Monthly Archives: May 2012

Tuesday May 1, 2012

Lynn’s Notes:

We had one bathroom in our house and my dad loved to sit there, read, and smoke. Sometimes he would sit for so long, his legs would fall asleep and he’d stumble out into the hall. This was the only room in the house with a locking door, which is why he chose to relax there. He called it his refuge – we called it a huge inconvenience!

Wednesday May 2, 2012

Lynn’s Notes:

When dad had a mind to build something, he made great stuff. Trouble was, he under-built everything, and what looked like a sturdy vehicle, would last for perhaps two good runs. St. Andrews and St. George’s Streets bordered our block of East Fifth and were two of the steepest hills in North Vancouver. Our “Dad-made” go-karts disintegrated instantly – but they had potential. Each one he built lasted a bit longer than the last one, and we always hoped for a kart that would make it through the summer.

Thursday May 3, 2012

Lynn’s Notes:

Our dad was a big kid at heart. He enjoyed riding the hills as much as we did. I always wondered why he was so eager to join us
in our games and our fantasies. I later read in his sister’s (my aunt Bessie’s) diary, that he had always held a part time job, and
after his dad was injured in the shipyards, he was sent to work full-time at the age of seventeen to help support his family. He
never really had a childhood – and loved to share in ours.

Friday May 4, 2012

Lynn’s Notes:

After watching Dad build yet another dud, Alan decided to build a more conventional go-kart. He took apart our old baby carriage and used the wheels. This looked good, but the axles and the wheels were too flimsy to withstand our abuse. Mom was angered by the destruction of the carriage, so Al removed the carriage wheels and took apart our wagon instead!

Sunday May 6, 2012

Lynn’s Notes:

Katie was able to crawl into the tiniest places and we did “lose” her in our roomy house from time to time. One of her favourite spots was under the kitchen sink, which meant I had to put the soaps and cleaners in another place. Convenience always takes a back seat to safety!

As a kid, I loved hide and seek. I attended kindergarten in a private home across the street from ours. Our teacher, Miss Stewart, often had us play this game, but we had to stay within the classroom. How dull! I knew her house well and when it was my turn to hide, I left the room and hid in her broom closet. Kids searched for me and Miss Stewart hollered. I eventually got bored waiting for them to find me, so I decided to surprise them all by taking my clothes off. When Miss Stewart opened the door to the broom closet, there I was in my birthday suit. Immediately, she pulled a small rug off the floor, flung it in front of me, and told the class of giggling kids to go back to their chairs and wait. At once, I was shoved into my duds. Miss Stewart’s sister watched the class as she marched me across the street to my house. Mom opened the door to a barrage of complaints, accepted me into the house, thanked Miss Stewart, and sent me to my room. That day, I was expelled from kindergarten. I guess this was the last straw!

Monday May 7, 2012

Lynn’s Notes:

Living on my own and working freelance meant that I was always very short of cash. One of the things I hated most was asking my clients for the money they owed me. I did all the right stuff; I had a proper billing system and a business license. All I needed was to be paid on time. It amazed me when people who could well afford to pay, made me wait for weeks – sometimes months…or didn’t pay at all. I had to become more assertive, but it was hard!

Tuesday May 8, 2012

Lynn’s Notes:

I was once hired to do an illustration for a magazine in Nova Scotia. It was a rush job. I had to get the art there by courier – for which I paid. When I didn’t receive a cheque in ninety days, I called to complain. I was told they had used another artist’s work, and since they “paid on publication” and my work had not been published, I was out of luck. I was also out the courier charges!

Wednesday May 9, 2012

Lynn’s Notes:

Situations like this are not uncommon for freelance artists, writers, and musicians. The philosophy seems to be; “The skill comes FREE to you, so it should come free to me, too!” This same freeloader wouldn’t think of not paying their dry-waller or mechanic, but artists are used and abused! It’s all part of the education you need in order to survive. You soon learn to value your own work, and to defend your right to make a living by it!

