away. At the same time, it doesn't for me fundamentally change what we're talking about here. In the same way that when police misused force against protesters in say Seattle or in Hamburg in the anti G-20 protests, that didn't make the U.S. or Germany automatically into illegitimates police states. I mean it's entirely regrettable and I felt a lot of pain watching it. I feel a lot of sympathy for people like your previous speaker who was talking about his experiences there that day but it doesn't automatically make their arguments right. It doesn't change what we're dealing with here.

LL: Mr. Torres we will have to leave it there. I thank you very much for joining us today.

DAVID JIMENEZ TORRES: Thank you.

LL: David Jiminez Torres is a professor of history and literature as Camilo Jose Cela University and he was in Madrid. Well the CBC news is coming up next. Then, meet the former FBI agent who is on the hunt for lost varieties of apples. The Apple detective is my next guest after the break. I'm Laura Lynch, sitting in for Anna Maria Tremonti and you're listening to The Current.

[Music: Theme]

Back To Top »

From Bachelor Blush to War Woman: The stories of North America's lost apples

Guest: David Benscoter, Helen Humphreys

LL: Hello I'm Laura Lynch and you're listening to The Current.

[Music: Theme]

LL: Still to come we repeat a special documentary about siblings, school and separation told from a teenager's point of view.

SOUNDCLIP

I felt since then has autism, I do have to force myself to be more normal. I watch videos on like how not to be weird. I would look it up. Every time I acted out or someone looked at me weirdly I would wonder do I have autism.

Amy Goodes documentary about life with her brother Ben is coming up in half an hour from now. But first a forgotten fruit.

SOUNDCLIP

Oh my mouth is watering [laughs]. So here we have the Northern Spy, which is an apple from the U.S. and it seems like it's quite, it is maybe a little bit on the green side but I'm sure it's going to be lovely. [Sound: Munching] Hmm. That is lovely, a little sour, nice and crisp. Hmm. [Sound: Munching]

LL: That crunch of an apple. It may be just the quintessential sound and taste of the fall harvest. That was Mel Sylvester the perennial and biodiversity coordinator at the University of British Columbia farm on a tour with our Vancouver producer Ann Penman. And beyond their distinctive bite and taste, each and every apple variety has its own history as well whether it's for the individual taster or the history books.

SOUNDCLIP

It's really interesting at our market. You will see it every week people start coming in asking “When is this one ready? When is this one ready?” and often what it is that they remember that Apple variety from their childhood and then they figure out that we have it here because a lot of them are quite rare. And then they wait. Every year they will wait for getting that one variety Apple because they're like “oh my god that's the one my mom used to grow, or we used to get as a kid. We will go to that orchard and that's what we were used to collect.” So every single tree will tell you a story, as we walk through. I do know actually one Apple. Maybe even a chance to find it. But let's walk through maybe we'll find it. And it's the Newton Pippin and the story behind the Newton Pippin is there, if you drive on Westbrook Avenue, there's a roundabout and there's a few large old Apple there. And one is a Newton Pippin and in the story was that like apparently a graft the famous tree that the Newton had the apple falling on his head a graft of this was needed to someone at UBC and was planted there. So that's one of the famous tree that we have here is a Newton Pippin.

LL: The apple is actually a relative of the Rose and it's thought to have originated in Kazakhstan millions of years ago. They were brought to North America from Europe and became an important food source for both European settlers and indigenous populations. And there were once 17,000 varieties of apples grown in North America alone but only about 13,000 of those are now lost. Only a dozen or so appear on the grocery store shelves today. David Benscoter is one of a small group of Apple enthusiasts who have taken on the project of finding some of those lost apples from orchards past. He became an apple detective after he retired as an inspector for the FBI and the U.S. Treasury. David Benscoter joins us from Spokane, Washington. Hello.

DAVID BENSCOTER: Hi Laura.

LL: So Apple Detective, what do you do?

DAVID BENSCOTER: Well I look for extinct or lost apples and I go to old orchards, go through it harvest time and take samples from trees. I'm not able to identify them myself. I need it a Apple identification experts actually to do that and I mailed the samples off to them and wait for hopefully a good word.

LL: So presumably at the FBI you're hunting down hardened criminals and dangerous dudes, and go from that to looking for lost apples.

DAVID BENSCOTER: Well you know there actually are some similarities. I worked heavy document cases and the research that I do for looking for lost apples, it requires a lot of scouring old documents.

LL: So that's it. Your background in being able to look through lots and lots of documents is exactly the same skill that you need for searching for lost apples.

DAVID BENSCOTER: Well that and also just being able to - I've noticed several times like I've looked for things that I think maybe some people would overlook.

LL: I've got to ask you this though, is hunting apples as exciting as bringing a criminal to justice?

DAVID BENSCOTER: You know I must say that I do get excited when we found a last apple. It is a pretty exciting feeling.

LL: How many types of apples have you discovered that that people thought had disappeared?

DAVID BENSCOTER: Well three that were extinct have been brought back and then I've also found only the second tree - known tree - of another variety.

LL: Tell me what the varieties are that you've discovered.

