Tag Archives: toronto

Dear Diary Episode Three: Touch Me I’m Sick

25 Jul

And now, for your voyeuristic pleasure, I present to you, dear reader, another fascinating and sensational episode of Dear Diary, featuring the writings of two young women, one circa 1970s, the other circa 2000s, straight from their respective diaries, treasures which I have found through years of thrifting and garbage digging.

Our first entry, courtesy of a young girl named Valerie is extremely unusual when compared to the rest of the entries.  Most days, recorded in a five year diary spanning the years 1969 through 1974, reveal a very perfectionist and repetitious existence, often with very little change from day to day.  For example, take these two entries, written on consecutive days:

Day one, February 4th, 1969

“Went to school, to choir, watched TV, did homework, did dishes, got clothes ready, bed.”

Day Two, February 5th, 1969

“Went to school, watched TV, did homework, got clothes ready, went to bed.”

Not much is revealed about her inner life.

Valerie’s time is passed by cycling through the same mundane chores and tasks, much like the rest of us.

But in the later years of the diary, as she transforms from pre-adolescent to adolescent, she starts to spend more time with friends, and boys, and she attends parties and drive-ins and such.  But the following entry is a marked departure from her usual, innocent and responsible behavior, and she dutifully records the inevitable consequence.  This entry also marks the last time she would write in her diary, as her experience that night seems to delineate the place where she completely crosses over into the fraught world of the teenage girl, a place where a five year diary offering only four ruled lines per day is no longer enough to explain what has occurred.

July 8th, 1971

“Went dancing, got drunk, went swimming, kissed Bob, Barry, Jack, Rich, Mike, was sick.”

The rest of the seventies is left to our imagination.

Valerie’s five year Diary

Old diary entries always have a dreamy quality, I guess because memories seem pale and somewhat indistinct the way dreams do.  This entry, from the second diary, recorded by an unnamed author, details a dream that in its melancholy beauty evokes the kind of longing and loss that typifies reminiscence.

April 1st, 2003

“Last night my dream hurt me.  It started out at the Big Bop downtown. (The big Bop was an infamous, but now defunct punk venue that was in downtown Toronto.–Miss Lady Heart)  I was with a bunch of girls from my school and all these girl bands were playing L7 and 7 Year Bitch songs and stuff.  We left and went to a bar at one point.  And I think Devin was there.  (This seems to be the author’s boyfriend.  See Dear Diary Episodes One and Two for more on him.–Miss Lady Heart)  Something happened with Devin, but I cant remember.  I can see us standing in a snowy back ally, that’s all.  The part I mostly remember was walking around with these kids that were real hurt inside.  We didn’t say much, but I could tell they were sad.  I remember us going to this house and the guys just sat down in this room, but us girls 3 altogether, climbed out the window, and there was a beach outside.  These dolphins swam up to us, and they were bleeding, and they seemed like they wanted us to kill them, and that’s why they came.  I didn’t want to, but the other girls started throwing things at them and hurting them, and the water got bloodier and bloodier.  I was so sad, but they liked it.  The dolphins were beautiful before.  After they died, the girls sang this gorgeous song.  I almost knew it, but not quite, it was like dying and heaven.  I wish I could remember it.  After that all I can remember is me and these girls visiting a sick boy in a house down the street from mine.  He wanted me to hold him so badly and when I did he almost melted in my arms.  He was sleeping in my Strawberry Shortcake bed sheets.”

Each girl writes of  a totally different subject, yet they both evoke the same sad, romantic, dizzy feeling, a feeling of being emotionally overwhelmed,a sense of the power and mystery of water, the sometimes fleeting nature of love, and the music that’s in the background.

the second diary

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Dear Diary: Episode Two, Boys in the Park

30 Apr

As I revealed in the last “Dear Diary” Post I have acquired two diaries, one, a five year diary written in the years 1969 and 1970, and one written around 2001.  They are both written by girls around the same age, but of course they have vastly different content and writing styles.  The first contains entries that are rather brief and succinct, while the second goes into many juicy details about boys and getting in to trouble and stuff.  In this episode, I have selected two entries wherein each girl talks about a boy she has a crush on.  As I said before, the 1960s diary, written by a girl named Valerie, contains entries that are very short and to the point, and mention very little about who her friends are, but as I read along, a boy named Vince starts to enter the picture, and a very sweet and timid affection seems to develop between them.  Let’s join Valerie, her life already in progress, on May 31st, 1970:

“Was all day with Vince at the park, kissed me, watched TV, went to Vince’s bed.”

At first when I read this, the lack of punctuation at the end there made me think that she had gone to Vince’s bed, you know, with Vince.  But I think she forgot the comma, and just meant to say that she went to bed at the end of the day, an obvious assumption one make’s about anyone’s day, but an event she nevertheless felt important to end most of her diary entries with.  After this entry she starts to write about Vince a lot, even though just two weeks ago, on May 16 she wrote that she had kissed Rich at Cindy’s party!  You go girlfriend!

