July 22, 2014

Things I Wrote as a Kid, Part 2

Our local Arts Festival just ended on Sunday night with a wonderful concert with Ricardo Tesi and Banditaliano from Italy. Our festival is a bit of an endurance test. Ten days of music and art bookended by jam-packed weekends of the same makes for an exhilirated yet exausted family and a messy, neglected house. Never mind, after a day of recovery I spent this morning cleaning and doing laundry, while this evening I will enjoy attending my regular yoga class. Ahhhh...it almost makes me appreciate returning to regular life.

As I said in my previous post, Things I Wrote as a Kid, I have been reading my teenage diaries. One day last week it occured to me to share my entries regarding the Winnipeg Folk Festival which I attended the summer of 1987 with my sisters, Monica and Clare and Clare's husband, Brent, along with some of their many friends. I had taken the train to Winnipeg after graduating from high school (I was seventeen) and was staying with Monica and her husband Matthew and their little daughter Anna. When rereading my diary entries I felt so blessed to have such close relationships with my sisters and brothers who were so generous and kind to me, their youngest sister. We had so much fun! I will include some highlights of my trip and time spent eating and cycling my way around Winnipeg. I hope my readers enjoy them.

Travelling to Revelstoke
I'm a little tired from the goodbye party Toni and the girls gave me last night. (They made posters of sheep for me; they made popcorn balls with Nibs as feet and eyes (sheep, a theme due to their nickname for me, 'Baa') and raspberry punch and pretzels. They made me a hilarious collage and an Ann Taylor portfolio with all my favourite pictures from magazines. Val gave me some fake Lauren perfume - cheap but a pretty fair copy. It was a really nice night). 
We started the morning with cantaloupe and me crying on Stephen's shoulder. I will miss him and Pauline (my brother and sister closest in age to me) Pauline and Steve gave me a bit more money for the trip, too. Then we packed up the Beluga (our fond name for the car). We had to use bungee cords to keep the lid of the trunk down because of my bike box. Chaos!
We rambled through the Slocan Valley (I don't know the sequence of towns) and through Silverton. We stopped at the Silverton Lookout. It was so quiet. You turn your back on the highway and look down into the lake below and across to the mountains. Nobody lives anywhere below but if I had the choice I would live right down on the cliffs. We had coffee in Silverton too and Mom madly (well not quite madly) ran around putting up museum and arts council posters. Then we stopped and ate at Nakusp on the beach. Bagels and cream cheese and pickles, tomatoes, cukes and sprouts! We didn't swim, though. We crossed the Ferry to Blanket Creek to swim. It is a small lake off the river and is quite warm. It's almost like a large bowl in that it becomes very deep in the middle. So, I couldn't stay out of the water. We got to Revelstoke and napped until 5:30 at our motel, The Swiss Chalet (tacky but clean). We ate in the motel restaurant and I had Weiner Schnitzel, which is breaded pork. It's not too exciting but with a squeeze of lemon it becomes quite good. We also had homemade chocolate cake which was excellent. We went for a long walk in the 105 degree air! The sun went down, though, as we headed back to first pack my bike in its box and then go to bed. I fell asleep around 11:45 I think. Mom had to watch the Journal Art and Music News. 
I woke up at 3:15 and had an invigorating shower and washed my hair! I felt so much better. We drove to the station and waited one hour for the late train. Eventually its whistle was finally heard. I boarded and got ready mentally for the trip. I had to sit in the smoking section until Calgary! But! Behind and across from me were two lovely Kiwis - very quiet but sweet. Right across from me was a really great Aussie named Tom. We met quickly and from then on we talked and talked! He bought me a coffee but a little while later I bought him a tea. He told me about all the food he'd eaten in all the places he'd been. His favourite, I gather, is Asia. We discussed art and everything else (Cabbages and Kings!) It was really neat to meet someone who could talk my ear off. He even seemed to enjoy talking to me. He's a dentist and is 29 but handsome (I like the 'but') and someone I could respect highly. 
The stops have been short until now. We didn't even get to walk around Lake Louise or Banff where Tom got off. The Rockies weren't as impressive as I'd imagined. They looked so old and grey. There were, however, a few majestic mountains yet even these looked ready to crumble...(I feel differently about the Rocky Mountains now.)

