Lynn's Comments: A little artistic license here. I don't think I ever showed a fish tank in the house before this sketch, and I didn't show one later--unless it was in the clinic. It simply appeared for this gag. Later on, I paid more attention to such details, but at this time, I just drew whatever came to mind!
Lynn's Comments: Aaron did learn to play a few pieces on the trumpet. Through perseverance and some threatening, his junior high school music teacher succeeded in placing him in the school band, where he suffered along with the rest of the uncommitted until summer came.
Lynn's Comments: Aaron balked at learning to read music and practicing, but he did love his rented trumpet. With my brother's guidance, he polished the bell, oiled the valves, and cleaned out the tube--which would otherwise fill with fungus, mould, and other odious flotsam (nourished by the moisture and foodstuff propelled by vigorous breath). The instrument itself was a beautiful possession, but it came with the guilt of not practicing.
Lynn's Comments: I had fun drawing this character. I had meant her to be very sexy and very nice--someone who would possibly come between Elly and John. She would make Elly jealous, in any case. As the library job continued, Susan became less and less visible. I couldn't quite resolve her relationship to the rest of the characters...and, perhaps, I was afraid that life might imitate art!
Lynn's Comments: Sometimes my readers made some very astute but troublesome observations. When this strip appeared, a woman from Maryland wrote to say that the punch line didn't work because Elizabeth was not actually looking at the caterpillar. I explained that I needed to draw her face and also her dad's face, so I'd taken a bit of artistic license. Had I positioned her the way she should have been, the audience would just see the back of her head.
Lynn's Comments: The first panel in this strip was (and is) what I live for: Goofy expressions, exaggerated poses, and lettering that looks the way it sounds.
Lynn's Comments: I have always been interested in bugs and snakes and creepy-crawly things. The only thing I don't like to catch and examine in my hands are spiders, but they fascinate me just the same. When I was a kid, some of my insect "pets" succumbed to my examinations, and I would create small but elaborate burial ceremonies for them. When one of my garter snakes died, I buried him in a long, flat tie box, and gift wrapped him before I put him into the ground. It was the least I could do.
Lynn's Comments: This reminds me of a story. My friend Christa decided she wanted to learn the saxophone. So as not to disturb her husband one morning, she decided to practice on the back porch. We live in the country, so there were no neighbours to offend. She had just started to honk out some scales when her husband appeared in the doorway excited and out of breath. "Christa!" he cried. "Did you hear that? I think a moose has been hit on the highway!"
Lynn's Comments: An expression like "play by ear" automatically becomes the basis for a play on words or a gag of some kind. When a punchline like this came to mind, I was elated. A line like this would make a whole week of strips worth drawing.
Lynn's Comments: Ladies...is this not our best form of therapy?...We need each other more than we need Lycra, hair dye, and creams!
Lynn's Comments: Whenever I left my family on their own for dinner, I made sure there was a really good meal just waiting to be heated up. It was my way of showing how much I cared (and how guilty I felt as well). I kind of knew they'd take off to a fast food joint in my absence, which didn't hurt too much--it meant I didn't have to prepare a meal the next day!
Lynn's Comments: I love yard sales.
Lynn's Comments: This series of strips was done as we led up to our exodus from the north by going through everything we had accumulated in the six years we had lived there.
Lynn's Comments: A yard sale gives you the incentive you need to dig out all the forgotten junk that the kids will want as soon as they see it. Kids don't get into the swing of a great purge until they see money coming in. Then they'll sell anything!
Lynn's Comments: The big treasure trove was in my mother-in-law's attic. She had meticulously saved everything. There were ancient skis and snowshoes, lampshades and blinds. There were picture frames, bottles, quilt frames, and toys. There was a trunk filled with clothing--some of it her mother's. We found corsets, dresses, feathered hats, and knee-length knickers--some was moth-eaten, but most was like new.
Lynn's Comments: It took days to sort through everything. Behind every stack of familiar flotsam was stuff we never knew she had. Parting with some of it was going to be hard. We had several family meetings to determine the fate of Ruth and Tom's collection.
Lynn's Comments: The great Johnston yard sale was an epic event. Everyone in Lynn Lake knew that Ruth had squirreled away some fine stuff and looked forward to seeing what would be up for grabs. Tables had to be borrowed from the church next door. It took us two days to price everything and set it out on display. As luck would have it, the event took place on the day of the high school graduation. Students in their best duds crowded around the tables, trying to score a deal ahead of the old guys.
Lynn's Comments: The town's mine was closing and many people were forced to move. Despite the fact that we were all trying to downsize, Ruth had a fantastic turnout--her sale was like Christmas and Halloween and everyone's birthday rolled into one. If you didn't want or need a thing, you had to be there--it wasn't just a sale, it was an event! In typical Ruth fashion, she provided an assortment of homemade goodies--she was a great hostess. In the end, her hard work paid off!
Lynn's Comments: When the stock began to run low, we ran home and dug through our own stuff--even though we had already sold everything we wanted to get rid of. Ruth and Tom went back into their house and did the same.
Lynn's Comments: When the dust cleared we did discover a few things gone that we wanted to keep--and one item had been stolen. Not bad for a day of chaos!
Lynn's Comments: I forget exactly how much they made, but the image of Tom, the family accountant, tallying up the take will stay forever. He meticulously stacked and sorted every coin, smoothed and organized every bill, and is the only person I have seen (other than the senior vendors in Vancouver's China Town) use an abacus!
Lynn's Comments: This is why schools and daycares are the world's great Petri dishes. Along with the paper plate art projects and newly acquired skills, kids bring home a plethora of microbes. As a young mom, I really resented this bacterial exchange--until it was my turn to decide: is she sick enough to stay home or should I send her?
Lynn's Comments: Earlier in my career, when I was a single mom, I worked outside the home and Aaron went to daycare. Any time he was sick, it was miserable for both of us. I knew, it was irresponsible to send a kid out there to infect others, but I had to pay a mortgage and buy groceries, and a day off work meant a smaller pay cheque. If I had to stay home with him, I felt guilty for missing work--and mad at myself for feeling guilty. He, on the other hand, appreciated having me home--all to himself and caring for him.
Lynn's Comments: Until I became a teenager and could work at the store, do chores at home, and generally understand adult conversation, my mother and I were like oil and water. My best memories of her when I was very small seem to be when I was sick! She spent hours sitting next to me in my room, reading, taking my temperature, and trying to make me more comfortable. Measles, mumps and chicken pox went the rounds of every neighbourhood, and there was little to do but stay in bed and sweat it out. Mom should have been a doctor. She was smart, unfazed by barf, blood and trauma, and eager to try every home remedy known to man. Her poultices, enemas and steam tents were worse than the plague itself, but they worked. Thanks to Mom, we were up and feeling better before anyone else on the block!
Lynn's Comments: My brother and I fought a lot when we were kids, and Aaron and Kate did as well. When one kid is sick, however, the other's true colours blossom; any time Kate was ill, Aaron would be so concerned, I would almost have to keep him at home, too.