Valerie's five year diary

The second diary has much longer, rambling entries and is therefore much juicier.  I’ve gathered from my reading that at the time the unnamed writer had a boyfriend named Devin, but that didn’t stop her from meeting a boy she had a crush on named Christian at a local park in this undated entry:

“Christian paged me and I phoned him and we met in the park.  He was wearing this pinkish tank top that said “Black Hills”, blue trousers rolled up at the cuff and 20 holed doc’s  He has this really cute haircut that’s longer on one side and swept over his forehead.  He dresses, like, better than me.  While I was with Tara (seems to be the writer’s best girlfriend- ladyheart) I was asking her if I was evil for meeting this boy but she said not if I had good intentions.  He was a really nice guy, and I was really comfortable talking to him, but by the end of the night I was thinking he was gay.  Maybe I’m being stereotypical, but he sold weed in these pale pink bags, he was a really good dresser, he works at this gallery “ArtSystem”, and when we were talking about graffiti he said his tag name was “Sugar”  Oh, and he said that these thug guys in his neigbourhood called him a fag.  Later Tara said that he was just an art fag, not gay.  I don’t know.  It would be a shame for all women if he was gay.  He is so beautiful.  I find him very fascinating.  I hope me and him can be friends.  He says Artsystem has the craziest parties.  Maybe he’ll invite me to one.  I know where he lives.  It’s right, like two doors away from the “El Mocambo” (a now defunct legendary  Toronto nightclub- ladyheart)  He said he grew up up in the suburbs and he coudln’t take it so he used to just stay with friends and stuff, like wherever he ended up.  He was telling me about this one time when he was waiting for someone in Kensington Market really early in the morning, and all the meat stores were getting their deliveries and he was telling me about when he saw these huge stacks of beef carcasses that the delivery guy was unloading, and he was picking them up, one by one and slinging them over his shoulder, and sometimes he would hit his head with them, and carry them into the store, and come out and do it again, and he was completely covered in blood on his uniform.  He said it was the most hilariously morbid scene he ever witnessed.”

Wow, leave it to a guy to tell a gross story like that on a date.  Or could it be called a date?  The writer does have a boyfriend.  What do you think, dear reader?  Were her intentions good?  Should she have gone and met this boy in the park?  I think we’ve all seen what the romantic atmosphere of a park can lead to based on Valerie’s diary entry above.  Her innocent kiss led her right into Vince’s bed.

The Juicier Diary

Lady Heart Portfolio: Polaroids

4 Apr

There is something about Polaroids that give a picture that extra something.  The way the colours look sort of more reminiscent of an old photograph is one aspect of it, but also the fact that it is truly one of a kind, as you can never make prints of it.  Also, there is no zoom on the camera, and it will only focus sharply at certain distances, and you cannot edit the photo on a computer afterwards.  Therefore it is always a treat to get beautiful Polaroid pictures, and here are a few of my best shots.

The first two I took when I was down at the Toronto waterfront with a friend.  There were some swans in the water, and I was trying to photograph them, but they were too far away.  But soon, a great big one came right up in front of me, and lifted and fluffed it’s wings up, as if purposely posing for me.  It was quite a magnificent bird.

The posing swan

I was really happy with the photo, the way the light diffused across the water, giving it a soft focus, and the perfect composition of the swan off centre in the frame, but as an added bonus, I was also able to capture this beautiful moment:

The posing swan's bum

A lovely day by the water.

The next photo I would like to share with you, dear reader is a Polaroid I took of a butterfly that had landed on the hyssop growing in our front garden.

I was pleasantly surprised when the butterfly was the only thing in sharp focus in the picture, a nice focal point that was a happy accident when working with a camera with no manual focus, or display screen.  I hope you have enjoyed this photos, and check back again  for more self serving promotion soon!

Found Notes: 1940s Edition

4 Apr

While digging (literally) through my favorite junk shop, Odds and Ends I found a letter dated 1941 from a young woman to her boyfriend that she has not seen in a little while.

Odds and Ends, 703 Queen St. W., Toronto

Most of the letters and postcards I find are somewhat boring and give no insight into what is going on in the person’s life at the time, but this one was pretty good.  The letter writer Betty  is pining away for her lover, all the while worrying that some other girl will snatch him away.  Meanwhile she fears that he thinks she has been untrue.  And poor insecure, self depreciating, Betty, is she as cute in real life as she is in the picture he has of her in his wallet, she wonders??  A somewhat repetitive and rambling letter writer, Betty has a love affair not only with Gordon, but with run-on sentences as well.  Let’s peer back in time dear reader, for a look at the trials and tribulations of affairs of the heart, Betty and Gordon style:

To Mr Gordon Schissler

c/o S.S Manitoba

Sault Ste. Marie

Ontario

Set. 4, 1941

Hello Darling!

