Corrie Street Nov. 24/13

A Time for Us

Johann_Heinrich_Füssli-1809-detailA time for us:  that’s what Roy and Hayley want, what they need. Instead, like Romeo and Juliet, they have intrusions. Impending death the biggest of all. Distractions of a business, of learning to drive. Well-wishers and helpers, welcome or not.

Anna, handling the café and wanting to understand what’s bothering Roy. Pushed to his limit, he tells her: Hayley wishes to end her own life. He needs to tell someone but Anna is not the best choice. For sure, she will tell someone else. Maybe normally, Hayley wouldn’t be overly furious about her confidence being broken. But these days, Hayley is quickly infuriated.roy hayley in woody a time for us

Roy decides to spruce up their bedroom for Hayley’s homecoming from hospital. A nice idea but not a good one. It wouldn’t have occurred to him to do it, except for Jenna bringing him tea and looking askance at the room. Roy saw the peeling and faded wallpaper through her eyes. Then followed a hideous time of Roy the handyman. Thank goodness, Anna intruded again and got Owen and Gary to do the decorating.

suit-to-the-drycleanersProblem was Hayley came home early. She found her room full of people, people never normally in it. Their bedroom, her chosen final space, is completely changed. She wants her familiar refuge.

She wants to see the factory girls and her friend Jane from the cancer support group. Roy frets about her overtiring herself. She agrees to postpone her visit to the ailing Jane. Jane is a new friend, one Roy does not like. But Hayley has the bond of terminal cancer with her. Next day, they finally get there after I-missed-seeingRoy drags his heels as long as possible. Jane had died the night before. Hayley would have seen her if she’d gone when she wanted to. Jane’s death was peaceful but “she wasn’t herself”, her husband said. That reinforces Hayley’s belief that she wants to die while she is still herself, Hayley.

Roy cannot understand. He wants to hold her life-filled hand for as long as possible. I think he roy-stares-aheadpictures the deaths we see in movies. He can’t really imagine the agony he is asking her to endure. And that isn’t even taking into the account the real fear that Hayley has, that in her mind she will return to being Harold. So even when together in a small insular space like their car, they fight. Or more accurately, both try to avoid the other’s truth and angrily lash out with their own.

They are so close to each other and to their own feelings and beliefs that they cannot see you-had-only-justthe other’s point of view. They really do need a third party to see the forest in the trees. But neither are comfortable with the thought of counseling.

Meanwhile, life and business go on and friends continue to butt in, meaning well. Telling Roy he should spend all the time with Hayley that he can, not realizing that is exactly you-all-rightwhat they are fighting about.  Mercifully, we were spared Fiz’s solicitude. In every Roy and Hayley scene, my husband kept expecting Fiz to pop up like a jack-in-the-box with an oh-dear or can-I-help. Ha! Instead we got a Beth pop-up. Wonderful and very scary.

Corrie Street Nov. 17/13

Steak and Burgers

that-I-love-youThe week ended with a tentative, but lovely, reconciliation between Leanne and Nick. It was Gloria who pushed it, with some uncommonly sensible talk from her.

Leanne returned to town to see how she felt about Nick. Couldn’t forgive him, she decided. After she witnessed him coming unglued at the kids’ Hallowe’en party, she joined her mother, Tina and Gloria at the Bistro. While they chatted, she stared into space, brooding.

got-steak-at-homeGloria did an astute assessment and pushed her to talk. She couldn’t get past his one night stand, especially with it being Kylie, Leanne told her. Gloria agreed, why go out for hamburgers when you’ve got steak at home? Exactly, Leanne said, glad to have her grandmother side with her. “But the steak wasn’t at home, was it?” Gloria added, puncturing that little balloon of sanctimoniousness.

