This comes from a remark Aaron’s grade two teacher made: “Kids always know their friends are coming back if their coats are still on the hallway hanger.” One of the children had been ill, but the class was sure he’d be back — simply because something of his was still there for them to see. I thought this was a significant observation!
I went to a bar with one of the women from the workshop, to celebrate our new friendship and to mourn the end of a wonderful event. We were in our 30s, and guys at another table made suggestive comments and lewd gestures the whole time we were there. I remember thinking, “I make smart-*** comments for a living, but I can’t think of one clever put-down to fling at these Neanderthals.” It was frustrating!!!
My brother and I fought over trivia; my kids fought over stupid things, too. Whether it’s caused by boredom or the need to establish territory, fighting between siblings seems to be unavoidable. My mother would say, “You two are LOOKING for an excuse to fight!” And we were.
I confess; when I went on business trips to cities where relatives were accessible, I would often “forget” to tell them I’d be there. I had so little time — most of which was taken up with meetings, interviews and book signings. I had little time to adjust before packing up and moving on. Sometimes folks were offended, but my philosophy was: If you can’t have a really good visit, then don’t visit at all! Later on, I made up for these fast take-offs and landings.
I often left things in hotel closets and I usually got them back. The only thing I knew would disappear was my little magnifying make-up mirror, which I suction-cupped to the window for maximum light. These are readily available at most pharmacies…but housekeepers, it seems, really like to take them home!
I think moms should go away once in awhile, just so the family left at home can discover for themselves what we REALLY do all day!
I went away on business several times a year. The most exhausting trips were the book tours. Authors, at the time, were routinely sent from city to city to do as much publicity as possible. At first it’s exciting and rewarding — and dangerously ego boosting as well. By the end of the tour I was tired of talking, tired of signing, and just tired of ME! Still, I was a ham — eager to please, and by the time the next book was due, I would be looking forward to the next tour.
When I look at these drawings again, it’s always from a new perspective. In this case, I wish I had drawn Elly with a happier expression. After all…a clean house is the perfect gift, no matter how it’s announced!
This is another gift from the horse’s mouth. Any time I got my husband into a clothing store, it was a special occasion. He hated to think about his attire. As long as he was comfortable, he didn’t much care about his image! He’d buy a year’s worth of clothing in one shot. The salesman would make sure that ties went with shirts, socks matched trousers, and that everything fit accordingly. Dressing him for a special occasion was much easier when there was a plan of attack. Still there were lapses, and this exact exchange took place before a dinner we had to attend.
This was pre-microwave…but still a fast-food luxury!
My mom was a talented gardener. You might think it takes little know-how to plant something and watch it grow, but coaxing a seed or a bulb to its full potential takes knowledge, experience and skill. My mother had the ability to create a productive garden — and the patience and foresight to pass it on.
A question like this would have made my parents get out the encyclopedia and look up the answer. My mother especially enjoyed teaching us stuff about plants and animals and would easily pick up a snake or a spider to show us it was something to admire. She was responsible I’m sure for my brother’s degree in biology and my years working as a medical artist!
Mrs. Baird was a background character who was meant to be put aside once Farley came into the family (her hobby was breeding Old English sheepdogs). To tie in with this, I also did a few strips about her being a friendly neighbour. I guess her short appearance struck a chord with some readers who asked to see her more often. In this Sunday page, I have her working in her greenhouse and talking to Michael — in a way that enabled me to say more about her personality and her past.
If Mrs. Baird was based on anyone at all, it would have been the ladies who lived across the street from us when I was growing up in North Vancouver. They were sisters, the “Miss Stewarts.” They taught kindergarten and piano and were endlessly patient with me. I made a habit of going to their home uninvited and was rarely told that they had no time. When I needed an extra hug or another grown-up opinion, I headed for the Miss Stewarts’ house and twisted the ringer on the front door to be let in.
Not long ago, I was in North Vancouver and I went for a nostalgic walk down Fifth Street. Their old wood frame house is still there, though mine is now a condo complex. A notice was on their fence to say the house and the one next door would soon be condos as well. I’m glad I got to see it one more time. There have been many unforgettable folks in my life, and these two ladies are certainly among them!
The towels in our family bathroom were often filthy. Alan and I would “wash” our hands but were always in too much of a hurry to use soap!
The quote “home bought” came from my childhood. My mom was always making bread and cookies, so for us, the ones that came in a package were a treat. My faves were “Dad’s” Oatmeal cookies and “Wonder Bread.” Every so often, instead of having homemade cookies, I begged for “home bought!”
This was true. My house and my yard were always full of kids, and though it sometimes became a chore, I always knew where my children were!
I got my first real burn from my curling iron. I was in a hurry; it flew out of my hand, and stupidly, I tried to catch it. I had to wear a bandage on my hand for two weeks. The pain and the inconvenience made me aware of how dangerous these things can be, so when my kids were around, I was extra careful with it. I made sure they knew it could be dangerous, that it was not a toy and should never be played with. I was certain that my lecture was well heeded until the day I noticed my curling iron had been put away “differently.” When I examined it, I saw nylon and some other substance melted to the barrel. I never found out what my kids had been doing with it or what they had destroyed, which reminds me: Now that they are adults, they tell me stories of “what really happened” when I wasn’t looking — I’ll have to ask about the curling iron!!
The library where Elly volunteered was based on the library in Dundas, Ontario, where I went with Aaron to borrow toys and books and to take in the free events put on for kids. There were readings, films, children’s shows, and an annual yard sale — the profits from which went to buy the toys we all borrowed and appreciated so much. That library was a resource and a refuge, and even though these images were sparse in detail, I felt I was “there” when I drew them!
My folks taught us to appreciate money. Anything over and above the weekly allowance had to be earned. There were always small chores assigned — easy enough to be completed, yet significant enough to be helpful. We were genuinely pleased with ourselves for finishing a job and excited about the payment afterwards. The next lesson was to make sure the money was well spent. With the corner store a short bike-ride away, that part of the lesson took a bit longer to sink in.