Monica, Clare, Matthew and Anna met me at the station. We got back to (Monica and Matthew's) funky apartment and I had a bath. Beautiful! I felt revived and sat down and had some breky (scrambled eggs and some banana bread). Then, I went to sleep for 5 and a half hours. When I got up Clare French-braided my hair...

June 29th
Got up about 8 a.m. because Anna was making a bit of noise. Matt made me breakfast and then I played with Anna who was really cute with me. Monica went to work and so Matthew and I took a drive. We brought Mon's lunch to her work and she introduced me for about 2 seconds to everyone _ I really like Alam. He is a tall, black man from Eritria who talks like, "Oh, so thees ees Moneeca's sistah."...we went to the Provincial Museum and saw the 'Non-Such'. It was neat but there is no way I would cross the Atlantic Ocean in it! We came home and relaxed and then Monica bugged me about being spoiled at home so I rebelliously did the dishes to prove her wrong. I may not do anything at home but I am able to. Clare and Brent came and got me after supper. It was really good to see Brent. He brought me a huge bag of tacky souvenirs (and some very useful ones such as a bicycle road map, a hat, and some postcards) One thing he stapled on tied with many other things such as buttons, matches, and pins was a really ugly and heavy bottle opener. Attached to it was a note, "Also good for beating off men." It was really funny...We then drove all around the city and went to a place called Osborne Village where the trendies hang out and had ice cream. I had one scoop of pistacio and one of fudge torte. Yummy! 

June 30th (Actually July 1st 3:40 a.m.) 
I am hyped on coffee! Tonight I went to the Bluenote (a dark cafe that has good music and long-haired waiters) with Matthew, John Cook and Alan Cox. They had the best coffee I've ever had and I must have had 4 cups! Ack!!!...Clare and I went to see 'Roxanne' again and generally let everyone around us know that Nelson was our hometown and that I 'appeared' in the movie. Then we walked home with Monica and my feet got sore from my new sandals and I had to be carried across the railroad tracks because I had taken the sandals off!

July 8th
Clare, Jen and Brent came to pick me up and we headed out to Bird's Hill Park for the first installment of the four day Winnipeg Folk Festival. When we got there this gospel blues band with four rather heavy-set black women singing such favourites as 'Amazing Grace' and 'Lord lift us up where we belong'. Mmmm. Then we heard a Montreal-based band called Latin-something-or-other. We danced to them and had fun. Then! Ladysmith Black Mombazo came on! They are about a 10 piece singing group from South Africa. They sing in Zulu and English and have wonderful choreography! They were a marvel to watch - so happy and bouncy. I really enjoyed them. It rained hard, though. Then it was off to Robin's Doughnuts and then Cousin's cafe for coffee and Sleepytime Tea respectively. Mom is sending me money! Yeah!

July 12th
We went to the Folk Festival yesterday - in fact CBC is broadcasting live at the Folk Fest. It was incredible! I was very impressed. We heard real folk, rock, Celtic rock, everything! We went from workshop to workshop, food stand to food stand! The best part I think was the night concert. Maria Muldaur, a Celtic rock band (Capercaillie), and David Lindley provoked us to dance crazily and sing along to songs such as 'You-oo--oo--oo send me" and "I love freedom" (we slyly added 'maxi pads' after each 'I love freedom') We ached from all our dancing. We got cold and put on sweaters, pants, anoraks - only to take them off again when we jumped and flailed our arms and yelled and hollered. It was such a high. At one workshop - the Afro-Calypso one, we imitated everyone we knew. It was hilarious - one can only get away with such craziness at Folk Fests! At the end we decided to stand at the back - way behind the thousands so we could leave a bit early to avoid traffic. Back there the music was bouncing off every food stand and fence and coming back to us in a very strange rhythm. 