DAVID BENSCOTER: The Nero, I found that in 2014 and just this last fall I found the Arkansas Beauty and the Dickinson.

LL: So, to give me a little more detail, how do you go about then, finding the apples tracking them down?

DAVID BENSCOTER: Well I'll give you an example. I found an old orchard and I wanted to determine what the apples were in the orchard. So first I was able to get documentation in the form of nursery catalogs and newspaper advertisements. From that I've been able to determine that in the early 1900s there were approximately 207 varieties of apples that were available in one county alone in Eastern Washington. And from that list I went looking for the apples that are now considered lost. And there's a couple of books out there one. One of the books is called Old Southern Apples by Lee Calhoun. He devotes the entire second half of the book to the names and descriptions of lost apples that once grew in the south. That helped me. You don't know if an apple was lost or not. And then I look for apples that in general matched the description of the last apples.

LL: So then how easy is it for you to figure out if an apple that you've found is in fact lost Apple?

DAVID BENSCOTER: It's not easy at all. I collect these apples and I put them in plastic bags. I take pictures of them. I catalogued them and with a description of where I find it. I ship them off to my Apple identification experts and they do the actual identification.

LL: When you talk about Apple identification units it sounds so much like criminal investigations. What are they using to identify them? It's not DNA is it?

DAVID BENSCOTER: No we can't use DNA. But it's basically the old Apple Books. And back in the 1800s early 1900s there were very detailed books written about apples. And there's about 50 characteristics of apples that they go through and try to match up to identify an apple. And another way they're able to do it also is, in the 1880s all the way through to about 1920, the United States Department of Agriculture contracted with a group of watercolor painters and these watercolor painters painted fruits and nuts. And there are approximately 3500 watercolor paintings that are now online and available for anyone to look at. These are extremely helpful when looking for lost apples.

LL: And in fact we're going to be talking about that a little bit more with our next guest, but I am seeing you roaming around all of these abandoned orchards throughout Washington state and you probably run into people. When you're doing that when you talk to people especially older people about your work, what reaction do you get from them?

DAVID BENSCOTER: You know I was listening to - I believe it was Melanie was describing how older people respond to apples and I couldn't agree more. I give talks at historical societies and groups like that and especially the older people they just absolutely light up when talking about these old apples. And I think it just brings back memories of you know being in Mom's kitchen and the times they had with their parents and siblings. And it's very gratifying to see those typea of reactions.

LL: So then what have they come to mean to you through doing this kind of work?

DAVID BENSCOTER: Actually it's been more of learning history. There's a reason for each of these varieties being out here. The first nurserymen that came out here were true frontier nurserymen. There were there were no trains. There were no cars. And when the homesteaders came out and wanted to start a home, the first thing they wanted to do was plant fruit trees. And these frontier nurserymen could tell these new homesteaders which fruit trees to buy. The first ones that are going to ripen in the summer are the ones that come in the fall that maybe are better for making applesauce and cooking with. And then finally with winter apples those are the ones that you're going to keep in your cellar and all the many things that you can make from apples; apple cider vinegar that can preserve food. You can dry them. You can can them. The poor apples you can give them to your hogs.

LL: I've got to ask you with all of its historical significance you're talking about and everything else, are the apples that you've found, did they taste good?

DAVID BENSCOTER: Yes they actually do. And I think there's a reason why some apples have gone extinct. One of those apples the Fall Janetting it's a good tasting apple. The reason I believe it probably went extinct was the shape of the apple is somewhat bizarre and has ridges on it. And I can just imagine someone putting that in an apple peeler and peeler would kind of go: “cluck cluck”.

LL: [Laughs] Is that your favorite?

DAVID BENSCOTER: You know it was my favorite because it was the first apple that I found and I realized that it was something I could actually do. Before that I didn't know if I was looking for Bigfoot.

LL: [Laughs] Before I let you go, I have to ask you are you on the cusp of any more discoveries?

DAVID BENSCOTER: Well I actually just talked to one of my identification experts. There's a chance that we may have found the only the second known tree of one variety here in eastern Washington, just a couple of weeks ago. And I'm just preparing some more boxes to send to them so we are. We're very hopeful.

LL: And the name of it is?

DAVID BENSCOTER: That's the Early Colton or the Colton.

LL: Great names. Well congratulations. I hope that it does work out for you and thank you so much for talking to us today.

DAVID BENSCOTER: Okay, well thank you.

LL: David Benscoter is an apple detective. He's rediscovered three varieties of the fruit that were previously believed to be lost, three so far. He was in Spokane, Washington. Now many apple varieties may be lost to history - though we do have some of their evocative names. From "Bachelor Blush," and "Hog Snout"...To the "Montreal Peach," the "Rough and Ready;" "Sweet Seeknofurther," and "War Woman." Writer Helen Humphreys looked at those and many others when a bite of an apple from a tree behind an abandoned cabin sent her on a journey of pomological discovery. The tree's demise after a harsh winter coincided with some big questions that she'd been pondering - about life and death. Helen Humphreys' latest book is The Ghost Orchard: The Hidden History of the Apple in North America. And she's in Toronto. Hello.

HELEN HUMPHREYS: Hi.

LL: The names of those apples are so evocative. What are some of your favorites?

