Sunday, November 22, 2009


The gals of Richmond on a country tour, circa 1908. Flora at bottom, Edith above her. The pose seems a tiny tinge 'burlesquey' if you ask me. That tall woman on the right seems to have the body language of a Mack Sennett Bathing Beauty. Mack Sennett, the Hollywood Legend, was born Sinnott in Richmond, and was around Edith's age. He was Irish and she was Scottish so their paths likely didn't cross, romance-wise. Norman delivered seed to the Sinnott's in 1890's

Technical point: writing a story online here is a bit dangerous. It appears you can't cut and paste anything into this blog. When I wrote that very first paragraph of the first chapter of Flo in the City on the blog DO I DARE EAT A PEACH? I erased it when I went to put in a picture. So I had to re-write it.

And I've got a bit of a headache (too much wine yesterday?) and I am so fuzzy-brained I can't recall the name of the Flora's school... But I am going to write SOMETHING. Just a few words.

"Come in off the veranda, Flora dear. You'll catch a chill."

Now that wasn't like her mother, refusing to make a quick repair on a frock or stocking. She must be very nervous about her trip, Flora figured.

Just a change of colour. There it was again. And if she didn't do well on this exam, or if she failed, heaven forbid, she'd be in for it.

Lucky for her Norman was away working with the bears and the wolves - and those awful Englishmen - up in the bush.

Because were he at home he'd likely walk right up to Mr. Honeyman, the Principal of St. Francis College, at the next Masonic Meeting and demand that he tell Mr. N., her teacher, to spend more time on the subjects she was failing.

He'd done it before and he'd do it again.

So Flora decided to take her Mother's advice and come in off the porch. The cool breeze wasn't the problem for Flora. She liked to curl up after school in the weatherbeaten reed rocking chair and bath her face in the sun's timid rays. Springtime was her favorite season, well, except for those ghastly exams.

It was the view from the veranda that was so very distracting. So calm, peaceful. All those comfortable, even elegant homes along Dufferin Street, each one containing a family, like her own, with grandparents, mothers, fathers, children whose every action, every word, was spread broadcast across the small town in days, even hours - propelled by gossip exchanged at church, or when the local women gathered for their 'day at home', or met in the shops,at Hudon's General Store or Pope's butchers or Sutherland's the druggist down on Main Street.

So many lives, interesting, dull, happy, sad, intertwined. And then there were some problems only whispered, money problems for instance.

Town life.

Richmond wasn't such a small small town, was it?
It wasn't Montreal, but it wasn't Kingsbury either. It many ways it seemed the perfect town, of perfect size. In a perfect location, between Montreal, Quebec, Boston. Except for the danger of tramps from the trains breaking into your barn, looking for food or shelter, life was safe here.

Flora gathered up her writing pad and her pencils and folded that inky examination paper into her composition book (so as not to lose it) and used her skinny little elbow to push her skinny little body up out of the garden chair.

Just a change of colour. Was marriage something so simple, so easy? So uneventful? Then why was it all she could think about these days.