Monthly Archives: May 2011

Sunday May 1, 2011

Lynn’s Notes:

My mother made Katie a white stuffed bunny, which became her favorite toy. It went everywhere with her. Because it was so important, “Bunny” became a target for her older brother who’d hide, throw or otherwise mistreat it just to get a rise out of Kate.

Fortunately, Bunny was well made and survived everything from the bathtub to the sandbox to travelling all over the continent. Still, I worried that he’d somehow disappear and asked my mom to make a spare, just in case. Mom made two more bunnies – a boy and a girl. She made outfits for both and eventually all three bunnies were essential to Kate’s day. We still have these. Tattered and worn from washing and play, they are family treasures. They were made from scraps and cost nothing, but they’re worth far more than I can say!

Monday May 2, 2011

Lynn’s Notes:

Living through Annie’s pregnancy was a lot of fun. I got to talk to expectant moms about their experience and to remember my own. Looking at baby clothes is something we (ladies) all enjoy doing and I often wonder why some of the whimsical fabrics found in the children’s shops couldn’t be made into lines of adult clothing. Imagine an evening gown covered in tiny cartoons of anything from funny animals to funky flowers!

Like Annie, the problem of swelling feet went along with the swelling tummy and once again, I heard from expectant readers who were glad to share their woes with their toes!

Tuesday May 3, 2011

Lynn’s Notes:

My friend Mary seemed to have a bun in the oven every year. When baby number seven was on the way, she sighed and said she wondered if this one would be the last. I assured her it was indeed the last one and she wondered how I knew. “Well”, I said, “your husband was one of seven kids and he told me he wanted the same number of children, too”.

“He did, did he?” she replied in her sweet Irish accent…”Well, why the h*** didn’t he tell ME?!!!”

We always wonder what the future will hold when we’re in the family way – but it all seems so right when we’re holding our beautiful new baby!

Wednesday May 4, 2011

Lynn’s Notes:

Uncle Phil’s relationship with Connie illustrated the single side of things and Connie’s having a child nicely complicated everything. Naturally, Elly was intrigued by her brother’s affairs. Because he was living in her home and dating her close friend she felt it was…let’s say… “her responsibility” to find out what was going on.

When my brother lived with me, however, I refused to ask him his personal life. I would wait until he confided in my other room mate, Fran…and worm the information out of her!

Thursday May 5, 2011

Lynn’s Notes:

Elly’s younger brother was a delightfully charming character whose flair for delivering a good opening line made doors open in all directions. I tried to imagine what Lawrence would think as he watched his mother flirt with uncle Phil. With his biological father out of the picture, Lawrence should have been the only man in her life. What would it be like to see his personal space invaded by someone else; someone who would be competing for his mother’s affections?

Friday May 6, 2011

Lynn’s Notes:

Never ask a kid a direct question unless you’re prepared to hear an equally direct answer! When my grandfather read the comics page to me he would rail at the interaction between the Peanuts characters saying “Children don’t talk like that! Children don’t have such intellectual thoughts!”

Privately, I disagreed with him. I might have been in first grade at the time, but I remember thinking “Of course we have those thoughts and ideas! We might not use the same words you do, but we’re smarter than you think!”

Saturday May 7, 2011

Lynn’s Notes:

When I was a single mom, I dated a man who sent my head spinning, then stopped the carousel, saying that because I was not of the same religion, I was not “forever”. His family would never accept me and he was moving on. He was a serial “shiksa” man and I was number 61! In my machinations afterwards, I fantasized his return; his begging for forgiveness and his asking for another chance (fodder for a good song). This never happened to me…but in the strip, it happens to Connie. She readily accepts Phil’s apology and for awhile their relationship goes on.

Sunday May 8, 2011

Lynn’s Notes:

Word for word this is a true exchange. Aaron and his friend Roy were allowed to go down to “Fergy’s”, the local corner store, pool hall and hang-out – and Fergy’s motto “buy or bye-bye” meant that they wouldn’t be there long. Fergy made his money on pop and penny candy and despite the difficulty in getting fresh produce into the north, the licorice was always fresh.

Licorice, ginger and chocolate are my favorite diet-breakers and the kids knew I’d shell out a few bucks if I they’d be sure to return with “the goods”.

It’s funny, this thing about licorice. It was my grandfather’s favorite, my mother’s favorite and Charles Schulz liked it too. I took him a bag of licorice allsorts when he was in the hospital and he lit up with a smile. This is what we munched on as we spoke for the last time. He died not long afterwards and every time I see licorice allsorts, I think of him.

Monday May 9, 2011

Lynn’s Notes:

My brother Alan has been playing the trumpet since he was about nine years old. He’d sit on the old blue couch in our folks’ living room and, with unyielding dedication, practice until he was exhausted. We all admired his tenacity. Dad was a musician and taught me the guitar – so music was a way of life in our family.

Eventually, Al’s musical friends entered the picture. Our basement became a rehearsal hall, the kitchen a roost and the refrigerator emptied faster than a gut full of goose grease (a quote from Dad). Beer was never a staple in our family but it soon became the weekend libation of choice. Though drinking was never a problem, Mom’s philosophy was; “If you can’t stay sober, stay home!”

