Sunday, July 10, 2011

A Real Good Story of 1927

Mary Hardy Fair Wells, my husband's grandmother. In the twenties

Well, I'm taking a break from the first draft of Threshold Girl, my story about Flora Nicholson in 1911, and the best way to do that is NOT to start working on Edith's story, because that only serves to give me more ideas for Flo's story.

So, I've turned my attention to Milk and Water....and the more I look into it, the more I see a TERRIFIC story here, in the style of a BBC Radio 4 Afternoon Play. (I wonder if Alison Hindell is still the head of BBC Radio 4 Drama? Or is it Caroline Raphael? She was a Commissioning Editor...No, I checked, it is Jeremy Howe. But I'm not sure if they take Canadian submissions: their mandate is to promote UK playwrights. And the CBC has NOTHING.)

The Montreal typhoid epidemic of 1927 was truly an historic event, one that changed the way the city of Montreal dealt with public health. It was a huge story elsewhere, too, which was very bad for Montreal's public image, especially when it came to the US. Montreal was a favorite vacation spot for Americans.

That is a pre-requisite for a story like mine.... I have to bring to light an historic event that has relevance today, and, BOY, does it have relevance, considering that the world's fresh water supply is dwindling, big time. And considering all the nonsense relating to Green Marketing. All the bait and switch. My husband's grandfather Thomas Wells, used all the modern advertising (see fear) techniques to sell his bottled water, never quite saying the truth, and never quite lying.

And, of course, The Prince of Wales really did visit Montreal in 1927 and he really did like partying with Mayor Mederic Martin, my grandfather's boss. So that helps too.

And, I just found out, my grandfather really was directly involved with the Montreal water problem. I knew, as Director of City Services, this was likely to be the case, but I had no hard proof.

My grandfather, Jules Crepeau, was somehow forced to be a member of the Montreal Improvement League and I have a newspaper report where that group brings in 'an expert' to explain how Montreal water was purer than pure.

So, here, I have my Roman Catholic French Canadian grandfather having to work with those Presbyterian and Methodist do-gooder types. I can think of sooooo many good lines already.

I also want a reason to juxtapose the images of May Hardy Fair and my grandmother. My grandmother was the ideal woman of the 1900's and May was the ideal woman of the 1920's.

And since May was a bossy loudmouth American with a tall pencil thin body that she used to good effect showing off the latest 20's styles, I have to get a funny line in there somewhere...that brings to mind Mrs. Simpson.