Leanne went over to the restaurant counter to mope, head in hands. Gloria pursued her and continued the discussion out of earshot of Stella and Tina. Sympathetically, she could-have-hurt-you-some-moreagreed Leanne had every right to be hurt and angry at Nick’s actions. But, she pointed out, the reason he was alone in the hotel, available for Kylie or anyone else, was because Leanne was not with him on what was to be their wedding night. The fact that Nick had turned down Eva when she offered herself on a plate showed that he had not intended to stray from Leanne. But he had learned in a cruel way that Leanne had pretty much offered herself on a plate to Peter right before she was supposed to be at you-ran-upstairs-to-peterthe church marrying Nick. Think on that, lassie!

And think Leanne did. It can take several thinkings and tellings for something to sink in. Earlier in the week, Gail had said much the same thing to Leanne. That Nick wouldn’t have had the chance to sleep with Kylie if Leanne hadn’t stopped en route to her wedding to see if her ex was still available. The words of Gail and Gloria perhaps reinforced Leanne’s recall of her own words when she first suspected Nick had been with someone else that night – that, given leanne-hugs-nickher actions, it was understandable that he’d seek solace elsewhere. It’s ok, she had said then, we both erred.

She says much the same to Nick now, this time filmed-itknowing all the facts.  She means it, I think. I hope they can reconcile. I hope too that she wipes the floor with that dreadful child Grace when she attempts her planned trick on Simon and Nick.

Ford Branding

Rob Ford at Ford Nation t-shirt boothTobacco companies are probably heaving a huge sigh of relief.  As far as we know, no cigarettes were smoked by Mayor Rob Ford.  So they do not need to distance themselves and their brands from him. One of few industries spared.

Due to the mayor’s littering, Newfoundland’s Iceberg Vodka distillery released a statement decrying drinking and driving.  Ford Motor Company said its logo can’t be used on t-shirts made by his supporters.  CFL officials must have had kittens seeing him wearing The-Bullpen-94.5-facebook meme of shocked cat, Rob Ford eats what?a Toronto Argonauts jersey while making his infamous statements Thursday about whom he was going to sue and why.

And speaking of kittens, I wonder when a cat food company will distance themselves from him after all of his revelations on Thursday.

Ford grist for the comedy mill

We made a point of watching The Daily Show and the Colbert Report Thursday night.  This was way too good for Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert to pass up.  They and every other comedian could not believe he had actually said what he said.  In a nation grown accustomed to dirty little scandals like Anthony Weiner’s crotch ‘selfies’, Elliot Spitzer’s call-girls and a President’s hair-splitting denials of what exactly he dailyshow-14-Nov-13was doing with an intern, you would think nothing could shock American late night tv hosts.  So when the mayor of a Canadian city grosses them out, that’s an accomplishment of some sort.

I’m not a fan of Saturday Night Live, but I saw they plan to do something about him in their show this week.  You know we’ll be watching, along with the rest of Canada – except for maybe a few truly mortified Torontonians.

iceberg vodka-bottle-TO-police-picCongratulations, Mayor Ford, you have well and truly made Toronto a memorable city.  And provided hours of entertainment, both with your own words and the commentaries on them.  Thank you.  I haven’t enjoyed watching the news so much since President Clinton was Bad Billy.  Please don’t stop now!

Corrie Street Nov. 10/13

Tea and Empathy

Someone needs to tell Roy that Hayley’s decision is not about ending her life prematurely every-time-I-thought Sally shows empathydue to despair. It is about wanting to find an acceptable accommodation to the decision that her body has taken for her, that her life is ending. The only choice she has left to make is how that end will come. With her personal experience and the insight she showed this week, Sally is the only person on the street able to tell Roy that.

From the perspective of direct experience, Sally gives a way of changes-everythingseeing to Roy. It was a different Sally – honestly introspective and compassionate. Lovely. With both the character and actress having gone through cancer diagnosis and treatment, it was hard to see the line between fiction and reality. Perhaps that made it even more powerful.

