Lynn's Comments: My mother-in-law was one of the primary school teachers in Lynn Lake, which meant she had to teach her own kids. They complained that she was harder on them than she was on everyone else!
Lynn's Comments: Around this time we were both well into our careers, and from time to time, felt like we were stuck in a rut. I guess even the most satisfying jobs can become routine! Taking flying lessons helped me to "stretch my wings," and Rod began a lifelong passion for model railways.
About This Strip:
Originally Run: 1984-02-04 Appearing:Elly, John Location:home
Lynn's Comments: The kids were never far away--I used to listen to their banter as they made up games, created forts in the living room, and played house. I was impressed by their ability to fantasize. I remembered my own childhood, when a mud pie tasted like the real thing, and if you rolled up in a blanket, you could fly. Even though we seemed to be "in a world of our own," we were still aware of our immediate environment.
Aaron, Katie and Aaron's friend, Roy, were playing one day, and some of their dialogue disturbed me--they were talking about bombs, murder, divorce, and other things they had heard about on television. This had to be absorbed, of course, and dealt with as much as any other experience outside of Sesame Street and Saturday morning cartoons. I worried that I was not talking to my kids enough. Later, when Roy had gone home, I asked them about their conversations, their ideas, and their perceptions. I felt good about being there to answer questions and explain some facts. In return, Aaron asked me if life was the same for me when I was a kid and I had to say that it was--we just didn't hear or see as much as they do now. We were far more protected from negative realities. When I think about it, we were really naive, and for that, I'm somewhat grateful!
I now have a grandchild. I see kids as young as two, happily using computers, eBooks, and iPads and I wonder how much more the babies of today are learning...too soon, too fast.
Lynn's Comments: At school, Aaron was constantly being asked, "Who is Deanna Sobinski?" He didn't have a girlfriend, that I knew of, and there were no other Deannas in town except for my friend's daughter--who was about the same age as Kate. It was assumed that everything I wrote was directly related to my family. Because of this, many storylines were hard on my kids--especially anything to do with childhood sweethearts! Despite my explanations, some folks still believe the strip is auto-biographical.
Lynn's Comments: I hear folks talking about kids and their relationships, and it surprises me when they say that real "love" doesn't happen until you're physically mature. I disagree. I remember being head over heels "in love" with a boy in my grade three class. I remember it clearly, and the feeling was as strong and as passionate as if I was 16. I had no concept of the physical stuff then--but the desperate need to be near him and to be cared for in return was overwhelming. Likewise, his rejection was painful and devastating. I hated him for showing my notes to his friends and I said so. Like Deanna Sobinski, he was attractive and popular, and he made me feel that I wasn't good enough. In retrospect, I think he just didn't know how to handle an ardent admirer.
Lynn's Comments: I have to give credit to one of Aaron's teachers for this punchline. Sheena told me that when one of her kindergarten students was severely ill, her class was comforted to see that her seat was still there. As long as her place in the class remained, they knew she was coming back.
Lynn's Comments: We gave Aaron a key to the house, hoping he wouldn't lose it. He did. The key was as much of a concern to him as his glasses, which he hated to wear. He lost them, he broke them, and he left them at home. The frustration his glasses caused was part of the reason why they never appeared in the strip! When he was finally old enough for contacts, he was overjoyed. Now that I too have to wear glasses, I can see how hard it was for an active, conservative kid to accept them.
Lynn's Comments: Expressions like "nose out of joint" are a natural lead in to a punchline. Any time I work with blossoming cartoonists, I discourage them from using an expression like this unless they plan to take advantage of it. As a reader, I expect a smart comeback and I am disappointed when the expression is left to die on the vine!
Lynn's Comments: In Vancouver during the 50's, there was a popular children's radio show called, "Kiddie's Carnival." It was done in a small studio with a live audience, which you could be part of by writing into the program and asking for tickets. It was first write, first serve. My mom managed to score two of them. Not only did she and I have tickets, but we were told that I would get to be one of the children allowed to say "hello" on Kiddie's Carnival radio!
