Living with my father was a game of Russian Roulette , one minute he was your best friend the next he was swinging at you for no apparent reason. I didn’t have any where to go so I made myself as sparse as possible. My father and I lived on about $250 /mo, he only turned the water heater on once a wk., used 2 light bulbs and if we needed hot water or to cook it was done on the wood stove, I bathed at school or the neighbors. He even tried to ration the toilet paper-4 squares at a time- boy he sure didn’t know girls! Once the Electric Company showed up because they thought he was cheating some how because the bill’s were so low!
This picture is of the year before I moved in with my father (with my good friend “back then” Connie), I lived 1 yr. in a small suburb of Nanaimo,BC. called Cedar, where I went to grade 10 and lived with my Oldest sister and basically raised her 2 kids that year…but I had fun even though I was her slave! It was one of the happiest times of my life. There were 5 of us, 4 girls and 1 guy that hung around…that one guy saved me one night 2.5 yrs. later, but sealed our friendship with the most memorable kiss I’ve ever had back then (in grade 10)! Till this day I can still feel it! Softest lips ever!
As soon as I moved into that subdivision in Bowser I learned I was the only teen-aged girl, I started putting the word out I’d babysit any time in the evenings (as my curfew for riding or walking to the beach was 9:00pm) unless I was babysitting, even then he’d sit up and wait for me. I started earning my own money and and stashing it in my sock drawer. I had to fend for myself!
The first summer when I wasn’t down at the beach, I applied for the one and only job posting in the area, I really didn’t think I’d get it because I was so new and all the girls who lived in the area applied for it……they choose me! So, I became a ” The Summer Camp Counselor” for every weekend. I had about 1 doz. little brats on my hand who I had to keep busy, my fix was to just take them to the beach! It worked ! Only one kid made those weekends hell and he was a smart ass little red head, he knew how to get my goat! I wasn’t taking that job again! I made about $3.25 hr./20 hrs a wk., then evenings I’d babysit making about $10.00 a night, pretty good for a 15 yr. old! At 16 I found time to play on the local girls team, the “Bowser Lions”!
(Don’t remember winning one game!) Boy was I a Bone Wrack!! 5’11 and 130lbs!
Some weekends when I wasn’t working ( in the Fall) I’d jump on the Island bus and go to Victoria ( a 3hr. trip) to visit my dear Gram, I loved that women so….but I still blame her for starting me smoking! In her little retirement apartment( a studio suite w/a fold out couch for me) she kept her stash of cigg’s in her dish-towel drawer in the kitchen, even though she was 85 and told not to smoke she still did but when ever someone knocked on the door or just walked in (as they did there) she’d shove the smoke into my hand…It was so funny! It’s not really your fault Gram! Bless her Scottish soul, I miss her tons!
The next summer in grade 12 I was able to get a gig working for a big Catering company in Qualicum Beach, my Home-EC. teacher trained me to carry 6 plates and basically got me the job. It wasn’t many gig’s but I got to love the food industry! I remember one evening we had to be there at 6pm, well I went to the beach that morning and fell asleep on the beach and by the time I woke up I was the colour of a cooked Lobster! I was in so much pain working that night because it was so hot, then add the temperature in the kitchen, even the people at the reception where commenting on how burnt I was.. Because this job was mostly evenings I was able to acquire another job (fought over by local girls again)! I became a full time summer “Tourist Consultant” for Qualicum Bay, I rode my bike the 3 miles there and 3 miles home just about every day unless it was pouring then some nice local would give me a ride home at least to the top of our road ( about another 1/4 mile down into the subdivision). Oh, and my father made me pay rent! Jack Ass! but brought me hot suppers if I worked the late shift (he could be so nice when he wanted too) Jack-Ass!
Before I graduated I decided to buy a camera, a little Kodak 110, this photo was something I came across one afternoon just sitting on a rock,(one of my first pictures) I guess it was a beaken for someone who went out fishing and wasn’t expected back till dark, I thought it was pretty cool and just left it alone! When I Graduated I took myself on a trip on a Grey-Hound to Alberta to visit my brothers. It was an 18 hr ride and I didn’t sleep a wink! When I got to the town I called both of them but there was no answer, so I went to their places and found out by neighbors they left for the Long weekend and wouldn’t be back till Monday- it was a Thursday I showed up! I was devastated! No where to stay and not enough money for a cheap hotel ( I guess surprise visits aren’t a great idea!) lol… I went to my youngest brothers apt and buzzed the manger, I explained my crisis and he was gracious enough to open my brothers door (after looking at my ID ) but did not give me a key! If I wanted to go anywhere I had to stick a shoe in it just to get back in!
It wasn’t long before a couple single guys who lived on the top floor noticed me and invited me up, they basically took care of me the 4 days, even one of them took me home to his mothers and out to Edmonton to meet his sister. (Yes GentleStiches, this was Mitch!). We went rollerskating, out to dinner, got drunk together and fell in love, it was a great time, (maybe not all in the same order!) Mitch was so sad to see me have to go…..I was only suppose to stay for that weekend, but what the Hell! I was having fun and Loving it! He promised to write and to come visit me! He did write not long after I got home…but I’ll tell you about that later!
When my brothers came home I visited with them for about 3 days and said Adios! for the next leg of my journey….back up to Northern Alberta to the hell of 5 yrs. My friend Rena still lived there so I wanted to see her. Another miss planned trip!
I took another Grey-Hound up to Westlock, Alberta, and waited for the next bus…there was none! Not for another week! I had another 60 miles to go….how in the hell was I to get there?? Screwed Again! My own fault!
Look for Part lll and I’ll tell you the rest of my crazy trip, and a photo of Dave and Mitch!