Sally doesn’t tell Roy what he, or Hayley, should do. She tells him how it felt for her, what frightened her and how she reacted. What’s total-lack-of-considerationit like from the inside and how do you cope: that’s what he wants to know. Yes, Hayley could tell him and has tried, but they are too intimately involved with each other and Hayley’s diagnosis. Sally is far enough removed from him that he can listen to her story more dispassionately. He wants to know more so invites her upstairs for tea so they can talk more privately.

The moment is lost

He is overwrought about Hayley’s wish to end her life at the time she chooses and about the fight that provoked Hayley’s decampment to Fiz’s house. Upstairs, he begins to open up to Sally, starts to tell her about their argument. Hayley is being illogical, doesn’t care about how Roy may feel – he time-for-you-to-fall-outpauses, maybe steeling up his nerve to say what exactly Hayley’s inconsistency and lack of consideration is about.

Sally breaks into the pause to give a load of advice just as easily found in a counseling pamphlet. It’s not about you and your inconvenience, it’s about Hayley and comforting her fears. Yes, yes, yes.  Sally, don’t you know Roy well enough after all these years to see that he is struggling with something big and wants to tell you about it? Evidently not, and that moment she had so beautifully is gone.

Unfortunately, the argument between Roy and Hayley is not over. Hayley, now ill, will biggest-fear-was-dyinghave to again fight the battle over exercise of personal choice. That is something that you would expect Roy, of all people, to understand. And maybe if someone a little less closely involved than Hayley pointed out the inconsistency in logic to him, he would grasp it.

The Princesses Louise

PLP-Sign-photo-Dorothy-StewartIs Princess Louise Park in Sussex NB named for a British Royal or a horse?  I’ve heard both answers. The person was daughter of Queen Victoria and patron of the 8th Hussars Regiment. The horse was the 8th Hussars Regimental Mascot.

Princess Louise, the horse, was an Italian-born WWII refugee. She later was naturalized as a Canadian citizen, made a Freewoman of the Village of Hampton and a member of the Canadian Legion #28 Hampton Branch.

Princess-Louise-marker-photo-D-StewartShe and her daughter, both members of the 8th Hussars, are commemorated with their own marker close to the Cenotaph  in Hampton’s Veterans Park.

A foal found wounded beside her dead mother in Coriano, Italy, Princess Louise was rescued by 8th Hussars men from the Hampton and Sussex area.  She then traveled with them for the rest of the war – to Regimental mascot Princess Louise and 8th Hussars in ItalyFrance, Belgium and Holland. It took considerable ingenuity to pull that off.

When the men moved by ship to France, they were not allowed to take animals. So they modified a truck that was being transported, building a stall behind a false wall in it. Two of them went AWOL for a short period of time during loading. Afterwards, the charges were quietly dropped. Perhaps the machinations went quite a way up the chain of command?

8th Hussars Regimental Mascot

Princess Louise and the regiment were in Holland at the end of the war. When it came Camp-Sussex-Mural-with regimental mascot Princess Louise photo-D-Stewarttime for the men to come home, they couldn’t bring her back on the troopship.* They left her with the British Army Veterinary Corps, asking them to get her on a ship as soon as possible.

She arrived in New York a few months later. From there, she travelled by train to Saint John where she was given the keys to the city.  She then traveled in style to Camp Sussex in the town of Sussex and served there for 27 years as Regimental Mascot.  Her duties included Sgt-Bickerton-Princesses-Louise-Sussex-1954representing the regiment in Remembrance Day services and most civic events in Sussex.  She greeted officials and was a favourite in parades around the province.  H. Thad Stevens was her first handler and Sgt. Gordon Bickerton took over care of her and her daughter.

Legacy

Princess Louise gave birth to three foals.  After she died in 1973, a daughter named Princess Louise II served as mascot until she died at the age of 27 in 1981.

Regimental Mascot Princess Louise Legion-application-photo-D-StewartPrincess Louise’s horseshoes, framed, hang in the Hampton Legion. Also there is her application for Legion membership. Her hoofprint is on the signature line. In answer to “number of dependants” is typed “3420 (total Regt’l enlistment)”.

