Monthly Archives: October 2010

Friday October 1, 2010

Lynn’s Notes:

To discipline or not to discipline. When is it time to be angry and when do you “let it ride”. My family has always been into the one liners: never pass up an opportunity for wordplay. Never let a pun go unpunished. So, when a slip of the tongue was a slip of judgement, there was always the dilemma: was it funny enough to be given a star rating for genius or was it just plain rude? Instead of being direct with our opinions, we told the truth in jest and more often than not, the result was banishment to the bedroom for an opportunity to think…while the folks (within earshot) discussed the merits of the performance. No wonder both my bro and I were bound for the entertainment business!

Saturday October 2, 2010

Lynn’s Notes:

We had an enormous cherry tree in front of our house. One wouldn’t think a tree could be so much work, but ours was. Dad pruned it, mom watered it, we treated it like the gift it was and after the blossoms fell, the cherries ripened, we had pies, preserves and fresh berries all from our own garden. The problem was, it dropped stuff. Like a pet, it had to be picked up after. How we resented raking the blossoms and the leaves, how we resented the litter of twigs and the caterpillars that had to be picked from its branches. The tree was not to be climbed and not to be punctured. It was a rival for our affections and sometimes, I think, rightfully so. Sad to say that a few weeks after my parents sold their house the new owners wanted less shade in the garden and cut the tree down. What we’d give now for the right to rake up the leaves and watch the cherries grow again!

Sunday October 3, 2010

Lynn’s Notes:

I think the idea for this one came more from my babysitting days than it did from our family. The people next door to us on 5th street had four little girls. They were sweet, well behaved kids, but the excuses they made to keep from going to bed were inventive, effective and unending. When one was down, another was up with a request or a need or a fear or SOMETHING! This was all so frustrating- both because my disciplinary skills were rudimentary and because Mrs. Benn always left chocolate cake in the fridge and I couldn’t get to it until the kids were asleep. I always wondered how they could stay awake for so long when they were so tired…but I think we did the same thing to our babysitters… a rite of passage for the sitters and the sat!

Monday October 4, 2010

Lynn’s Notes:

When Farley came to live with us, my thinking was “leftovers disposal unit” but my husband had other ideas. A dog was not to be used for recycling; he was to eat foods naturally consumed in the wild. This meant regular trips to a mink farm to retrieve freshly ground and frozen meat by-products. This unpleasant stuff was then mixed with a special kibble, which Farley ate without relish. Whenever I could get away with it, I’d break down and slip him a treat…ham, beef with gravy, you know, the GOOD stuff. Eventually, I discovered that my husband was doing the same and once he had tasted people food, Farley held out for the goods. He became a little choosy – and I didn’t blame him one bit!

Tuesday October 5, 2010

Lynn’s Notes:

When this strip originally ran, folks asked “What in the world is a GARBURETOR?” Well, in Canada, that’s what we called a garbage disposal installed in the sink. I was told it was called “insinkerator” and a variety of other things, but I was not about to change a Canadianism and so the word stayed. Whatever it’s called, I have never owned one. The dog and I took care of the leftovers.

Friday October 8, 2010

Lynn’s Notes:

It’s rare, now that an actual human contacts you regarding a payment. When it does happen, you get past the shock and then you wonder which country they are calling from. Who are these people and how on earth are they are trained for this job? These folks have an attitude of such superiority, such command…and they are prepared for a fight. If you can make them laugh, however, you can get past their posture and actually have a conversation.

Sunday October 10, 2010

Lynn’s Notes:

I don’t know who came up with this disgusting, yet satisfying little prank… my brother or me. I think I’ll take the credit. Mom was a stickler, as I’ve said, for cleanliness. Long before the clinical admonishment to wash our hands as often as possible, Mom inspected our digits with surgical scrutiny. She once told me that her mother fired a maid because she said that making bread was a good way to clean her nails! Mom regularly washed walls, countertops, baseboards and knobs to make sure we were as germ free as possible. Naturally, it was our prerogative to return these surfaces to their germ-laden norm.