July 13th
I got up at 11 and started a bath about 12 but Monica and Clare came home for lunch so I postponed my hot, peaceful solitude to dine with my beloved siblings. We ate cream of mushroom soup after dessert, of course! (brown sugar cake with whipped cream) I was still tired so I sat down to watch TV, but I looked around and the house was a mess so I cleaned the kitchen, put out laundry, and cleaned my room. I have discovered that when I do things in the house Matthew buys me a cold pop when he goes out to get the paper. Silent and sweet - that's our Matt - well, not too silent. When he gets going about history he can tell you lots of interesting things not at all silently! I danced with Anna while Monica started a letter. I then gave Anna a bath and dressed her, shirt coordinating with socks, of course! 

July 16th
I got up at 9:00 so I wouldn't waste the day...I was going to go downtown with Cathy but Pat Pyrz dropped by. We had a huge talk session which lasted until supper, through supper, all the way (while riding our bikes) to Assiniboine Park where it ceased for 1 and 1/2 hours because we watched Shakespeare in the Park. Pat's brother Gene was in it - Two Gentlemen from Verona. It was hilarious! The talk session lasted on the bike ride to the Impressions Cafe where all the wanna-be-folkies and some actually real folkies hang out, and it sustained until 12:30 p.m. between Pat, Monica, me, and neighbour Robin. Then Pat took me to a little eatery where we talked until about 2! Ack! Every subject from travel to glue-on bikinis was covered. What a day! I'm worn out!

Little Anna and me - taken by Brent at my parents' house

And that is where the diary of my summer in Winnipeg ends. After considering many options for the fall of 1987 including attending Lakehead University with Clare and Brent I decided I was homesick for my mountains and went back home to attend my local college. And so began another series of adventures, and another diary.

Note: all of this may seem shallow and silly considering all the sad and sobering things that are happening in the world these days, but I do find that when I am feeling weighed down by sadness a good antidote is to write about something that made or makes me happy. Something innocent, something free.


  1. Rebecca, for me, a girl who never experienced any arts or festivals or travels to my older sibilings, this sounds like a very worldly and adventurous time in your life. Your are very aware and conscious for a 17 year old and this sounds like it would have been so much fun. Can't imagine talking to people with such vast experiences at that age and about so many different topics. Lucky you! Keep sharing as there is nothing shallow or silly about a life well lived!

    1. Well, honestly, that was about as worldy and adventurous as I ever get. You are certainly making up for your lack of travel and adventure (and festivals) now, Roxanne! Thanks :-)

  2. Not sure if what I wrote disappeared or went to you so trying again! Wonderful to read. Reminds me of visits to my older siblings and little nieces and nephews at a similar age. Thanks for sharing.

    1. This page has been acting a little strangely, so I apologize if your previous comment went astray. It never did make it to me, sadly. I'm very glad you enjoyed this post and could relate, too :-) P.S. See you soon!

  3. I love that picture of you and Anna. Innocence and freedom are things to be held on to and cherished. I had just had my first child while you were in Winnipeg!

    1. That photo has caused quite a stir among my connections. Someone told me I look just the same. She obviously isn't looking at me (or my hair) very closely these days!
      I am imagining you with your first baby while I was in Winnipeg. Happy thoughts :-)

  4. ha it is pretty cool to look back on those moments...i never kept a diary when i was young...i have my memories to go on but...pretty cool going to the folk festival...and you can hear your excitement in the words...of the people and the whole experience...i was in my teens when i started really getting into music and visiting festivals and such...

    1. I had been to several festivals in my home town but the Winnipeg Folk Fest was my first big one. I also saw David Bowie live from the front rows that summer - my first big concert, too. Nice to hear from you, Brian. Hope your summer is going swimmingly!


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