Tuesday May 10, 2011

Lynn’s Notes:

During the mid 70’s when Alan wound up living in my garage, the quest for a cheap, clean apartment was ongoing. Everything from distance to parking to price thwarted his efforts and then there was the noise. Where could one practice the trumpet at midnight or two a.m. without being thrown out by heavyweights in the local Tenants’ Rights Association?

Despite his dreary existence in my garage, it provided him with cheap digs, a place to practice and a clear shot at the fridge, which was just inside the door. I wondered how long it would be before he found a more desirable location, all too aware that for now, at least… he had a pretty good deal!

Wednesday May 11, 2011

Lynn’s Notes:

Here was an opportunity to put myself in someone else’s shoes. Never having been dealt the hand that Lawrence was playing, I tried to be a small boy, watching his mother becoming something unfamiliar. Mothers aren’t supposed to date or worry about their appearance or have a social life beyond women friends, the kitchen and “ME!”

It was challenging to be Connie – a single mom, hoping for another chance at love, not wanting to risk being hurt again, wondering if her child would be treated well by someone who was not his father. It was challenging as well to be her young son. When I wrote the dialogue for these people, I was in a different world. It was a surprisingly exhausting and emotional experience!

Thursday May 12, 2011

Lynn’s Notes:

It was with some experience and in talking to friends that I put this thought on paper: Strange how someone can seem to reject you without a second thought, then feel as though they still had some kind of “ownership” when they see you with someone else!

Friday May 13, 2011

Lynn’s Notes:

We talk about “the one that got away” and somewhere in all our lives, there’s a “what if” love. What if I had married my grade 12 sweetheart? What if I’d given that guy at the university a second chance? There are so many what ifs, and yet the choices we made at the time were for a reason.

Here, Ted is confronted by his inability to make a commitment. The story will eventually end without his ever having had a strong, long term relationship. He, for one, will always be wondering “what if?”

Saturday May 14, 2011

Lynn’s Notes:

This is from the mental diary I have kept for years.

I was a single mother, lonely, unsure of myself and prone to making quick – often poor – decisions. I met an attractive young man while shopping with Aaron at a grocery store. We crossed paths as we coursed the aisles and eventually stopped to talk. He asked if I was single, I said I was and I accepted an invitation to go out.

I got a babysitter. He picked me up at my house and proceeded to drive about the town looking for a place to eat. He had a million excuses for not wanting to go here or there and we finally went to a seedy bar where neither of us would be recognized. He had a myriad odd tales. He was a detective and had to maintain his secret identity. He was working under cover. He was part of an elite swat team. As the evening wore on, his stories became more and more outlandish. I became wary and asked him to take me home. He refused, we fought and I asked the bartender to call me a cab. I was escorted to the cab by the bouncer and when I got home, I felt vulnerable and afraid.

I later discovered that my “date” was married, had a bad reputation and I was lucky to have left the bar when I did. The story doesn’t end there. He had my address and a few months later he returned, unannounced. He seemed surprised when I said I never wanted to see him again and he said “Honey you’re a dime a dozen anyway”.

I have often thought about that encounter. I wonder if he’s in jail somewhere and I also wonder if, despite my naivete, I had been very, very lucky.

Sunday May 15, 2011

Lynn’s Notes:

This is a scenario straight from my past. My dad used a blade razor for years, until electric shavers became efficient and more popular. In fact, he sold them at the store, which had become a sort of high end gift shop by the time I was in my teens. I think it was a “Ronco” shaver which came home first.

We had one small, communal bathroom so nothing was secret, sacred or safe! When Dad left the new shaver on the sink, it was only a matter of hours before Alan and I were shaving ourselves, each other and the carpet in the hall. I remember taking it apart and tapping the debris into the sink. Dad was never as miffed as Mom was by the things we did. Stuff always got tided up (by Mom) and besides, there were other shavers at the store to bring home and try. Dad could fix anything and when the Ronco jammed, he’d find a way to get it humming again.

Ladies’ shavers were introduced soon after the men’s became popular, but Mom refused to have one. She preferred a blade on her legs, she said and would never use an electric one. We put this down to her great practicality until, one day when she thought she was alone in the house… I saw her shaving her chin with Dad’s!

Monday May 16, 2011

Lynn’s Notes:

My friend Adrienne went back to school when she was 30. She finished her grade 12 and went on to become a lab technician in the blood lab at McMaster University. She was a single mom with more courage and determination than most. She made me realize that you can do anything – at any age, if you really want to. With “Andie” in mind, I had Elly go back to school and take some of the courses she had missed.

Tuesday May 17, 2011

Lynn’s Notes:

Smoking has always been a problem for me. Both my folks smoked and it was my job to clean the ashtrays. Because of the jewelry/gift shop, we had an ashtray on every surface, it seemed, and emptying them was a chore I hated! The ceiling above Dad’s chair was yellow and the curtains always had the stale smell of smoke. I would kneel on the couch, looking out the window through the sheers and vow that in my own house, there would be no smoking. It was therefore a bone of contention between Alan and I when he moved in with his habit and his reluctance to smoke outside.

