Monthly Archives: June 2012

Friday June 1, 2012

Lynn’s Notes:

The word “kowabunga” came from the old Tarzan movies — and perhaps the comic books, too. I yelled it when I bounced around with my rat pack of buddies, and I encouraged Aaron to say it so he could carry on. He also loved the word, and I well remember the day he hollered “KOWABUNGA!” while on a bus ride to Toronto. Passengers on both sides of us moved out of the way; …he had a mouth full of Cheezies at the time.

Saturday June 2, 2012

Lynn’s Notes:

Aaron’s circle of friends was broken when we moved to North Bay. He had to adjust to a new school and a new language (he went into French immersion) and any cartoons depicting Michael and his buddies, at this time, were based solely on my own childhood memories. The Janice, on whom this character was based, lived down the lane from me. She was tough, but cool! She could take down a kid twice her size; so being in her good books was a must. Janice and I got along because she had the muscle and I had the mouth. We were a duo to be reckoned with — racing about, getting into mischief…and, I thought she was lucky because her parents didn’t care! Mine did and they were grateful when she moved to Calgary with her dad when her parents split up. It was the first time I’d known someone whose parents had divorced.

Sunday June 3, 2012

Lynn’s Notes:

Letters from readers told me that I wasn’t the only one who checked out their husband’s wardrobe before letting him leave the house. Mine put comfort before fashion, which meant that anything well worn was kept to wear again and again and again. Whatever configuration the hangers presented, was what he wore. If a checked shirt was hanging next to striped pants … Bingo! An outfit. Throwing away a comfortable suit was hard to do — even if the styles had changed twice since its purchase. Getting him to buy a new one, or any new clothes for that matter, was nearly impossible! This drove me crazy.

Monday June 4, 2012

Lynn’s Notes:

The tap on the side of the house I grew up in, should have broken with the punishment it received. Alan and I filled balloons, hung buckets, and tied skipping ropes to it. We also drank from it — right from the spout. Mom managed at least to prevent one thing by telling us snake eggs were in the water and would grow in our stomachs if we didn’t use a glass!

Wednesday June 6, 2012

Lynn’s Notes:

My parents took great interest in our report cards. Mom, especially, wanted to see progress in the “A” department. A pass wasn’t good enough, so she’d take it upon herself to do remedial teaching — especially math, in which she excelled. She spent hours with us, drawing diagrams, using coins, and cutting up popsicle sticks, so that numbers would make sense. I was more interested in the remarks column — hoping to see “improved” or “talks less.” What my teachers thought about me was important. I knew I was a pain in the wazoo, sometimes, but I hoped that my “good side” showed through!

Thursday June 7, 2012

Lynn’s Notes:

The days leading up to summer vacation never seemed to end. It was so hard to concentrate on lessons when sunshine beckoned and the bells on ice cream trucks chimed. I counted the days until school was out, but when I finally cleaned out my desk, I cried. My elementary school teachers were like parents to me and I hated to say goodbye.

Friday June 8, 2012

Lynn’s Notes:

My folks were good badminton players. As soon as the spring rain subsided, they’d stretch out a net in the backyard and the games began. Alan and I would go through a couple of racquets each in a summer because Dad bought cheap ones. He knew we’d be using them to whack rocks, dirt, and each other. We even tried to make French fries by pushing a cooked spud through the mesh. We lost the shuttlecocks and made holes in the lawn. We pushed each other into the net and tried to swing from the posts. Badminton was an all-purpose sport, which we kids loved…and did eventually learn to play!

Saturday June 9, 2012

Lynn’s Notes:

Ours was a one-bathroom house and Mom resented the parade of neighborhood kids coming in to use it. She was especially grouchy if Dad had just mowed the lawn and we’d been rolling in the clippings. I remember her washing handprints off the wall, hoping to make an impression on the people who had put them there…but, vindication didn’t come until I had children of my own and complained to her about the exact same things.

Sunday June 10, 2012

Lynn’s Notes:

In reality, Rod and I had a very different kind of wedding. It was his first; my second, and we both wanted a small, private ceremony. Neither Rod’s nor my parents could attend, so our friend, Marjorie Baskin, suggested we use the living room in her house — as her husband, Rabbi Baskin, was going to do the honours. She made us a cake. My brother and a few good friends were there. It was a beautiful service — a combination of Christian and Jewish ritual, which concluded with the breaking of a wine glass. It was a sunny afternoon and friends were looking after Aaron who, at the age of two, was not likely to sit still. After a celebratory drink and a piece of Marge’s cake we went to pick him up. Aaron wasn’t sure what had happened, but he knew our lives had changed. I picked him up and as he gave me a hug, he said, “I’ve now got a mom and a Rod!” This, as much as the ceremony, made us a family!