HELEN HUMPHREYS: Well basically any new Apple that I discover by the side of the road is my new favorite, without even knowing what the name is. The apple that I did find that started the quest for the book was the White Winter Pearmain. So I would say probably for many reasons sentimental and otherwise that's probably my favorite.

LL: Can you describe that apple for me the White Winter Pearmain?

HELEN HUMPHREYS: It had a blush on one side. It was a pale skinned Apple. It was very tasty. It had a underlay of pear, very sort of a honey pear flavor to it. It was later Apple like I found it at the end of October, November and it was delicious.

LL: And who knew this was going to launch you on this journey? What did you learn about how that Apple came to North America?

HELEN HUMPHREYS: What I found out through trying to identify the apple was the Apple had come as David said had come over with the settler's in the 1600s. But before this the settlers orchards that had happened mostly in the 19th century 18th and 19th centuries, there were orchards planted by First Nations people throughout North America and many of these orchards were then taken over by the settlers when they came. And the apples were renamed or the trees were destroyed or you know the Apple became a tool for colonization basically in the early days. I also discovered that quite a few varieties came over with a Quaker woman who had gone from North Carolina to England and brought back 20 different varieties of Apple science that she made orchard's from throughout the American South.

LL: Now that was Ann Jessop.

HELEN HUMPHREYS: Ann Jessop, yes.

LL: She is also known as Apple Annie. She's the one who brought over the White Winter Pearmain.

HELEN HUMPHREYS: Yes that's right.

LL: Tell me a little bit more about her.

HELEN HUMPHREYS: She was a Quaker minister and she had a large family. She had had a marriage. Her husband had died. She had remarried and she had about 10 children between the children that she gave birth to and the children of her new husband. She traveled a great deal. At the time Quaker ministers were allowed to travel in same sex pairs and they could travel quite widely actually. And so she went twice to England by herself. When she was there the second time when, she was in her mid-50s. She teamed up with another minister called Hannah Stevenson and they travelled around for two years around England in Scotland and from that trip is when she brought back the apples. She had a quite adventurous life at a time where it seemed that that might not be the case.

LL: Did you get any clue as to why Apples became so important to her?

HELEN HUMPHREYS: The problem with so much of history is that, you know, the problem with the past is that it remains in the past. But it became in a way the family business. Her son Jonathan ended up planting apples. He had grandchildren that had orchards. So it sort of became in her mid-fifties, the remaking of herself and her husband - second husband had died at this point. And so there's many ways to look at it. I could say in a romantic way that she sort of fell in love with the apple and it became a kind of romantic quest for her to plant these orchards. But also I think in a very practical sense it was probably a way to feed her family and to continue to live.

LL: And it set you upon a quest too. What was it like when you were able to taste the varieties of apples she chose to bring to North America?

HELEN HUMPHREYS: That was pretty great. Yes I tasted some of them but the most for me, the most poignant thing was I was able to meet up with her great great great great great great granddaughter, Emily, who lives in North Carolina. And we were able to drive around one day together, talking about Ann Jessop and sort of driving around the countryside where some of these orchards may once have existed. And that was really kind of amazing moment for me. It was the past come right up to the present.

LL: Did you find that you had things in common with Emily? Did you use her to look at her as the embodiment of what your search was about?

HELEN HUMPHREYS: Well I realized you know when I had been researching Ann or what I could find out about Ann and just the choices that she had made in her life. I thought she was quite a bold woman. You know, for the time, and quite a strong woman. And Emily was also a strong woman. But the funny thing about driving around with Emily was that we found we had a great deal in common from being complete strangers and right down to the fact that we were both reading the same book, at the same time which was odd. So it's sometimes when you're writing there's this feeling that it's serendipitous or that there's something beyond what you understand about what you're doing you know not to make it sound too out there. But there's a kind of magic to it that I think is sometimes what drives you in the quest and I think that when I met Emily and I found we had all this stuff in common. It felt no accident that I was researching the apple or that I had come on this quest.

LL: And then the idea of your writing being accompanied by Apple's carries through to Robert Frost. You visit one of the apple orchards that was planted by the poet. What did Apple's mean to him?

HELEN HUMPHREYS: Well Apple's had again, they had a – like Ann Jessop - I think they had a sort of romantic and a practical aspect, because he had during his lifetime there were three orchards with which he was associated. The first was an orchard that was in their rented farmhouse. his first farmhouse where he lived. That was the orchard which inspired some of the famous Apple poems. Then he decided to go into kind of farming business and he started a second orchard with his son. They were going to grow apples commercially but it didn't really work out all that well. And the third orchard, he planted when he was in his 80s which is quite late because he was unlikely to see the trees bear fruit. But it was more an orchard chosen for personal taste and it was outside his last rented farmhouse in his writing cabin that he had there. That was quite an emotional thing to go to that orchard because he hadn't seen the trees come into maturity. When I went there the apples were on the trees and the trees were healthy and it was quite a nice moment.

LL: What did it evoke for you?