The long socks we wore bore the remnants of rubber, road salt, floorboards and feet by day’s end and smelled wonderfully wicked. I remember pulling up my dirty socks, rolling them down my leg and thinking, as the end popped off my foot, that it looked a lot like a fetid kind of hat. When these “hats” didn’t do much for my dolls, I decided to put them on the doorknobs- to the great annoyance of mother, who refused to touch them, much less turn the handle. Her British admonishments were worth hearing. “Dreadful, dreadful, dreadful!” and “You miserable recalcitrant!” and “This is the very LIMIT!” made us giggle behind our hands. I look back at it all now and wonder how she put up with us… perhaps it’s because, despite her militant need for order and discipline, she had a really good sense of humour.

Monday October 11, 2010

Lynn’s Notes:

Elementary school relationships were intense and serious. A “best friend” was validatiion that you had worth. Best friends gave you confidence, security and status. There was serious competition here and if a third person came onto the scene- the change in chemistry could be explosive.

The old adage “three’s a crowd” is never more true than in early grade school. I remember adding a new friend simply because I was offered the opportunity to use a bike or share some candy. I bought into others’ friendships, too when I had stuff to share. Allegiances morphed, changed and regrouped according to the mood of the day, but the “best friend” was always at the centre of the relationship.

Tuesday October 12, 2010

Lynn’s Notes:

Gordon was a year ahead of Mike and Lawrence when they met, but a slow learning curve and troubles at home made school work difficult. He was later moved back a year, giving him a chance to catch up. Easy going and non confrontational, Gordon was likeable. He was the kind of kid who always saw the bright side. He could make the best out of a tough situation. He was a survivor.

Wednesday October 13, 2010

Lynn’s Notes:

Kids can accept an intrusion, but if the “best friends” status is threatened, it’s serious. Sharing toys and time, games and secrets makes your connection intimate. Nothing is trivial when you’re a kid- it’s all about relationships. From Kindergarten until grade school I hung out with a girl called Arlene. She was my best friend until Caroline was around, and then Caroline took my place. When Caroline was around I became the odd number three. I lived with the knowledge that I wasn’t Arlene’s favourite and it was OK. Still I wished I had a VERY best friend and when Lucia Messina’s family came from Sicily and moved across the street, she and I formed a bond that lasts to this day!

Thursday October 14, 2010

Lynn’s Notes:

Taking your elementary school woes home to mom was often an unrewarding experience. Grownups forget just how stressful and meaningful these first relationships can be. My mom tried to comfort and understand, but she’d often brush my worries aside, saying things like “you’ll have plenty of time for”…well, whatever! Time isn’t a factor when you have no concept of time. When your world is a blur of new people, new feelings and new things to learn, time is just another four letter word.

Saturday October 16, 2010

Lynn’s Notes:

Without knowing it, Connie has been taking her frustrations out on Lawrence. Desperate for companionship herself, she has unwittingly upset her son. Sensing ambivalence and insecurity in his mom, Lawrence has become worried and insecure as well. There is nothing more rewarding than telling your kids that you’re not perfect, you’re sorry and they are so very loved.

Sunday October 17, 2010

Lynn’s Notes:

My dad was not into discipline and ran from having to do it. He delivered his style of direction with sarcasm and humour and more often than not, won the battle hands down. This exchange I remember clearly. On a rainy day, when the cure for boredom was war, Dad intervened with a raspberry and a smile leaving my brother and me in stitches. He was the one who taught us how to pratfall like the comedians in silent films. He could make farting noises with his hand cupped into his armpit and could whistle like the guys on the ferry dock, hauling in the lines. He could burp “God Save the Queen” and he showed us how to spit off the back porch without dribbling on our chins. Stuff like this other kids had to learn from each other. We were coached by the best. Mom probably knew about our alternate studies with Dad…if she did, she didn’t let on. Dad might not have been a disciplinarian, but he sure knew how to get our attention and defuse a fight!