Wednesday May 18, 2011

Lynn’s Notes:

Aaron was just a baby when Alan became a roommate. Aaron was thrilled to have a man around; one with a sense of humor and the time to play rough and tumble with him. It was surprising to see how well they got along together and today, my son and my brother are still the best of friends.

Thursday May 19, 2011

Lynn’s Notes:

Every time my brother went off to do a show or escort a lady to dinner, I was a bit jealous, and very curious. If I had rented my garage to a stranger, I would have left well enough alone – but because this was my brother, I had to know what was going on and with whom he was going! He was pretty good-natured about my prying. I believed I was the one with no life and all the responsibility and there were times that he thought so, too.

Saturday May 21, 2011

Lynn’s Notes:

When we accept the role of mom, we become a nurse, a psychologist, a short order cook, a laundress and an alarm clock. Our day seems to belong to everyone else. Everything has its schedule and coordinating lunches, school activities and the general business of living leaves little time in the morning for extras. There’s no time to spend on make up and hair spray – we are our basic selves. I was miffed one time to be told that I used to look GOOD in the morning! This is another strip that says out loud what I was thinking.

Sunday May 22, 2011

Lynn’s Notes:

Here is a scenario that would play out many times in my housewifely career: you make easy meals which cover all the food groups, you leave them in the fridge to be accessed by the troops and without a second thought, they bypass your well organized and clearly labeled containers…and eat junk. On your return from wherever it is you went, you then find your freshly prepared grub reduced to dried, moldering leftovers – having never seen plate nor palate.

So, you say the next time you fly the coop, there will be no meal preparation in advance and the troops can fend for them selves. I tried this once and the response was “What? You didn’t MAKE us anything?” You can’t win – which is why the freezer is such a good invention.

Monday May 23, 2011

Lynn’s Notes:

I had been doing the strip long enough by now to let a punch line go in favour of a “cliff hanger”. I hoped the readers would be sufficiently tuned in to the characters and their relationships to look for a continuation the next day.

Tuesday May 24, 2011

Lynn’s Notes:

The line “dumper-dumpee” occurred to me when I was a single mom. I was commiserating with my friend, Adrienne, who was in the same boat. Our husbands had “dumped” us both and we wondered if WE’D ever be the ones to say “goodbye”.

Wednesday May 25, 2011

Lynn’s Notes:

In Lynn Lake, there were only a few meters before you hit pay dirt on the road in front of the house. Aaron carried a constant dusting of grime wherever he went and this was a good line. I wish it had been his – but it was mine!

Thursday May 26, 2011

Lynn’s Notes:

I’ve said before that my brother’s idea of a week’s worth of groceries was several cases of beer. Well, he still comes to visit me with “groceries” but now he brings a more expensive brand!

Friday May 27, 2011

Lynn’s Notes:

This one was a regular scenario. My studio was in the house and the kids knew when I was so into my work that I was “gone”. They were pretty good about it, but now and then, they let me know – in a way kids do – that it was time to come out of the zone and be Mom again!

Saturday May 28, 2011

Lynn’s Notes:

This is one of the “put-down” punch lines that so often got me into trouble. Readers would ask why John was so unsupportive; why I made him look so mean. My husband wouldn’t say something like this…but, for some reason, I did these things without really thinking about it. Some day, maybe I’ll figure it all out.

Sunday May 29, 2011

Lynn’s Notes:

Like most dogs tall enough to reach the porcelain receptacle, Farley enjoyed a “fresh” cool swig from the commode. The sound of his lapping was intensified by the shape of the bowl, so the “slorping, galooping” effects were as entertaining as he was. What I did object to was the trail of water that poured from his hairy mug when he left the bathroom.

I was more concerned about cleaning up after him than I was about his choice of water sources. I kept the biff pretty clean and besides – dogs chew on every disgusting thing they can find anyway. I tried to keep the toilet seat down, but living with men rather thwarts any success there. The trail of post-refreshment liquid really got me down, but I lived with it for the love of Farley.

The head-bashing incident belongs to a friend who told me that her three year old son decided to take matters into his own hands after hearing his mom complain about this same problem. She was shocked to find him smacking the family pooch on the noggin as he drank from the toilet. She gave her son a lecture about abusing animals and sent him to his room for a time out. Later she confessed that despite her son’s unkind behaviour…the dog had been cured of a bad habit. In other words, he had “put a lid on it”!

Monday May 30, 2011

Lynn’s Notes:

When I did this strip I hadn’t written an exam in years, but the memory of the challenge, the anxiety, and the thrill of getting it over with will never be forgotten. Having finished a difficult exam I would panic and wish I could go over it just once more. Turns out that your first answer is almost always the right one and there’s danger in having time to “fix” what you thought was an error!

Tuesday May 31, 2011

Lynn’s Notes:

Being at home when your spouse is with friends is usually a time to relax and enjoy the solitude. During my first marriage I was left at home too often, however, and the feeling of unrest is easy to recall. I remember wondering where he was, what he was doing and with whom he was doing it. In this strip, I turned the scenario around. Here it’s the GUY who’s left out and wondering if “something” is going on!