HELEN HUMPHREYS: Part of this journey of the apple for me has been a way to taste the past. The journey for me was accompanied by death. I had a close friend who was dying while I was writing the book and my father died, also while I was writing the book. And the apples themselves many of that, like David said, many of the lost and extinct apples are gone. But when you find an apple, you taste an apple it's a way to connect to the past so there's a sweetness in that that the past is still alive the moment. That you meet the apple and you're still connecting with people. And when I'm eating an apple that Ann Jessop chose in 1792, I'm connecting with Ann Jessop again in 2017.

LL: And I want to talk some more about your friend and your father but there's so many things that continue to reverberate throughout your book. And when we talk about Robert Frost, we talk about writing and apples and we also talk about with him friendship and apples. What role did they play in his friendship with his fellow poet Edward Thomas?

HELEN HUMPHREYS: He was good friends with Edward Thomas just when they were both in England. Edward Thomas was English but when Robert Frost went and lived in England they would walk through the countryside and talk about apples and poetry. It was like a young friendship and so it was a lot of sort of excitement around the friendship and about the discoveries of the apples and about their discussions of poetry. So it became - I think for Frost - the apple, especially the yellow skinned apple which is what they would often find and eat, became a symbol for him of that friendship because Edward Thomas went on to die in the first world war. He enrolled at the age of 36 and died, first day of battle.

LL: And now as you said as you were looking into this you were also facing the death of your friend. Tell us about Joanne Page.

HELEN HUMPHREYS: Joanne Page was a Kingston poet and visual artist and activist and great human being. And we were friends for 20 years and daily friends. We did a lot of things together. We did a lot of walking together. And she tasted that Apple by the cabin which was a nice thing that sort of was the she was able to taste that. Her dying was - it was a hard thing.

LL: And I'm sorry about your loss. When you started to look into the apples though and writing about them you, can tell me a little more about what the apples came to mean to you as you thought about them in relation to Joanne?

HELEN HUMPHREYS: Well this idea of the ghost orchard, which is the one tree will point you in the direction to the other trees that used to be there. So there's one tree on a hill but you can you know there were other trees once on that hill. So death came to me to seem like a similar thing. And that memory in a sense was its own ghost orchards that you remember someone the memory of them points to the larger presence of when they used to be present to their existence. So that the Apple became kind of just a poignant symbol for me I suppose that related to death but also the sweetness of life.

LL: As David reference, your book is full of these beautiful watercolor illustrations of apples from the United States Department of Agriculture a century ago. Your own grandfather painted illustrations of fruits and vegetables for seed catalogs. When you look at the paintings he made and the watercolors I am wondering what you learned from your grandfather, from the paintings about art and about life.

HELEN HUMPHREYS: Well the USDA artists were really interesting to me, not only because they painted these beautiful illustrations of apple varieties, but because they were employed by the government as clerks. They had government jobs essentially and some of them spent their whole working life 30-35 years painting apples which I found interesting. So you know my grandfather was a working commercial artist so he also spent his lifetime painting and drawing all manner of things. And I have spent my life writing. So the life of the working artist is a very daily practice and we have all devoted our lives to something that's kind of ephemeral but also you just get up and you make marks on a piece of paper every day whether you're writing or you're painting something, and hopefully they have meaning to someone later. And I don't think the USDA artists would have had any idea that sometimes their illustration is the only example as David said of a particular apple, and how valuable that has come to be.

LL: What did you learn about history from looking at all these stories of apples?

HELEN HUMPHREYS: What was interesting is that you know I didn't know much about the apple beyond the kind of regular apple in the recorded narrative that is so readily available to us. And so what I learnt really was that you know history is a point of view and if you look beyond what the recorded narrative tells you, that there are other histories. There was a whole history of the apple in terms of indigenous peoples and women and artists. You know the Hidden History of the Apple North-American in my book is basically that history. And it's something that was underneath the point of view of just Johnny Appleseed and the white settler history that was readily available. So I think that that's my take away away from that book is that, you know, never again will I just take what's on the surface. I will always look beneath what's there and that it is just a point of view.

LL: Here we are and it is fall and then the book is published, after all of the research and the emotional journey you took to. What are you thinking about when you bite into one of these nice crunchy apples?

HELEN HUMPHREYS: Well mostly it's just always kind of thrilling. Like I still sort of drive around to have an apple picking tool and I stopped by the roadside and I found some good ones this fall, by the roadside. And I just you know gather them and eat them. And it's still a beautiful thing to bite into an apple and taste the sweetness of it and think about the past and be alive. You know that it really it really points to life.

LL: Helen Humphreys thank you for your book and thank you for coming in and talking to us.

HELEN HUMPHREYS: Thank you so much, Laura.

LL: Helen Humphreys is a writer her new book is The Ghost Orchard: The Hidden History of the Apple in North America. She was in Toronto. If you have special memories of a particular apple or a story to share, go to cbc.ca/thecurrent and click on the Contact link. Coming up in our next half hour, a back to school story with a twist; twins one with autism one without heading down different paths to their first month in high school. Meet Amy and Ben in our documentary 50 50, right after the break. I'm Laura Lynch sitting in for Anna Maria Tremonti. And you're listening to The Current.