Thursday May 10, 2012

Lynn’s Notes:

I once did a series of illustrations for a publisher who produced a quarterly children’s annual. He didn’t pay me and wouldn’t answer my calls. I came up with a plan. The next time he needed a small piece of art, I agreed to do it, but rather than mail it to him, he had to come to my home and pick it up. When he arrived, I refused to give him the art until he paid his bill. He said he was broke and would do anything to even things up. I asked him to mow my lawns, which he did. I still savour that image!

Friday May 11, 2012

Lynn’s Notes:

Going back to the story of the Nova Scotia magazine and the unpaid bill: We artists are a clan. We stand up for each other. A large, aggressive illustrator I knew was heading home to the east coast to visit his family. I told him about the magazine, which had commissioned an illustration from me and refused to pay because they had used another artist’s work. He happened to know the editor of this magazine and promised to see what he could do. A few weeks later, he came to my home with a cheque for fifty dollars – the amount I was owed. I was thrilled. I asked what he had done to convince the editor to pay my bill. He said, “Well, after I reached over, grabbed his shirt, and pulled him across his desk, he thought it might be a good idea to pay up.”

Sunday May 13, 2012

Lynn’s Notes:

This scenario has been a cartoon staple for years. Even though we all try not to duplicate something we’ve likely seen before, there is always the need to do it your own way, using your own characters. The thing is to try and do it better than the last guy! I didn’t succeed in doing this better than Doug Wright (“Nipper”) for example, but simply drawing one more mess was enough to make me do this old chestnut one more time. My kids never did make me breakfast in bed – it’s not something I like. I did hear from moms who enjoyed it, though – and I emphasize the past tense!

Monday May 14, 2012

Lynn’s Notes:

Alan would often call my kids “short one,” which I thought was charming. One day on a business trip, I got into an elevator with a woman and her young son. I looked down at him and said, “Hiya, short one!” His mom immediately berated me for saying cruel things to a child who had an illness and was abnormally small for his age. AAAUGH!

Tuesday May 15, 2012

Lynn’s Notes:

The comment “What you need is a wife,” never used to bother me. I didn’t think of it as sexist. For the most part, we are more organized; we like to keep things clean and tidy. Today, however, I’m more likely to take the side of the independent woman and say, “What you need is discipline, pride, and self control!” After his marriage, by the way, my brother became extremely tidy!

Wednesday May 16, 2012

Lynn’s Notes:

Parents of young children can easily carry on two conversations at once. While showing a toddler that you are there and paying attention to them, you can also listen to and process adult communication. This is not something a non-parent can tolerate and now that I’m well past coddling a toddler, I can’t stand it either!

Friday May 18, 2012

Lynn’s Notes:

One of the many things I enjoy about my brother is his storytelling. When he was living in Hamilton, Ontario (I lived twenty minutes down the road in Dundas) his adventures with roommates, neighbours, and friends would liven up an evening. He could take amazingly uncomfortable situations and make them sound hilarious. It was stand up comedy at its best; one person’s method of coping is another’s entertainment.

Saturday May 19, 2012

Lynn’s Notes:

Alan was a good catch – but a slippery one. I met a few of the girls he went out with; nice people, easy to have around. None scared him like Joan did, however, because she was “the one.” I remember him talking about her with the kind of angst that comes when you are at a crossroads and have to make a serious decision. Did he really want to get married? Was he doing the right thing? In the end, they both made the right choice. Al and Joan have just celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary.

Sunday May 20, 2012

Lynn’s Notes:

One of my Mom’s tastiest recipes was for a cherry loaf cake. Unable to resist maraschino cherries, I would pull out the ones closest to the surface, leaving “mouse holes” in the cake as it sat on the counter to cool. I remember my mom being pretty irate by my inconsiderate attack on her baking, but I regarded it as a compliment – an honest display of appreciation. Her “punishment” one day, was to make me bake the same cake on my own to see how much work it was. When it came out of the oven, it was beautiful. I was so proud of having made my favourite cake; I couldn’t wait for my dad to see it. When he came in after work, I led him straight to the kitchen and discovered that my mother had picked all the visible cherries out of it.

