This is an observation from my childhood. The neighbours next door were building their house and had left a big wooden box in the yard. My girl friends and I claimed it as ours, telling my brother and his friends to keep out. We managed to hold our position, but it was a hot day and we nearly died of the heat. It wasn’t the victory we had hoped for…but then, war is full of disappointments.
I heard from readers whose kids created "no girls aloud" forts because of this storyline. Good thing. Not only did it get them out of the house, it created serious discussion. TV can’t provide that kind of entertainment!
This was a serious comment. Those of us who are polite, understanding, and non-threatening, often find ourselves left to the last, in favour of customers who are demanding and miserable to deal with. Go figure.
We did get a new fridge, but it was delivered and installed by professionals. During the delivery, I wondered how we’d have managed on our own. Asking myself, "What if?" was always a great way to start a series of strips.
We never had a dog when we were kids, though my dad, my brother, and I all wanted one. Mom put her foot down knowing a pet would be another thing she would be responsible for. She said no to a dog, and she ruled the roost. Nonetheless, we dreamed that someday, we’d be able to have this kind of close and loving relationship with a dog. Neither my dad nor my brother ever adopted a puppy, but I did. My first dog was Farley; an old English sheepdog, purchased by my first husband, Doug Franks, and I on a Sunday afternoon drive into the Ontario countryside. He later became the character "Farley" in FBorFW. My next dog was "Willy": a sweet little black Spaniel. Katie picked him out of a pet store window and declared him "family" since he had such big feet. Willy became my pet and constant companion. My mom knew what she was talking about when she said a dog would become her responsibility. Willy was certainly mine, but it was a responsibility that brought me 8 years of fun, activity and genuine pleasure.
The outrage continued as the second comment appeared. There was no internet, so I heard from my editors at the syndicate (who knew the ending to the story) and from newspaper editors who were fielding complaints from readers who were phoning in.
This is another true story. Considering the "one-comment-a-day" nature of comic strip story telling, you can imagine the response I got from the SPCI (Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Insects) supporters when they read this panel. There was outrage!
I have a friend whose husband refused to eat leftovers. He simply refused. He wanted everything to be "fresh," so she went out of her way to make him happy. (Yes, even in this century!) From time to time, however, she would make quiche or a delicious casserole. Served with a light salad, it was a perfect meal, and he would eat with gusto not knowing that yesterday’s veg, ham, bacon, and whatever else would cook up, had gone into the meal. It was years before he realized he’d been eating leftovers. This is a true story. They are still married, and he now eats whatever is put in front of him. Stir-fry anyone?
My mother used to make us sit at the table until everything on our plates was gone. My brother and I might sit there until bedtime, and if the meal wasn’t finished, we’d find it set out (cold) for breakfast the next morning. No fooling! "Waste not, want not" was the catch phrase of the day…and I never really did understand what it meant!
Yes, I realized as we were dismantling the kitchen that this would be the perfect time to remodel the dining room, too. This meant removing a wall between the kitchen and dining room to create an "open concept." Open, much like my husband’s mouth when I made the suggestion.
My first husband used to watch all kinds of sports on TV. It didn’t matter what else was going on or what time it was, if there was a game on TV, he’d be lying on the couch watching it. I once suggested screwing legs onto him and turning him into a couch–that way he’d be useful. He didn’t respond. He was too busy watching television.
Here’s where Annie’s husband, Steve, had a small role. Until now, he had just been a shadowy figure. I’d alluded to his infidelity, but had never gone into that story. It was a rather daunting one, and I wasn’t ready. I did, however, see him as a bit of a hoarder, so when the Pattersons did their renovation, he was there to salvage their cast-off materials. At the time, I could see Annie and Steve’s garage crammed with stuff and all of the ensuing family squabbles it might cause. I imagined all of the interesting side stories this would generate…but in the end, I had only one statement a day to work with and my readers spent less than 30 seconds reading it! I never developed the "hoarder" side of next-door neighbour, Steve. There wasn’t time.