[Music: THEME]

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ENCORE: 'Ben has defined who I am': Teen and autistic twin head to different schools for first time

LL: I'm Laura Lynch and you're listening to The Current. Tomorrow on the show Anna Maria Tremonti will be speaking with the renowned couples’ therapist Esther Perel about a touchy subject. Her new book is called The State of Affairs, and it is all about infidelity. Esther Perel says we need to rethink infidelity because affairs are here to stay and they don't just happen in bad relationships but good ones too. They can reveal a lot both about ourselves and the state of modern marriage.

SOUNDCLIP

To understand modern infidelity you have to understand modern marriage. Affairs do not hurt the same way in all parts of the world. They do not shatter one's identity in that way because the marriage wasn't based on the model of ‘I have found my soul mate’. It is part of what we dream we found that makes this become the nightmare that it is. So I think the first thing that needs to happen is that for so long divorce was the stigma. Today we are much more accepting of divorce and it's infidelity that has become the new shame. It is the new stigma the idea that people would want to continue and be with their partner even after this kind of betrayal often becomes the secret that the betrayed partner has to carry, more even than the secret of the affair itself because they will be judged for wanting to stay. And that means that we don't really give credit to the resilience of a relationship, that this may not have been a bad relationship that this may even be, that may still be a good relationship.

LL: Don't Miss Anna Maria's conversation with Esther Perel tomorrow here on The Current. Well it is Thanksgiving Monday, a milestone that doesn't just mark a time to give thanks but represents a first breather for school kids. One month into the new school year. That first month of school can be challenging for any student, but it's especially true for siblings who are close and finding themselves at different schools for the first time. That's exactly the kind of fall Amy and Ben Goodes are having. They're twins and they both started high school this year. But for the first time in 10 years they're at different schools. That means a whole new set of challenges for each of them especially because Ben has autism. We brought you their story right at the beginning of the school year last month as part of our product project Adaptation. Stick around after this rebroadcast of Amy's documentary titled 50 50 for an update on how that first month of school has gone.

SOUNDCLIP

BEN: I feel nervous, about what high school I'm going to.

AMY: Okay, Library.

BEN: I don't want to be in some class with like - I don't want to be in some private school either, like, I don't want to be in some weird school. I want to be in like - I'm going to be in school of my friends.

AMY: It's the same thing with me when I go to Westdale, I won't see my friends since it's such a big school, and we'll be in completely different classes on completely different days with even sometimes different lunch hours.

BEN: Yes [unintelligible] I realize that.

AMY: So you're going to make new friends in your school just like I'm going to make new friends and my school.

BEN: Maybe I could keep some of the old friends in my class.

AMY: You're going to keep old friends. I'm going to keep old friends. You have Instagram to stay in touch with them, remember?

BEN: Yes.

AMY: And you can always call them and ask them to hang out if you ever missed them.

BEN: Okay. Okay

[Music]

AMY: That's me with my brother Ben. We are twins. We are 13. We are in the car driving past Sir William Ozler Middle School in Hamilton, Ontario, taking a trip down memory lane. Well, actually we both just graduated from middle school in June. I was in French immersion. Ben was in a regular class with an educational assistant, or EA. Growing up, I didn't really understand that there weren't speech workers for every single child. I just thought Ben had them and I didn't because why not. It was maybe chosen at random. I do know that the speech therapists help you a lot.

BEN: Yes. And they did and they made me say words like they had flashcards and they like would tell me to read like the words, and I remember of one of the first words I read out loud was và. The first word I read out loud was va.

AMY: Yes.

BEN: I remember everyone was happy and like clapping and like mom came down she was ecstatic. She was like, she was like: “Ben! You said the word!” And I was like “Whatever.”

AMY: I think you were pretty proud of yourself.

BEN: I was pretty proud of myself.

[Music]

AMY: Ben has to find who I am, in a lot of ways. I'm known as Ben’s sister. Obviously, people know me by my name, Amy, but if I'm just meeting them, or if we haven't formally met yet, they will say: “Oh, your Ben’s sister” or when been acts out they will come to me for help. When Ben is having a bad day at school, it's kind of embarrassing. At times I'm grateful when I get to leave class to help him but it's the only silver lining. A bad day for him at school is running through the halls, him bursting into a classroom and saying inappropriate things or grabbing random people by the arms and striking uproot conversations, or just being generally disruptive.

BEN: You are not autistic. You cannot understand a disability unless you have it. Like you can try, but you can't fully understand somebody who has a disability unless you have that disability. Like you cannot understand someone who can't walk or who was in a wheelchair or not…

AMY: How do you think I could understand your options better? What are some tips you can give me? Like a life hack. Give me a life hack for understanding you?

BEN: I will give you a life hack. Always try and assess my behavior. Like if it's… If it's… Like if if I'm not behaving well, then there's probably a reason for it.

[Music]

AMY: Ben and I have gone to the same school since we were in junior kindergarten. But this fall that's changing. I'm going to regular high school and Ben is going to a special school for kids with autism and I'm still trying to figure out how to feel about all that.

DAN SIERTSEMA: My name is Dan Siertsema. I am an elementary school teacher of grade seven and eight students and Ben's teacher.