LCol. R. S. McLeod wrote her story. You can read it here. Ana Dearborn-Watts later wrote a children’s book about her, The Pony Princess. The Hampton Legion published it and gave copies to area school libraries.

The President of the Hampton Legion told me that usually every Remembrance Day, “somebody writes something Dearborn-The Pony Princess-photo-Dorothy-Stewartabout her.” Indeed a story this lovely, of horses and men, should not be lost to us.

I borrowed the photos of Princess Louise from the Saint John Telegraph-Journal’s 2011 Remembrance Day story, here. You can read more about the 8th Canadian Hussars here.

*US WWII veteran Bill Wynne, in his book Yorkie Doodle Dandy, tells how Princess-Louise-shoes-photo-D-Stewarthe successfully smuggled Smoky, his Yorkshire Terrier, back. He laments, however, that others were not so lucky with their adopted dogs, monkeys and other pets. But he doesn’t mention any serviceman trying to sneak a horse on board!

Corrie Street Nov. 3/13

Houses of Cards

One house of cards balanced well; one collapsing.  If we extend the construction tarot-cardsmetaphor, Emily might say that’s because one was built on a foundation of rock and the other on sand (Matt. 7:24-27).  We saw them both on Wednesday in one of the best episodes ever in Coronation Street’s long history.  Different stories, evoking different emotions, but linked with an underpinning of principle.

the-cardsHayley checked off a big item on her bucket list, thanks to a turn of the cards.  The first cards the Blackpool fortuneteller turned up were the Hermit and the Empress.  The former signifies solitude, the latter female fertility. She next drew the Fool, for beginnings, then the Death card, meaning change.  But from her observations, she knew it best to turn that one down without showing it to them. Instead she drew the Star card, hope and inspiration, and told Hayley to follow her dream and not let, say, a “closed for maintenance” sign stand in her way.

dancing-at-Tower-BallroomSo Hayley and Roy went back to the closed Tower Ballroom – and it opened for them.  Fate or serendipity, helped by the practical action of the card reader in contacting her son, the ballroom manager.

Fortunes of the house of Platts

Meanwhile, in the house of Platts, Kylie finds out right before the baby’s christening that reject-evila) David knew she had slept with Nick, b) David was responsible for the prolonged vendetta against Nick, and c) David caused the accident that nearly killed Nick.  She is horrified.  Nick tells her to forget it and have the happy life that she, and David and Nick and everyone else want.  But she cannot.

you-had-to-have-it-confirmedAt the christening, she snatches Lily from David’s arms, tells him he is a dangerous freak, and to stay away from her.  Some of the story comes out in the church aisle, the rest in the vestry amongst only the family.  Leanne storms out, before the part about the van accident.  Gail turns on David, reminding him of Richard Hillman and the “love” he professed just before he tried to murder her and her children.

been-second-bestDavid had one chance to say he had not deliberately caused the van crash.  But instead he dug into his bag of standard excuses and accusations; you never loved me, I’ve always been second best, you tried to abort me, yada yada yada.  David needs the same advice as Nick:  use words wisely!

and-nothing-butIt is Kylie who will suffer the greatest loss, and it is she who will not practice the hypocrisy necessary to keep the life she has made for herself.  Nick and Gail have known enough of the facts to be aware of the slippery moral basis of their “happy families” charade.  But as long as everyone gets what he or she wants, just sweep the nasty part under the carpet, that’s their working philosophy.

Making Becky proud

I-know-what-you-didIt’s Kylie, the trailer trash part of their respectable lace-curtain home, who says what David did is not right. That it must be hauled out of the cesspool that is Platt morality and be examined.  She is willing to do that even if the cost is the happy ending that she had finally found.

ballroom-dancingAfter watching Kylie bring everyone’s lives down around their ears, including her own, I thought Becky would be proud of her.  Then I realized that, if they weren’t occupied with their own problems, so would Roy and Hayley.  The moral compass for Becky, perhaps indirectly they have also become that for Kylie.