Monday June 11, 2012

Lynn’s Notes:

Roller Blades were just around the corner when I did this series of strips. There was still a roller rink in North Bay and it was a great place for kids and teens to go for a spirited, noisy afternoon. This focus on roller skates had more to do with my own past and memories of speed, daring, and prowess. Our awards were skinned knees, bruised backsides, and the feeling your feet were six inches off the ground, which would last for hours afterwards.

Tuesday June 12, 2012

Lynn’s Notes:

Aaron was well aware of what things cost and was encouraged to earn his own money with which to buy extras. Letters came suggesting that “Michael Patterson’s” parents were far too strict and that I was putting out the wrong message. I was suggesting that kids work! I was stunned. I had been thinking that this was a good thing. Maybe it was…when I was a kid!

Saturday June 16, 2012

Lynn’s Notes:

Here, Michael decides to come clean about the money he’s lost and Elly treats the whole situation like the lesson that it is. I got letters. Folks complained that I had made Gordon look like a thief, that he wasn’t “that kind of kid!” They thought Elly should have gone to Gordon’s parents and complained. They didn’t know that Gordon’s dad was at the pub and not likely to be home before dinnertime. They didn’t know that his mom worked two jobs to make sure that the bills and the debts were paid on time. Behind every character was another story altogether — a story I had no time to tell!

Sunday June 17, 2012

Lynn’s Notes:

It was hard to imagine my parents as children. To me, they had been born old and were just getting older. When they talked about days gone by, the photographs they turned to were black and white. Our world was in colour. What they talked about was hard to relate to. It was more like hearing a story than a real event.

Maybe it’s because they had too much to do to enjoy the kind of childhood we had — they both grew up during the depression and had to work in order to help their families survive. Neither of my parents had the luxury of going to college or university. They learned from books and through experience, and were intellectuals in their own right.

I hoped that my kids would relate to my stories, but life changes so much between generations that Aaron and Katie probably listened with an attitude much like mine had been: “If you really were a kid at one time…why don’t you understand kids NOW?”

Monday June 18, 2012

Lynn’s Notes:

Despite his father’s shortcomings, Gordon Mayes was being raised with a good work ethic and a sense of fair play. He feared and avoided his father, but his respect for his mother gave him some balance in a seesaw world. His difficult life at home gave him both courage and maturity. He might have looked like an underdog, but Gordon, in many ways, led the pack!

Tuesday June 19, 2012

Lynn’s Notes:

For three months one year, Rod and I worked on his sister and brother in-law’s farm. They grew grain and raised pigs and I quickly went from being a city girl to driving the combine, chasing piglets, and building bins. It was an extraordinary experience, and the farm became one of my favourite places to take the Pattersons!

Saturday June 23, 2012

Lynn’s Notes:

Buying my own things gave me pride and independence. On the year of my twelfth birthday, I saved twelve dollars. During the fifties, this was enough to take my family to Vancouver on the bus for dinner and a movie. It was wonderful to be able to pay for everything with my own earnings. That twelve dollars made me feel like a million bucks!

Sunday June 24, 2012

Lynn’s Notes:

Sometimes a friend would tell me something that was so perfect for a comic strip that I couldn’t wait to go home and draw it up. My friend, Loretta, was a wonderful cook. She often had friends over for dinner and was always well prepared ahead of time. In our small northern town, certain fruits and vegetables were hard to come by, so when a shipment of fresh food arrived, we all got into cooking mode.

Loretta had filled her fridge in preparation for a neighbourhood get-together but had forgotten to remind her family that the food was for company. By the time she discovered their scavenging, it was too late to replace the groceries. When she told me what had happened, I remember laughing so hard that I couldn’t catch my breath. A few weeks later … the same thing happened at MY place!

Monday June 25, 2012

Lynn’s Notes:

When Rod and I were first married, we agreed one summer to go to Miami, Manitoba and help his sister and brother-in-law on their farm. He was still in dental school, I hadn’t been offered my job with the Syndicate and Katie had not yet been born. Our finances were dwindling and this seemed like a great way to earn enough to see us through the year. We rented our house to friends, packed up Aaron, who was three — and drove west. I had never experienced farm life and had no idea what to expect!