AMY: Mr. Siertsema was one of my favorite teachers in middle school. My brother changed and grew a lot in Mr. Siertsema’s class. I tell Mr. S about why I'm nervous about going to new school without Ben. [To Dan Siertsema] I'm not going to be there for Ben anymore. I'm not going to be able to go into his quiet room when he needs comforting, or he's not going to be able to run into my classroom whenever he's acting out and I can calm him down. It's stuff like that. Usually when Ben had a hard day at school I would be able to see it and come home and tell Mum about it, my perspective, not just the EA's perspective. But now it's - I know nothing about Ben's day. I know nothing about the people at his school. So if someone says: “Oh Ben was terrible to this person today” I will be able to know if they're a person that's provocative or that likes to instigate, because I won't have met them. Yes I am worried about everything, but I'm so excited.

DAN SIERTSEMA: So I think my advice for both of you is to find - Now is the time to start finding your own path. So as you move into high school it's about finding and defining yourselves separate from each other. And I do believe it will actually help you be closer at home. Spending so much time, together and in each other's worlds, is challenging. I think my personal family works best during the school year and I think in the summer we actually struggle, because we get on each other's nerves. So, I think moving into high school you guys have to look at it as like “Okay, this is my path now. It doesn't mean that I'm not concerned about my sister or my brother. It doesn't mean I don't love them but now is my time to find myself identity. “

AMY: Do you have anything to add just about Ben and how… Ben.

DAN SIERTSEMA: I think that the world is very complicated and complex. We strive all the time to simplify things. We call it like a cognitive shortcut. Right. It is why we develop stereotypes. But I think it's better maybe if we just try to embrace the complexity of the world instead. And I think Ben, for me, kind of represents - He's symbolic of that complexity. You know where things aren't always as they seem, that you have to delve deeper. You have to look behind the action. You have to understand the motivation that what you're going to see is not always the intent. So, I think we have a lot to learn from individuals who don't fit a mold. And Ben is one of those individuals.

[Music]

AMY: Yes. I think complex is also a good way to describe my relationship with Ben. We try and get along. It doesn't always work out that way. That's the yin and yang of us, of twins, of a regular sister with a brother who has autism.

BEN: Wow! I'm really mature.

MOTHER: Could they hear that?

AMY: His [unintelligible] are going to be edited out, and come on Mom.

MOTHER: [Unintelligible] and all that.

BEN: Sometimes I think you like to advertise your autism. Like, you want it - In public you'll make it known that you've autism for no apparent reason, even if you're not acting silly or anything. You'll just yell I have autism, randomly.

BEN: I stopped doing that like forever ago.

AMY: You did it tonight.

BEN: No I didn't. I… Not a single word came out of my mouth about autism.

AMY: You'll act silly in public for attention.

BEN: Yes. I am aware of it. It's like… it's like I am overstimulated. There's too much light there's, too much sound and it's all coming in at once. It's just like flooding my brain.

AMY: I know what your sensory overloads are like. And I'm talking about the times where it isn't a sensory overload.

BEN: What are sensory overload like? Describe it to me. Just describe.

AMY: You know what your sensory overloads are like. You're the one who has them.

BEN: It's just like every part of my body hurts and I get overwhelmed. It's not good. I get very irritable and…

BEN: Your life is actually pretty good. If you had to experience some of the drama in your life, that I have to experience in mine, you would hate it.

BEN: If I got involved with girl stuff I'd probably be scared for my life.

[Music]

AMY: So as you can tell, like most siblings, we don't always get along. But there are plenty of times we do.

BEN: I was playing with a wheel.

AMY: Ben, look at this one. This was at Grandpa's farm, right. You were: “Oh no. This is…” [Narrating] Like taking on the trails or writing stories or looking at old photos together. He loved to play with wheels and things.

BEN: Yes.

AMT: Do you still have to do that?

BEN: Kind of.

AMY: I think you were kind of interested in the keys on the piano.

BEN: Yes, I was. I was interested in trains, too.

AMY: I remember that you loved trains and volcanoes, too.

BEN: Yes, I loved volcanoes.

[Sound: Birds chirping]

AMY: Looking ahead to next year, what do you think you're most nervous about, or excited about, or both? Since we will not be in the same school anymore, you're going to have to be on your...

BEN: Just being independent and like maybe making new friends and. Like...

AMY: Are you excited to be on your own, or are you scared to be on your own, because I am your safety net?

BEN: 50/50. I'm just worried I'll get bullied or something. Sometimes people just like they treat me like a baby just because I have autism. Like they talk to me like a toddler a puppy, and that's not very nice. Like I remember this person I was messaging on Instagram, once they found the autism they started treating me like a kid. Remember that?

AMY: I do not. How did you feel about that?

BEN: Not very good.

AMY: The truth is I feel 50/50 as well, about going to school without Ben. Not just because I won't be there for him. But I'm also worried that I don't know exactly who I am without him around.

CRYSTAL ASHER: Oh I can sit up here if it is more comfortable. Okay.

AMY: As the first day of school approaches, I know just the person to talk to about this. Crystal Asher is the mom of one of my best friends. She's known me for most of my life and she's been through a lot. Crystal is always there with good advice. [To Crystal] What do you think of my relationship with Ben?

