Talk At Dunbar Public Library

I am excited to tell you about an upcoming talk I am giving on my book The Opening Act, Canadian Theatre History 1945-1953. It will be at the Dunbar Public Library, 4515 Dunbar Street, Vancouver on October 18, 2017 at 6:15. I would really love to see you there and meet you afterwards.

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Wheels of Love Chapter One, Part Two

Chapter One, Part Two


After bidding farewell to their young Moroccan friend, the three travellers discovered the train to Narbonne had left. They had an hour to kill in the station until the next one and they were also going to have to go to Nice via Marseilles after all because the delayed connection did not allow them to go directly from Narbonne.

Their attention was quickly diverted to a commotion further down the platform on which they were standing. At the centre was a man flailing his arms about and screaming at anyone who approached him. A train station employee trying to talk to him was becoming increasingly agitated.Then he noticed the Canadian flags on the women’s knapsacks and walked over to them. He asked the three in French if they could  translate for him, to help find out what was bothering the man and making him crazy.

The bilingual Deb agreed, thinking the man might be from Canada. He wasn’t. Like a crazed animal, he was lashing out at everyone around him, almost foaming at the corners of his mouth. Instantly deciding he was unbalanced they, nevertheless, reluctantly moved towards him.

“Stay away no one come near me,” he spat out in a strong Scottish accent.

Other than long, bushy sideburns, he was clean-cut and on the younger side of thirty. Sitting on a bench for a split second and then up and pacing again, he was obviously terrified to stay still. Sue began talking to him very gently as she moved closer and closer and finally convinced him they were on his side, wherever that was! His name was Geordie. As he started telling them his strange tale, the three of them looked at each other wishing they were some¬where else, anywhere but on that platform in Cerbere. The story he told seemed impossible and yet Sue had this nagging suspicion in her head that he was telling the truth.

Travelling much as Sue and Deb were doing, Geordie and his friend had been staying in youth hostels and experiencing Europe.

“We saw something we shouldn’t have and they started chasing us”, he said swallowing more air than he was sending to his lungs. He was still darting around but in a shorter circumference.

“What did you see?” Sue said, asking the obvious question.

“It’s crazy, just plain crazy, don’t you understand. I don’t know what we saw. They caught us and we asked why and they said we knew what we’d seen. We didn’t, I swear. We were scared but were able to get away but they found us again and now they’ve killed my friend and they’re going to get me too”.

Geordie said all this without taking a breath but frequently wiping his sweating forehead with his shirtsleeve. He leaned over and tried to get some air into his lungs.

“Who’s after you?” Sue said, grabbing his arm in an effort to calm him down.

“The Mafia, the Mafia, now do you understand”.

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Wheels of Love Chapter One

 Chapter One

It was scorching hot that late September day in 1972. Sue and Deb had been travelling for six weeks and having a blast. They’d both worked hard for a year, saving to backpack for four months through England and Europe. Sue, although only 23, had so much responsibility back at home that she was really enjoying the freedom she was experiencing. That freedom was all she wanted from this adventure. Never in a million years was love in the picture.

Arriving at the train station in Barcelona early that morning, the platform was overrun with men. Given what happened in France a couple of weeks before, seeing few other women left Sue a little apprehensive about the day ahead but she quickly put her fears aside. They grabbed an empty carriage but it did not stay that way long as they were soon joined by a young Moroccan boy and a woman from England. The latter was so frail and nervous Sue wondered why she was travelling alone. The 16-year-old boy with the black curly hair and animated gestures made them all smile. In spite of his exuberance, he had an appealing shyness about him. It only took five minutes of sitting in the station before the heat got to them.

“Geez it’s hot. This is September, isn’t it?” Deb asked as she made sure all the windows and the carriage door were wide open.

“Apparently” Sue replied while helping fight one of the creaky old train windows into submission.

However, the open windows brought them little relief. Sue was reaching into her knapsack for a bottle of juice when a young man appeared in the doorway of the carriage. She saw his feet first and then her eyes slowly moved up the rest of his body to a face that made her solar plexus tighten and piercing blue eyes that led her down into the most open soul she had ever encountered. She knew at that instant her life would never be the same again.

“Is seats taken?” the man said.

“No,” Sue said quickly.

The young man must have thought he was asking were the seats empty because with Sue’s response he started to walk away. She sprang to her feet and grabbed his arm.

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Christmas Filters

Christmas is almost here again, a time when joyous get-togethers and exchanging meaningful gifts abound. It is a season filled with expectations of love and peace and happiness. Some achieve these, many don’t. I will not dishonour myself by pretending that all the memories of the ghosts of Christmas Past are happy ones but I use what I call my Christmas filters when I look back to those times. These filters, called nostalgia I suppose by others, allow me to look at long ago Decembers and smile. But it is more than nostalgia. What the filters do are let me take the good memories of past Christmases with me on my journey forward and do my best to leave the other ones behind, where they belong.

In the present day I have my boy cat Jay and a place filled to the rim with seasonal lights and greenery. It is hard to fill your own stocking. Jay says “stuff it yourself, just leave me catnip!” My very kind youngest sister makes sure to include a number of small wrapped-in-issue presents in her parcel so that I can have a stocking. I have friends who come to visit and one who always shares my Christmas meal with me so Christmas Present is very good.

And there are many good memories from years ago. Sleigh rides, carolling, banana bread and Earl Grey tea for breakfast, stockings, Jackie Gleason and Peggy Lee Christmas albums (yes, I am old) were among the many things that filled the holidays then. Many of my relatives lived in the same neighbourhood. One year my mother and I delivered their presents to them on a toboggan. I could not have been more than six but I can still remember the sounds of the toboggan gliding across the snow and the crunch of my boots on it. Once the presents were gone I then got a ride home!

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