It was an exciting day. I had never been in a radio station before and when it was my turn to go up to the microphone, I was terrified. The host was reassuring. He moved the big silver microphone right under my nose and said, "Lynn, it's your turn to say hello! Who would you like to say hello to today?" Meanwhile, my dad was at work. He had the radio on and everyone in Shores Jewellery was listening. Sweating and shaking, I leaned into the mic. and said, "Hello, Grandma and Grandpa!" Dad was crushed. He had expected me to say hello to him. I wasn't thinking. I just blurted out the first thing that came to mind. When he got home later that evening, it was clear that I had let him down. Mom thought it was nice that I had thought of her parents, though, and decided to call them and ask what they thought of the broadcast. Sadly, they hadn't been listening. To this day, I think about that missed opportunity and I wish that I'd acknowledged the one person to whom it really mattered.
Lynn's Comments: Even during the 80's there was stuff on the television--even the news--that I thought was too graphic to be shown or discussed during the daytime. We all want to shield our youngsters from sex and graphic violence but nowadays, it's nearly impossible. The trick is to try and explain that there is good in the world, real intimacy is not ugly, and that justice (especially here in North America) is possible. God willing!
Lynn's Comments: We would never identify the good times as being good if we didn't have crap to compare it with. There's no way Heaven could be perfect bliss because we wouldn't appreciate it! Humans need the rollercoaster of ups and downs... which is why we continue to make life so darned difficult for ourselves!
Lynn's Comments: Valentines came in big plastic bags when I was a kid. We'd get, perhaps 25, pretty little cards for a few dollars and we'd give one to everyone in your class. This meant that we all came home with a fistful of valentines. Nobody was left out. It was tradition. In grade one, I had a crush on a boy named Jimmy Thompson. I was crazy about him until Valentine's Day when I gave him a card, but he didn't give a card to anyone. I was hurt--I never knew that his family just couldn't afford them.
Lynn's Comments: Even kids know the art of subtle expression. The way we make eye contact, the way we stand and speak and gesture, are all ways of communicating the way we really feel. Something as simple as watching someone open an envelope, conveys a state of mind. Adults have to be careful... kids are as sensitive to these things as we are!
Lynn's Comments: I have to admit, when I had a crush on a boy in school, it lasted through rejection, embarrassment, and blatant teasing. When it eventually wore off, it was gone for good. I don't see a lot of difference in the way I handle my relationships now!
Lynn's Comments: There was a law in our house: if you didn't like what was on your plate, it didn't matter--you had to eat it all. This rule was enforced unless we were too sick to sit there or were absent altogether! My brother, Alan, was always trying to escape the likes of cold creamed peas, canned corned beef, or liver in gravy. He would hide a wad in his pockets or the cuffs of his pants and, convincingly full, would leave the table.
Once he was being so gross at dinnertime, he was sent to his room to eat. He went happily and returned minutes later with a suspiciously empty plate. He said he had eaten everything, but there was evidence to the contrary; the gravy was scraped to the side of the plate and the toilet had just been flushed. With her hands on her hips, Mom accused him of lying, but he stuck to his story. It was his word against the gravy. She gave him "the glare" but he stared her down. Mom dragged Alan to the biff. She wanted to scope out the scene of the crime but found nothing to pin on him. The gravy trail was the only real evidence; the one thing that could trip him up. With Alan's ear between her thumb and forefingers, she marched him brusquely back into the kitchen to resume her interrogation...and found our dad happily washing the dishes. The accused's plate was clean. From that day on, the rule was altered to allow for differences in tastes and appetites. Once again, Alan had defied our mom, and Dad was a hero. Until then, even HE had to eat stuff he hated!
Lynn's Comments: Like my mom, I welcomed my kids' friends into the house all the time. On the odd occasion when it just wasn't convenient, I was the villain. It was "No fair!" I wondered what the kids said about moms who never let friends come in--even to use the bathroom.