CRYSTAL ASHER: That's a big question. I wonder. I mean I've wondered since you were little about your relationship with your brother and what it is like for you, and how you know your identity to a large degree is defined by your sibling, I think. I mean, you know, so much of the world relates to Ben in terms of his disability. You know, his difference, right his, like otherness. And I wonder how you feel about your otherness, which we all experience, and how, to what extent you feel as though that's allowed, you know?

AMY: So to answer your question - I don't know if this is going to give you an exact answer - but I still always, I felt since Ben has autism, I do you have to force myself to be more normal. I focused a lot on my behavior. I've I watch videos on like how not to be weird. I would look it up. I didn't want to be like that. Every time I acted out or someone looked at me weirdly I would wonder: “Oh do I have autism?” Like…

CRYSTAL ASHER: Wow, really?

AMY: Yes. And maybe like, I'm assuming not everyone is like this, but I always feel that, since my brother and I are so different, I have to stick to that role of being different. Kind of like you said. I have to keep all of my friends even if I want to hang out with one person, which I usually don't. I usually enjoy hanging with huge groups of people. If someone asked to come along I'll be: “Ok well don't want to seem introverted or like hiding from people. So that's my answer. I don’t know if it helps.

CRYSTAL ASHER: Mm hmm. So sort of who been is the world really shapes. Who you kind of get to be in the world? You've got to be not that, in a way. One thing that really strikes me is, you're kind of like a translator, in a lot of ways. You are that person - Have you ever seen a translator, in action?

AMY: Yes.

CRYSTAL ASHER: Right. You know, they give the translation but then they also give context. Right. Usually. So sometimes the translation is weird. Right. You know when you hear like idioms in French and they're translated and you're just like: “What? The cows are falling from the hemisphere? What?!” You know like it doesn't make any sense, but then if the translator is a good translator, they will say: “Here is what is meant by that. And here is something that you can compare that to in your own language” and you do that with your brother. You take his behavior and you put it into context with the people around you. Right. So you make it comfortable for Ben, and you make it comfortable for the people who are sometimes like: “Oh!” about some of your brother's behaviors, from time to time. And that and that's really important because not only are you handling the [unintelligible] but what you're doing and you probably don't realize this, but your facilitating cultural shift. You're helping change the narrative in your community. Because, like I understand more about autism because things that because of things that you have explained to me, very casually and very subtly and very different ways to how your parents do. Like your parents are more like advocates for Ben. You're like this cool customer who just kind of like that finesses the situation.

AMY: What is your advice for me going into high school?

CRYSTAL ASHER: Yes. I mean this must be a huge crossroad for the two of you. I mean your 13, turning 14, in a couple of months. This is a time in your life when you need to be selfish. And I never thought I'd be telling a 14 year old that they need to be more selfish [laughs].

AMY: [Laughs]

CRYSTAL ASHER: But I think that you going to a different high school to Ben, is going to facilitate you finding out a lot more about who you really are as an individual. Do you know what I mean?

AMY: Yes, I think so. I think I do, yes.

CRYSTAL ASHER: I feel like we went pretty deep.

AMY: I know. We did.

CRYSTAL ASHER: [Laughs]

AMY: Thank you very, very…

[Music]

AMY: As we drive past our middle school, Ben reminds me what it was like when we first came here in grade 6.

BEN: Just thinking about when I used to go, when I came to this school. I was so frightened and I was happy.

AMY: Why were you scared?

BEN: Because it was a new environment. That's why.

AMY: Do all new environments scare you, or was it just a new school that frightened you?

BEN: You know, a new school, but at the end of the day, it was actually a good thing that I went here.

AMY: So you think that when we go to separate high schools that our relationship is going to change at all? Do you think it's going to be for the better? Absence makes the heart grow fonder, or for the worse, we're going to drift apart and become distance?

BEN: We're I think… I think… I think we'll be closer because we won't see as much as often. We won't see each other as often.

AMY: So we're going with the absence makes the heart grow fonder route?

BEN: Yes.

AMY: Cool.

[Indistinct conversation]

AMY: The day is finally here. It's time to go to our first day at our new school.

BEN: I hope you have a great day today.

AMY: You too. I love you. Stay safe.

BEN: I will.

AMY: [Sound: kiss] Bye.

BEN: Bye.

AMY: Ben looks a little nervous and excited too, as he gets into my mom's car.

[Sound: Car engine starting]

[Sound: Chatter]

AMY: I'm excited too. I walk through the doors of my new school and I'm suddenly a little fish in a big pond. Some of the grade 12 students look like grownups and they have beards. I go to art class and English class and geography. And then in the Latin class, I hear yelling outside the door. And for a second, I think it's Ben about to burst in. The feeling was odd. Like Mr. S said, it's complicated.

[Music]

LL: And when that documentary first aired Amy and Ben Goodes were just starting their new year in separate schools. We checked back with them a month later to see how things are going.

SOUNDCLIP

BEN: Okay Amy we've been in our separate schools for a month. How is your school life going?

AMY: School is stressful obviously. It is a big change from grade eight but I was a lot more worried than I should have been. There's not as much homework as I thought. Of course I have late nights where I have to stay up and study but I thought every single night.