Dearest Gord,

Well I got your letter at last, and I suppose you got mine (such as it was) and I must say I liked it a lot and I certainly didn’t think it was silly or childish and it sure is nice to have somebody you love write you such a swell letter.  Thanks honey!  The only thing I didn’t like in the letter was about that guy off the Kewatin. (lady heart- she must be referring to another navy or army boat, Gord being on the SS Manitoba)  I’m telling you Gord.  I didn’t go out with him or even speak to him that night and that’s the truth, so help me god!  He sure had his nerve cooking up a story like that.  You just gotta believe me cause I certainly wouldn’t lie to you, of all people.  Well I guess I’ve cleared that up, so lets talk about something else.

Did you get the boat safely on Wed.?  I guess you must have or I’d have seen you before this.  But we sure didn’t have much time together last night did we?  My mother almost collapsed when I got home so early.

I hope we can go to Port Arthur sometime.  I’d really like to show you around there.

I couldn’t hardly wait to get home at noon today to see if there was any mail + sure enough there was.

It rained here tonight so we didn’t go out anyplace.  I guess we will go skating tomorrow night.

Could you figure out all the initials on the back of the envelope this time? (lady heart- the back of the envelope said ” S. W. A. K.”)  I bet you couldn’t.

Still got my picture in the front of your bill fold?  You’re lucky you got that picture because it really flatters me.  It’s about twice as cute as I really am, don’t you think?

Don’t worry Gord if I do come home with any other boy I won’t kiss him at all.  I’m not kissing anybody but you and you oughta know that now, or didn’t I tell you?  I can’t promise I’ll never come home with any other boys because that’s rather hard to do when you go to a dance or something like that but I can promise you I won’t kiss them.  (lady heart-she switches from pen to pencil here)  I won’t ask you to promise that because I guess it’s harder for a boy not to do it than a girl but it would be nice to know you didn’t.

I still have “our” little jitterbug.  I don’t think I’ll lose him.  I’ll have to be careful somebody doesn’t pinch it.  You’ll have to excuse this writing but I’m in bed now and I had to get a pencil.   It’s nearly 12 so I guess I should put out light, honey and finish this tomorrow so goodnight darling.  (xxxxxx these are imaginary kisses I’m giving giving a certain blond haired boy who lives a little “joint” called Port Mc Nicholl I think you call it.)

Friday.  Well I’m back again to finish this letter.  Well school’s over for another week which is alright to (sic).

I will be looking for you on Wed. at noon if you’re in early enough.

I hope some other girl hasn’t come along yet, I’d sure feel badly if someone did.  I only wish you lived in Fort William so I could see you more often.  But I guess there’s nothing we can do about that it, is there?  You know, I often lie in bed too and imagine I’m sitting somewhere with you + you’re kissing me.  When I saw you on Wed. at noon I got the funniest feeling.  Must be love I guess.

Was the lake rough on your trip down?  I hope not.  I sure wouldn’t want anything to happen to my best boyfriend.

How’s Pat?  Still yearning for his girlfriend in Toronto?

Now I think I’ve said about everything I can think of now so don’t forget I’ll be counting the days till I see you again darling.  There’s only 5 left now.

So good bye now.

All my Love,

Betty

xxxxxxxxx

xxxxxxxxx

maybe you’ll get this many kisses next time

P.S. See you on Wed.

 

Have more confidence in yourself  Betty, and don’t believe the patriarchal notion that men cant control themselves around women, and women are less sexual and passionate. Women Unite!  I wonder what the little “jitterbug”  was, that she was worried would get lost or stolen?

Ah, young love.  Good luck you two!

Lady Heart Photography: Abandoned House

2 Apr

While visiting a friend I noticed the house next door.  It had obviously been empty a long time and had fallen into disrepair.  It was slated to be torn down soon.  I enjoy the sad beauty of urban decay, and I hope you will enjoy it too…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I only wish I could have gotten inside.

Street Art: Monster Box

2 Apr

There are so many talented artists who add to the vibrancy of our city (Toronto) by anonymously creating and installing artwork in public places.  These works always bring a smile to my face and I admire the guts these artists have to put their work out there where it can be stolen or removed by the city, (as is often the case)  and where there is no chance  for recognition.  I feel this is extremely selfless and generous of these artists, and by documenting these ephemeral installations we can all enjoy them long after they are gone.

This particular work I found in Parkdale (A west end Toronto neigbourhood) but the intersection now escapes me.  The way they have used the shape of the newspaper box to create a three eyed large mouthed monster is pure genius.  I wish I’d thought of it.  Wait, is it too late to say I did think of this?