What’s fun about illustrations like this one is the obvious use of things used in the 80s. Here you see the old style telephone. With the move to BC from Ontario, I rid myself of the old landline phone and its spiral cord, and something familiar disappeared. I never thought about it being a relic until on a recent trip to New York. I stayed in an old hotel where the young concierge was struggling with a hopelessly twisted phone cord. I took the receiver from him, held the end of the cord closest to the phone, and let the receiver spin until the knots were out of it. The cord hung down perfectly. "How did you do that?!" he asked, surprised. I couldn’t believe that a modern, technically savvy young man hadn’t figured it out for himself. Oh, how times have changed!
This is the way I talked to my kids; trying to let them know that they hadn’t fooled me. I knew exactly what they were up to and it wasn’t working. From their point of view, of course, everything worked perfectly.
The complex business of when to tell and when not to stymies everyone. Sometimes you’re a tattletale; sometimes you’re a hero. When I wrote for the kids, I could feel the inconsistency and the unfairness, and it occurred to me that "telling" is a tattletale when said with a whine, and information when said with anxiety.
A kid in my neighbourhood taunted us all with a bowl of ice cream…just the way Richard is doing here. I went home and asked for ice cream and my mother told me I should have something healthy instead. She gave me a big carrot. I went outside, chewing the carrot. When the kid came up to me to taunt me again, I spat my mouthful of pulverized carrot into his ice cream. I still feel good about that today.
Another true story. The fact that this happened to me more than once suggests a rather startling lack of intuition. A night-light was installed around the same time as the offending male trained himself to kindly put down the seat.
When my marriage dissolved, I was on my own wondering if I would ever find someone to share my life with again. When I did go out with a gentleman, I always wanted to know if they met with my children’s approval!
I have friends who live in seniors’ homes, and the number of connections made between the residents is heartwarming. What I never knew when I was young is that relationships can be exciting and fulfilling and romantic at any age. Thank goodness for that!
My job sometimes required me to work all hours; weekends, evenings, and sometimes, holidays. Even though Kate and Aaron understood what it meant to be working on a deadline, they often wished I’d break away from my drafting table and be mom for a while.
As a kid, I was on my own a lot. My folks had a gift and jewellery store, which meant that they worked all day, every day, weekends and evenings, too. It was my job to get the dinners ready. My mom would put all the ingredients together and leave a detailed description of what to do. After awhile, I considered myself the chief cook! By the age of 13, I was proud of myself for being able to make meals for everyone, and I still use the recipes my mother wrote for me then!
I wanted to be a teenager so badly. Ten wasn’t good enough, and twelve was agonizingly close. When I finally added the "teen" to my age, I felt I had achieved something wonderful. I know I had an attitude. Like all my friends, I suffered the ups and downs of fitting into a new body with all the hormones raging. But it was a time of great positivity as well. I guess it was confidence that made being thirteen so wonderful. I had a supportive and loving family, I was doing well in school, I had confidence, education and security. I never knew how lucky I was.
As I wrote and drew these strips, the angst and the fury came back to me. It’s so hard to be in the body of a young adult, with the imagination of a child and the knowledge of an adult. I knew a lot more than my folks did, and yet, I was trapped, unable to drive or be out past 10 in the evening, or make important decisions on my own. I was also embarrassed when times got tough and I desperately needed my dad!
When you are writing material for a comic strip or for any other dialogue, be it a stage play or even stand-up comedy, you create a situation in which there is sentiment, a reason to question, observe or pontificate. Then you write a possible exchange of views as you see here. Sometimes the exchange is within yourself, but there is always a path to the punch line. In writing with the voice of a child, I wrote a question I thought would be realistic using the right turn of phrase. With luck and a little guidance from the "muse," I got a funny response. On days when the writing goes well, you feel like a genius. On days when the writing goes badly, you feel like a jerk. The roller coaster of this job sure made life interesting!
I was glad that the fireworks tradition wasn’t part of an Ontario or Manitoba Halloween. On more than one occasion, we were threatened by big kids who wanted to ignite our paper costumes with "lady fingers" (small, red, tube-shaped fireworks) or sparklers. Every year, someone got hurt.