BEN: Lucky.

AMY: How does that make me lucky?

BEN: You get like freedom like you have a responsibility and with responsibility comes freedom.

AMY: Then I have so many responsibilities but that does not mean I have freedom. I have nothing near freedom. So what's it been like for you the first month of school?

BEN: It's been good. It's been relatively good. I really want to get into a normal high school maybe. So I'm working hard and like the school works hard but hey it's just a part of life like don't take it personally. It's a smaller school only has about 21 kids and they're all in the spectrum. Some are higher functioning than others and I'm one of the higher functioning kids there. So I get to do special privileges. Like, I help out a lot. Like, I do lunch monitor. I lunch monitor every day. I do a lot like I help I help calm the lower functioning kids. I help assess the situation. I kind of help translate because I'm on the spectrum. Like if they want something I'll tell the teacher what they want because they're not sure. Sometimes like for example the other day there was a kid he couldn't talk and the teacher wanted him to get up and go do something and he was still eating, like he had food in his mouth so he could have choked and I told the teacher that and the teacher told him to finish his food. Amy what's it like without me in the same school?

AMY: It's different. You know it's. I don't have to watch over it was more which is I guess good and bad. I haven't really deciphered or haven't figured out if it's good or bad yet. Last week when you called me to talk about your break down at school, it was really - It was a different feeling. I was, that's kind of one of the moments where I really noticed that we were not at the same school anymore how different it was. I heard that you got through it okay despite having a pretty hard morning and that made me pretty happy. But I was also pretty happy to know that you needed my help and that I could help you with it. I was of use. I could talk to you.

BEN: That's fine. You cannot always be there for me. I can take care of myself.

AMY: I know. Since it's only been a couple of weeks since we've started school and been in different schools, our relationship hasn't changed too drastically. But I've noticed that it's shifting a little it's changing a little bit. It's starting to become different.

BEN: For better or for worse?

AMY: For better and for worse. I think that we're less annoyed with each other because we're not seeing each other all the time 24/7.

BEN: Yes.

AMY: I can see in the future not right now but I can see that it might start pulling us apart and that we might not be as close anymore and that's a little scary.

BEN: Well we could - that's like not set in stone. Like we can try and like become closer as siblings. I mean like we're close right now so we just have to maintain that bond.

AMY: I know we don't have to drift apart. It's just it's happening on its own. I'm also incredibly worried about you, a lot of the time or at least some of the time.

BEN: That's understandable.

AMY: I hope you know that I brag about you to my friends a little more than is socially acceptable. I love bragging about you and talking about your accomplishments and when you're done.

BEN: That is socially acceptable.

AMY: My new friends that haven't met you. A few of them want to meet you. So you're pretty popular among my friends.

BEN: Maybe you can hook me up with a few.

AMY: [Laughs]

BEN: Tall and handsome. I Could build . Nice and clever and smart and caring and Kind of a lady’s man.

AMY: [Laughs] Yes you are.

BEN: Look at my smile.

[Both laugh]

LL: That was Ben and Amy Goodes and to check that smile, head to our website at cbc.ca/thecurrent. And this isn't just a Thanksgiving holiday for them, they are also celebrating their 14th birthdays today. Happy birthday to Amy and Ben. That is our program for today. Stay tuned to Radio 1 for Q. Today Tom Power is joined by the legendary actor Alan Alda who has a new book out all about communication. It's titled If I Understood You, Would I Have This Look on My Face? And remember you can to always take The Current with you to go on the CBC Radio app. It's free from the App Store or Google Play. After all our talk about Apple's earlier in today's show let's end off on this Thanksgiving Monday with a little Canadian music and slowing things down, taking time to watch the apples grow. This is Stan Rogers with Watching the Apples Grow. I'm Laura Lynch in Vancouver. Anna Maria will be back with you tomorrow. Thank you for listening to The Current.

SOUNDCLIP

[Music: Watching the Apples Grow Song]

It's early up, Ontario farm

Chicken crow for day

I wish I grew Annapolis apples

Up above Fundy's Bay

Oh, it seems so far away

On the ridge above Acadia's town

To the valley down below

The evening shadow falls upon the families

Listening to the radio

And watching the apples grow

Down on the farm

Back among the family

Away from Ontario

Hear the ladies singing to the men

Dancing in the heel and toe

And watching the apples grow

Ontario, you know I've seen

A place I'd rather be

Your scummy lakes and your city of Toronto

Don't do a damn thing for me

I'd rather live by the sea

I'd watch the V's of geese go by

The foxfoot in the snow

I'd climb the ridge of Gaspereau Mountain

Look into the valley below

And watching the apples grow

Down on the farm

Back among the family

Away from Ontario

Hear the ladies singing to the men

Dancing in the heel and toe

And watching the apples grow

Down on the farm

Back among the family

Away from Ontario

Hear the ladies singing to the men

Dancing in the heel and toe

And watching the apples grow

Down on the farm

Back among the family

Away from Ontario, oh, oh!

Hear the ladies singing to the men

Dancing in the heel and toe

And watching the apples grow

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