Monday October 18, 2010

Lynn’s Notes:

Deciding what we were going to be on Hallowe’en was always a challenge. Everything depended on what was cool, what could be made out of found materials and what would survive in the rain. Vancouver weather was a factor in all outdoor activities, but nothing could keep us from our quest to score the most loot possible on the 31st of October. Ours was a neighbourhood rich with pickings. Lower middle class, mostly new immigrants and Canadians “home from the war”; the folks around us were generous, kind and imaginative. All you needed was a costume, a pillow case and energy to run up and down the steep hills of the North Shore.

Tuesday October 19, 2010

Lynn’s Notes:

My Mom could make anything. She was artistic and creative and like Dad, she loved theatre. Since our choices were endless, it was hard to come up with an idea ourselves. My brother and I would waffle from one thing to another until the last minute- but somehow, our parents would come up with the best costume ever and out we would go into the night- on our own. Hallowe’en was a safer time, then. At least it seemed to be!

Wednesday October 20, 2010

Lynn’s Notes:

The small school annex that housed our grades one and two classes was 3 blocks from home. I would often forget or lose things and Mom would make me trudge down 5th street to search for whatever it was that had been left behind. It was a short distance to go, but en route were several neat houses we had to check out, hedges with secret openings in them, dog houses, a corner store and a small vacant lot. It’s no wonder we were often late coming home. It’s no wonder that books, jackets, lunch pails and even socks would vanish on the way home! Mrs Hardacre really did exist. This was a salute to a memorable lady and a fine teacher- with an unusual name!

Thursday October 21, 2010

Lynn’s Notes:

Like household chores, homework was approached with the cry of “Do I HAFTA???!!!” The more you rebel against a chore, the bigger it becomes. From time to time our folks would sit down and do our schoolwork with us and this made it fun. Once, over a long weekend, I had to find a bug, draw it, find out where it lived, what it ate and how it benefited the earth. I was in elementary school…and wondered how long it would take me to do this thing. As I recall, Dad and I spent an afternoon chasing down grasshoppers, learning about them and he even helped with the drawing. It was a big project for a little kid…but with Dad as my biology partner, the time went all too fast.

Friday October 22, 2010

Lynn’s Notes:

In the early years, I bounced from subject to subject. Other cartoonists did a “gag a day” and I tried to do the same thing. I had, however found that doing short sequences worked best for me and in time I learned how to bring one idea to a close before introducing another. The ups, downs and dial tone hums of marriage were always good fodder (and mudder) and although I never did wear face cream to bed, I couldn’t resist doing a gag about it.

Saturday October 23, 2010

Lynn’s Notes:

Still learning about the craft, I did a couple of “in the dark” strips wherein the subjects talk with the lights out and black panels ensue. This is sort of a cop out, since you don’t have to draw anything! It wasn’t until this strip came out in the paper that I was disappointed in myself for taking such a shortcut. Funny…when you see your work from the perspective of the reader “out there” you have a totally different opinion of it. Still, I wonder if the gag would have worked had I drawn everything!

Sunday October 24, 2010

Lynn’s Notes:

Farley…the REAL Farley was both the source of dirt and the mop which picked it up. He would go about the house sniffing and rooting for crumbs and other household flotsam, his fuzzy face pressed to the floor. When he raised his head, his chin would be flattened and full of dust. A lot of the dust was his. He was so hairy that even with regular vacuuming, a slight breeze would cause a wave of grey to float across the kitchen. It was unending. Still, despite the responsibility and the extra work, he was loved and he was part of the family….and in retrospect, he was probably much, MUCH cleaner than the kids!

Monday October 25, 2010

Lynn’s Notes:

Thank goodness the days of taking your cheque book into the bank and waiting for a teller to roll her eyes are gone. My thinking was: as long as I wrote down MOST of the cheques, remembered most of the dates and never bounced one, I was doing just fine- thank you very much. Besides, my wonderful dad-in-law did the book keeping and regularly kept me from committing a serious breach. Some of us excel at keeping accurate records of things… and some of us draw cartoons. In the end, we are all good at something in this world, and it behooves us all to employ, enjoy and rely on the skills of others.

