For the entire run of this story, librarians were mad!
For the entire run of this story, librarians were mad!
Our small wartime house on Fifth Street had a wood and coal furnace. Warm air was forced through grates in the floor, and these grates were used for everything from drying socks to warming up Plasticine. Plasticine was (and still is) a superb modelling material with which we played endlessly. Heating the house was costly, so our home was often quite cold. We would play on the floor near one of the floor grates, and the smell of warming Plasticine is something I can still recall. I also remember scraping the melted stuff off the floors and the grates when we’d forgotten to remove it.
In our elementary school, we had those large water-filled metal heaters, shaped like a row of packaged hot dogs. Having used the heating system at home for melting stuff, I was intrigued by the possibilities presented by these heaters! At one end, there was an L-shaped valve, which had a small indentation on the top. This tiny valve was very hot, and interestingly, a wax crayon fit into the indentation perfectly. Within a few days, the classroom heaters had a rainbow of melted wax on one end, and an APB was put out for the guilty party. Due to my already colourful reputation, I was detained posthaste and sent to the principal’s office. Another memory I have is of scraping melted crayon off the heaters at school, a punishment to fit the crime!
At the time these strips were done, I was travelling a great deal. I went on book tours, I did speaking engagements, and I attended various fairs and comic art related events. Sometimes, we went as a family, but more often, I went alone. The library convention was to allow me to use some of my experiences in the strip.
One time when I was packing to leave for a speaking engagement, Aaron looked at me and said, “Are you turning into Lynn Johnston AGAIN?!”
My frequent absences were a great thing for my business, but they were not such a good thing for my family.
For a while I was under the impression that clothing for speaking engagements and other business attire was considered a business expense, and therefore, tax deductible. It wasn’t. I should have asked my accountant for advice before having so much fun at my favorite clothing shops!
If nothing else, travelling gave me an opportunity to get out of the house — a house in which I often felt like a prisoner.
The breakfast in bed scenario is always shown in cartoons as a parent in bed and the kids delivering a messy meal. I wanted to turn it around and have the kids messing up their own space. I thought this was more often the case.
I have met many interesting folks on my travels. When I’m travelling alone on a plane, I wonder if I can guess what the person next to me does. If my seatmate and I are both keen to engage in conversation, I discover I am always wrong; I can never guess by looking at another passenger what they are like and what they do for a living. This intrigues me.
My brother-in-law, Ralph, was a textile designer. One of the things he would do was to feel the fabric you were wearing and announce what it was made of. He also played the organ and wrote music for the United Church. We called him “a man of the cloth.”
Because they are, in essence, public speakers, I find ministers and priests to be engaging conversationalists — and unless I broach the subject, they rarely talk about religion.
I once met a young Asian doctor on a long flight once. We hit it off well and found ourselves discussing all kinds of personal subjects. One was our parents and how we got along with them. With the promise that we would not exchange last names or contact info, we candidly opened up to each other about everything from inheritance issues to lingering resentments. It was intense. The time went by fast, and by the end of the flight, we had advised, commiserated with, and consoled each other. It was one of the most intimate and compelling discussions I have ever had — and I will never know or meet that amazing young man again!
Another real incident — but I was the one who made the hole in the track pants and my mother was the one who couldn’t imagine how it had happened!
Back to travelling…
One of the things I had to teach myself was to have small bills ready for tips and to know how much to give for which service.
Hard to believe that the invention of the wheeled suitcase took so long!
I do love checking into a clean, attractive hotel room — knowing that I don’t have to wash the porcelain receptacles or change the sheets. When I was a busy mom, this was a luxury I craved!
I never order room service — I hate to be seen at my worst by anyone but family!
This story line was based on the trip I made annually to Winnipeg to attend “Contact.” This event was a venue for performers willing to travel to the north to showcase their talent and to meet the community representatives who would hire them. I was the rep for Lynn Lake. It was my pleasure to hire performers and arrange the various stops on their tours in our area. I have remained friends with a number of wonderful people who were billeted with us when they came to town.
The real story behind this strip was quite different from what you see here. It began with a dream. I was on a dock on Bowen Island waiting for the ferry to arrive. It came in with a rush of water and a hiss from the engines, and when it pulled in, the hull hit the wooden pilings and the waves pushed it up and down against them, making an awful, rhythmic scraping sound. This became so loud, it woke me up. There I was in bed, with my arm around my husband, and he was snoring … with the same rhythmic, grating sound!
Every time I attend a function alone, I am lucky enough to find someone with whom I can share the experience. I have remained friends with several wonderful ladies who, in the space of a few days, became soul mates.
One of these ladies is a pastor, another is a psychiatrist. I guess we all work in “public relations!”
A friend of mine was working as a volunteer in a school, helping kids who had trouble reading. It was her observation that the kids thought to be slow to learn were often the fastest to make good decisions and show good judgment. I thought this was a nifty “so there!” to the “smart” kids who teased them!
When I was ignored in a restaurant by a waitress more interested in a table full of gents, I retaliated by doing a strip about it. Once a waitress myself, I knew that, even if you’re busy, it’s still possible to be courteous!
Tipping is always an issue when the service is poor. It was designed as a gesture of thanks, but it’s become an obligation. With this in mind, I think some service folks forget that being prompt and considerate is still part of the job!
I was taught to sew at a very early age. As soon as I could manage a needle and thread, I was darning socks and patching trousers. One of the first “grown-up” gifts I received was a sewing box of my own — into which my mother had put all of the things I would need, including a thimble, which was just my size. I kept the sewing case until it fell apart, and up until a few years ago, I still had the tiny scissors my grandmother used for cutting thread. Sewing has always been something I’ve enjoyed — as long as I didn’t have to follow a pattern or make something fit!