Friday, April 01, 2016

Elly's Diary April 1, 2016

Dear Diary

I have a boyfriend.  I’m going out with the guy right now.  Isn’t that funny, I am 68, and I’m going out with somebody. But it’s great.   As a child, I used to think about this. I would wonder where in the world was the man with whom I would spend my adult life. He was wandering about somewhere, minding his own business, blissfully unaware that he would eventually wind up with me!  I thought that after 68 years, why haven’t I found that man?

Then, at my high school reunion, I met up with an old school chum.  I won’t write his name, but his name starts with P.  He’s a wonderful jazz guitarist and reminds me a lot of my brother Phil, back when he played jazz.  He had this wonderful moustache.  I have been trying to get John to grow a moustache forever.  It’s one of those things that you just don’t ask a guy to do, but for over 30 years I have tried and John refused.  But P already had a moustache and he had this fabulous tie with a design that was wonderfully fun.  It was comic and colourful, but not stupid cartoons, but really cool stuff that from a distance would look like paisley, but close up would be wonderful images that were all integrated.  We started talking.  I told him I loved his tie and he said, “I do have king-size bedsheets made with the same wonderful, colourful images for adults.”  I told him I would love to see his bedsheets some time and everything went well from there. 

P and I went to school together, from elementary through to high school.  After the final reunion activity, we went to a coffee shop on the corner of our old neighbourhood and walked the streets — all the places where we hung out as kids.

I have dreamed about this place. I have dreams about the school, about the laneways, and the downtown.  Seems he does too. We went to his old house — just a three-minute walk from my door — and looked around the property. The holly tree was still there, but it’s huge now, and the hedge was four feet taller. We went to our elementary school and walked about the grounds. The same trees ring the perimeter, and the same steps are in the courtyard.  We drove to Lynn Valley and walked over the suspension bridge to the swimming hole we called “Thirty Foot”.  It was wonderful to climb over the same rocks with the same footholds — pulling each other up, and talking about our eyesight and our need for better shoes.  That’s where we made love for the first time.  He was so handsome, I don’t know why I didn’t beg to go out with him when I was in high school.  It was a nerd to knockout metamorphosis in a guy that I thought was a nobody in high school. 

Afterwards we talked about the people we hung with, the bikes we rode, the alleys we roamed, and the places where we spent our pocket money. We talked about playing marbles and named the different types: dake, peerie, steam-roller, and cobb! Nobody but a kid from North Vancouver would know that stuff. We were absolutely gleeful as we made love for a second time. I didn’t know I could still do that.

By 1:00 am we were famished and we went to a pub in the valley and split a sandwich. After two beers, we were still talking about North Vancouver and where we had gone from there. It was a great night and I loved waking up in his king-size sheets covered with those wonderful, colourful images for adults.   There’s nothing like finding a chum who “remembers when” when you roll over in the morning.  He promised he would keep in touch and he has.  I can’t wait to get back to North Vancouver again.  It’s so strange to finally be in love at my age.

I know I should feel guilty about John, but I don’t.  He has worked with beautiful women ever since I met him. He’s a dentist. He has hygienists and front-desk girls, and there are usually eight girls around him all the time.  People in Milborough look at me as if to say, “Well, girl, join the club,” because in a small suburban town there’s a lot of horsing around, and the joke was you can steal a man’s wife, but you don’t touch his woodpile, you know? It is rampant up here in Milborough.  Just take Anne Nichols and her cheating husband Steve.  The town is full of cheaters. 

I know John has been cheating on me ever since he got that hygienist that looked like Cheryl Tiegs or Shania Twain or I forget who back in 1980.  He thinks adultery is a form of entertainment.  It is recreation in Milborough.  It is like a high school, all these different personalities thrown into this one inescapable place called Milborough where you had to be there together all the time, whether you wanted to or not, and someone you hated might turn out to be the guy in the bar that you’re hitting the sack with next year, you know?  And Ted McCaulay better keep his big mouth shut about that.  I didn’t have time for that, nor did I want it, but it was there in the town. But I thought there was safety in numbers if John was with a bunch of girls. And they were all really nice people. But I thought to myself, “If I’m going to be a jealous wife, I’ll drive myself crazy.”  I don’t have any proof, but a wife just knows these things. 

I knew that there were things not working, but I kept thinking, “When I’m retired, we’ll work it out.” But there was no conversation, no discussion, and suddenly I find that he wants to start up his own business again.  That’s practically like saying there’s another woman or 8 of them in the picture. So I sat there when I found out, absolutely stunned, thinking, “Who’s writing this story?!?”

It turns out I am writing this story.  I love P.  P loves me, and I can’t wait until the next time I get back to North Vancouver.   Finally, I am loved and I have never been happier,




Blogger howard said...

Notes on Elly's Diary

Most of this stuff is taken almost word for word from Lynn Johnston's interviews and other written material.

The part where she talks about her boyfriend is from the Toronto Comic Arts Festival of 2014 and she is talking about the guy with the moustache from North Bay she was dating.

Elly's thoughts about why she hadn't found a man yet at age 68 is taken from a recent Lynn's Note, which was remarkable because it seemed discount her two marriages. The sentiment would fit well with Elly.

The story about the visit with the high school chum comes from Lynn's talk about a visit with her own old high school chum in Vancouver and the day they spent with each other. I inserted a physical intimacy into it, but it did not take much to turn it to romance as Lynn's description of the visit was laced with passive romantic intentions. The likelihood of the visit actually occurring is remote as Lynn has some kind of health issue going on that would prevent anyone taking her on a date as physically strenuous as the one Lynn described. Nevertheless, I liked taking her fantasy date and making it a real date for Elly.

Lynn's description of the fabric she is doing comes from a radio interview where she tries to turn the radio interview into a sales pitch for her fabric. She did in fact refer to the use of the fabric with bedsheets which fit in well with the romance of the prior story.

The "nerd to knockout" material comes from Lynn's description of Anthony Caine in her "Lives Behind the Lines" book. It shows an underlining obsession she has with some guy she knew in high school, but we don't know if that guy is the same guy she spent time with a few months ago.

The last section talking about John and his beautiful employees comes from Lynn's infamous MacLean's interview where Lynn went on at length about how the people in Lynn Lake, Manitoba were all adulterers.

Cheryl Tiegs or Shania Twain is a reference to the name-update for the reprints Lynn did on the strip where John hired a hygienist based solely on her looks. The 1980 CBC interview with Lynn actually showed the real-life lady. She was pretty and she did kind of look like a furry Cheryl Tiegs.

The next part talking about “When I’m retired, we’ll work it out.” is taken from Lynn's confession about the end of her marriage in her 2008 Chicago Tribune interview. Never wait until retirement to resolve your fights, people.

As for the idea that Elly would cheat on John, I would say it would never happen in the comic strip at least not overtly. In 1986 there were strips about Elly going to a librarian convention that were laced with undertones of Lynn going out on convention, finding someone and never coming back.

Lynn on the other hand, cheated on her first husband with her second husband and if I am interpreting The Comic Art of Lynn Johnston correctly did seek at least visit one other man for the purpose of cheating unsuccessfully while she was married to, but fighting vigorously with Rod. She's not above it and so I made Elly not be above it either.

5:06 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home