Monday May 21, 2012

Lynn’s Notes:

Aaron and Katie were pretty good about eating whatever I made – but company cooking could pose a problem. I was often determined to make something I’d never made before, and sometimes, the results were less than great. This meant the kids ate Kraft Dinner while our guests ate the experiment. Only once, my husband said he wished he had taken that option as well.

Wednesday May 23, 2012

Lynn’s Notes:

Before he bit the bullet and proposed to Joan, Alan did ask us a lot of questions about things like cohabitation, home ownership, the right to go fishing if he wanted to. One really good thing was that we had come from a very solid home. Sure, our folks had their ups and downs. They both came from very different backgrounds and were often at odds with each other, but they lived in an era when you saw it through to the end. Marriage was more than a contestable contract – it was, “’til death do you part.”

Friday May 25, 2012

Lynn’s Notes:

There is only one down side to having a dishwasher: it has killed kitchen conversation. Great moments can occur when people, after a good meal, enter the sanctity of the kitchen to clean up. Those who choose to do the task are at liberty to discuss anything – knowing they will be uninterrupted. I got to know my father really well because he washed and I dried. Confidences, opinions, admissions, and jokes are all part of the cleansing process now killed by the dishwasher. But, I’m still keeping mine!

Sunday May 27, 2012

Lynn’s Notes:

When this strip was released, I received a number of letters from women, mostly, saying that they too wanted bathtub faucets you could turn off with your feet. Whenever I travelled, people would comment on strips like this one and they would immediately start to tell me some intimate truth, some personal thing you would never tell a stranger! I heard about people’s sleep habits, their food preferences, their parenting tips, their illnesses. They told me other things, too; about their fears and failures, their marriages, divorces, and family backgrounds. It was as if I had become a familiar friend who would always listen, be supportive, caring, and discreet. This kind of trust is something I will always cherish – it’s the best part of having done a family’s story with a bitter-sweet style.

Monday May 28, 2012

Lynn’s Notes:

Michael has been smitten by Deanna and has heard his uncle talking about Georgia. He knows that love, whatever it is, carries a powerful punch and serious consequences – should you fall! I remember being hopelessly in love in first and then again in third grade. Nobody would have believed the extent of my “crushes” or how badly I wished the boys I liked would return my affection. Puppy love really is serious stuff to a kid and shouldn’t be casually dismissed!

Tuesday May 29, 2012

Lynn’s Notes:

In a neighbourhood where boys outnumbered girls (and the girls were GIRLY) I tried to fit in by being as gross, grubby and rude as the boys were. I wanted to join their club – but the initiation was: you had to pee through the knot-hole in Gary Perkins’ garage. Not having the necessary equipment, I offered to spit my way to acceptance. This I had learned to do on the back porch with my dad and when the time came for my initiation, I beat Gary by two feet, six inches. As a member, I had to constantly impress the guys with outrageous acts and better my last indiscretion to prove I was worthy. When you think of it, this was preparation for jobs later on – where women were not treated as equals!

Wednesday May 30, 2012

Lynn’s Notes:

Down the lane behind our house, the garbage cans waited. Every lid was a potential shield, every can a treasure chest. Eldon Avenue residents checked their cans as soon as school was out – knowing that a stream of kids would soon be tumbling by, looking for fun and mischief. After a year in Lynn Lake, none of us knew whose lid was on which can – and it never occurred to us to wire them on!

Thursday May 31, 2012

Lynn’s Notes:

Janice was going to be a regular character in FBorFW. I was looking forward to having a rough and tumble girl down the block who would be an even match for the boys. She was named for a tough kid I knew growing up, and I hoped to explore some of my more daring exploits through her. I imagined Mike and Lawrence battling Janice and other “enemies” in an ongoing quest for neighbourhood supremacy. Sadly, Janice soon disappeared. Perhaps she came on too strong. Perhaps I bowed to reader criticism. Either way, I lost a neat character and some potentially good story lines.