Lynn's Comments: In Vancouver where I grew up, February could be four weeks of cold, bone-chilling rain. Now that I live in Ontario, February is a month of safe outdoor activity. Snow machines, and even trucks, ply the surface of the lakes. With the consistent low temperature driving can even be easier. Some folks look forward to February. Fishermen and skiers wait all year for a time when they can thoroughly enjoy their sport. Friends ask me which I prefer: the rain of the west coast or the cold of Ontario, and it's a toss-up. For me, either way, the month of February will always be far too long!
Lynn's Comments: Everyone smoked when I was a kid. It was cool to have a cigarette in your mouth--you looked like a movie star. At the corner store we could buy packets of candy cigarettes. They were sticky and gritty and tasted vaguely like peppermint. If it was cold enough outside, our breath turned to steam and we'd pretend we were lighting up for real. When my brother and I finally scored the real thing, I was surprised to discover how horrible they were. How anyone gets "hooked" is beyond me!
Lynn's Comments: "Crazy Eddy's" was based on "Fergy's" in Lynn Lake--part confectionery, part pool hall; a place where boys of all ages liked to hang out. Fergy himself was a dishevelled, crotchety old guy whose motto (printed over the entrance) was "Buy or bye-bye." He sold cigarettes to minors, bent the liquor laws, and bragged about being just honest enough to stay out of jail. Even though we didn't like our boys to go in there, we knew where they were, and in a "frontier town," Fergy's was safer than some of the other haunts around town.
Lynn's Comments: Video games were just coming to the fore when we lived in Lynn Lake. I spent a fortune on "Pong" and "Pac Man" and "Asteroids," which Aaron loved. Compared to the games of today, these were so simple, but at the time, they were a fascinating technological breakthrough. Suddenly, there was a new dilemma; how does one become proficient at this without turning into a large head with a thumb on it?
Lynn's Comments: I had a couple of friends who were latchkey kids. Their parents worked and after work, they'd spend time at the bar before going home. Both girls were the guardians of younger siblings. They literally raised their brothers and sisters because their parents were never home. I remember being jealous of my friends' freedom. We played "house." We'd put the little ones to bed and pretend we were grownups. For me, it was a wonderful game...but later, I could go home and be a kid again.
Lynn's Comments: Farley, the real dog, hated baths. If he just heard the word, he'd head for the hills. I usually washed him outside, but during the winter, I would stuff him into the tub, which meant the entire bathroom got wet along with him. After I dried and brushed him, Farley looked like a massive plush toy, his fur poofing out as if he'd stuck his tail in a light socket. He would look like this until he had to go outside, where he'd find something dirty to roll in. He was a lot of work, but I didn't mind. He was family...and a real character!
Lynn's Comments: Lunch is an all-important event. A disagreeable lunch can destroy the rest of an otherwise productive day. When my dad made lunch, I knew I was going to get a tomato and cheese sandwich. This is OK if consumed at the time of assembly, but after a lunch-bucket ride and time in a locker, a tomato and cheese sandwich is horrible. On "dad days," I should have made my own lunch....but when you're a kid, complaining is much easier.
Lynn's Comments: Letters came from folks who really did not understand this gag. I'd hoped that the bulge in Elly's stomach would convey the message. I mean...wasn't it obvious that she was indeed putting "enough into it?" My editor seemed to understand, as did my mother-in-law. (I passed everything by her because there were times she didn't get an elephant joke. If Ruth didn't get a gag, I knew I was going to have to rework it!) Still, I had complaints that this punchline didn't make sense. I'll leave it with you. Did you get it??!!
Lynn's Comments: When I moved to Hamilton, ON from Vancouver, BC, I was barely 22 and very "innocent." Despite my art school experience during the hippie movement, with it's free love and smokeable happiness, I had seen and tried very little. I joined Vic Tanny's health club with a friend, and when I saw several naked older women enjoying the hot tub, I was both appalled and curious. I had never seen anything like this. It was fascinating. We all really do come in different shapes and sizes.