Tuesday October 26, 2010

Lynn’s Notes:

Remember when the thought of recording a personal message for our answering systems gave folks hives? Some asked friends to do it, others signed up for an automated system and others became comics, DJ’s and public announcement pros.

The other day, I called a friend who still has one of those recording devices on her counter and regularly updates her message. This week it’s: “Hello?? HELLO?! …HELLO!!!!!” and when you repeat for the third time “Hi! It’s ME! Hello?” the message says “Hah! You thought I was here, didn’t you..well, I’m not, so leave a message!” The message I left was a loud “AAAAAUGHHHHH!!!” followed by my home number. So far I haven’t heard back.

Wednesday October 27, 2010

Lynn’s Notes:

I dressed Katie up in a “Little Bo Peep” outfit for Hallowe’en one year and she looked so cute, I couldn’t stand it! Trouble is, we lived a northern community where the temperatures dipped well below zero at this time of year and every costume had to fit over a parka. I took her door to door, opening up her jacket to show off her costume to friends. Kate objected to this strenuously. I eventually resorted to explaining who she was and what she was wearing so she could go directly to the loot without preamble. She lasted for 4 blocks …a good space for a toddler, not far enough for me. I was just getting into the swing of things. I still have her costume and some day, if I’m lucky, I’ll see it worn again.

Thursday October 28, 2010

Lynn’s Notes:

Part of the fun of drawing Farley is the dirt, the sound effects and the facial expressions. Humans have to be kept believably human, to some extent- especially in a strip that is supposedly realistic…but I could always push the limits when it came to pets. I doubt that a dog would see a pumpkin as a threat unless it was on fire…but in this instance, a cartoon dog has a cartoon experience – and I had a laugh drawing it.

Friday October 29, 2010

Lynn’s Notes:

My son, Aaron had a great cowboy costume- right down to the vest, chaps and 6-guns. He would get into this even if it wasn’t Hallowe’en, bounce around the house as if he was on a horse and shoot everything in sight. We bought the hat, gun, Sherriff’s star and plaid shirt in Winnipeg. I made the chaps, vest and neck scarf. He was just another kid until the outfit was on and then he turned into the wildest of the wild. This was his costume of choice until he grew out of it. This, too, I have preserved in an old trunk, waiting for someone else to make it come to life!

Saturday October 30, 2010

Lynn’s Notes:

The town of Lynn Lake was so small, an older kid could successfully hit every single house on Hallowe’en – as long as the frost didn’t get him. Our place on Elgin Avenue was right in the middle. With a lane behind us and one of the busier streets in front, both our front and back doors were busy from about 4 in the afternoon until late at night. Some years, we might count as many as 180 trick or treaters and I remember dipping into our own kids’ treat bags after we’d run out.

Our favourite thing to give out was toothbrushes. One year, fearing we’d get egged for handing out something other than “treats” we decided to give the kids chocolate bars. Surprisingly, people were disappointed. Turned out the toothbrushes were something they all looked forward to! Just goes to prove- that on a night when witches, devils, and scary things roam….you never know what to expect!

Sunday October 31, 2010

Lynn’s Notes:

Heaven was lying on our living room couch, eating and watching TV. With the old wood and coal furnace, our house was always cold and the warm spot on the couch was something my brother and I fought over. Yes, we fought over the warm spot! So, once ensconced on the sofa, I hated to remove myself and lose that precious bit of heat! If Dad was the one to order you off the couch, you might be able to beg a few more moments of repose. An order from Mom, meant immediate compliance. In this strip, John uses the “ferocious” method of kid-removal. I used it, too. When all else fails, we parents often resort to animal behaviour. I stopped at taking them by the scruff of their necks with my teeth, however!