Snapshots and Images, Part 2

Curious what this is about? Read part one of Snapshots and Images here.

34. What is a visual of something you had heard about all your life and finally saw for the first time? 

Laurel: I remember seeing the Statue of Liberty and the Grand Canyon and the Rocky Mountains and the prairies in Canada.

Lynn: Seeing Niagara Falls for the first time was breathtaking. I had only seen it in photos and in the Marilyn Monroe movie.    

35. What do you remember about a piece of clothing you have loved?

Laurel: I remember my blue velvet dress from university and my first Danier black leather jacket. I remember my first mini-skirt and my elephant pants in the 70s at university. Cashmere sweaters.

Lynn: My favourite dress was hand crocheted, white and had a purple ribbon running around the bodice. I cried when I grew out of it. I think I was three. In my teens, I purchased a dark orange leather mini skirt and matching jacket. I thought I was ready for “Vogue.”    

36. Have you ever met someone you admired or someone famous?

Laurel: I took my class to watch Princess Diana drive by during Expo 86 and she waved right at us.

Lynn: I met and got to know Phyllis Diller. What a lovely lady—funny, kind and very, very smart!    

37. What is a piece of art you really love? Where was it?

Laurel: I remember the paintings at the Louvre and the Gainsboroughs at the Frick     Gallery in New York.

Lynn: As a young artist, I loved the backgrounds in the animated Disney movies. My Aunt Unity was a well known Canadian portrait artist. Her portraits of First Nations people are remarkable. Just before she died, there was a gallery showing of her work. Some of the people she had painted came to the show. They were all grown up and happy to see the original works of art. It was a wonderful experience.    

38. Have you ever been in a palace or a castle? Talk about all the senses.

Laurel: I remember the texture of the stone walls. Watching the flag fly from the turrets. The sun shining through a stained glass window. The richness of velvet chairs.

Lynn: Wandering about the ancient stone ruins of Honduras, Mexico, and Peru leaves me in absolute awe.  

39. Have you ever seen a volcano? Where was it?

Laurel: We can see Mount Baker from Vancouver. And we saw Vesuvius from Pompeii. What  is it about a volcano that stays in our memories? I remember that our house in Vancouver shook when Mt. St. Helen’s in Oregon erupted. Hundreds of miles away but it shook us.

Lynn: I saw the volcano erupting in Iceland from a plane as I was flying to Holland. Ours was the last plane to arrive, as they soon closed all the airports due to the ash in the air.

40. What are your memories of summer foods? 

Laurel: I remember the French fries at Ambleside…with vinegar and salt and the occasional bit of beach sand as an extra. Slushies in the summer. Those wax straws filled with juice. Drank the juice, chewed the wax all day.

Lynn: Yes!! English Bay beach chips—full of salt, vinegar and sand…I can still taste them! 

41. Did you ever see a firefly? Where was it? What did it feel like to see them? 

Laurel: I’ve only seen them once, in the dark while we were walking along the Mall in Washington, D.C. It felt magical…like fairies were waving their wands.   

Lynn: The first time I saw a firefly was in a meadow in North Bay Ontario. There were thousands of them, hovering over the mist on a summer evening. It was one of those scenes you can only capture in a memory. No photograph would have been adequate.   

42. What is the hottest you’ve ever been? Where were you? How did you stay cool? 

Laurel: So hot here in Vancouver…fans everywhere!

Lynn: The hottest I have ever been is in Thailand. Local people who worked in hotels and tourist shops were wearing suits and ties. This was amazing as I was drooping from exhaustion!    

43. What is an experience have you had with birds? 

Laurel: I watch choirs of them singing every morning.

Lynn: We had budgie birds when I was a kid. I adored them and couldn’t believe how tame they became. Many years later, a grey owl came and sat on a bird feeder just outside our window. It stayed for almost a day – just watching us. My father in law had just passed away and he had told us that if he could he would come back, somehow and let us know he was OK. We were sure that owl was Tom!  

44. Do you have special memories of an older person in your life? Maybe a grandparent or older family friend or mentor? 

Laurel: I remember sitting at my grandmother’s feet while she was in her rocking chair, reading ‘Anne of Green Gables’ to me.

Lynn: My grandmother was my hero. My British grandfather preferred boys, so when he showered all kinds of attention on my brother, my gram paid the same attention to me. I “saw her” in a dream the night she died. She was telling me that everything was going to be alright. And it was. 

45. Has a child ever brought something to you to share that they were excited about? What was it? 

Laurel: I took my class to Outdoor School and a little girl brought me a newt. It climbed from her hand to mine and hung on to my finger.

Lynn: My grandson had a geode. When he cracked it open, he couldn’t believe how beautiful it was inside. He was so excited to show it to me! As soon as I can find a rock and gem show, I’m going to take him. 

46. Have you ever been in a helicopter? What did it feel like? What other transportation have you had that you remember as being unusual or exciting? 

Laurel: I was in a helicopter going to Victoria…the thumping of the rotors, the feeling of being so fragile.

Lynn: I have been in a helicopter many times. The most recent trip was down Atlin Lake in Northern BC to see the glaciers and the Cathedral mountains. It was spectacular!

An aerial view of the glacial flow in Atlin.

47. Do you go out for coffee with friends? Where do you go? What is your favourite coffee/tea/other drink? 

Laurel: Every Saturday with Kitty we go for Starbucks. Café Americano.

Lynn: I do enjoy going for coffee with friends. Our favourite spot is an outdoor café, on the corner of 8th and St. Andrew’s Street.

48. Do you remember a childhood babysitter?

Laurel: This was an interesting one because I don’t remember a babysitter. I emailed my brother and he said we used to go to the next-door neighbour, Mrs. Winding, who became almost like a treasured grandmother type for us.

Lynn: My childhood babysitter was our neighbour, “Tootie.” She was a strong-willed teenager who knew how to handle my brother and me. We challenged everyone!

49. Who was your first friend? What did you do together?

Laurel: Linda was my first friend and is still in my life. Lonnie I wrote stories together and loved Clint Eastwood. Judy and I carpooled to university and were friends until her death. Lynn and I still get together and are good friends. Tom is my Watson and I am his Sherlock planning high school reunions.

Lynn: My first friend was a neighbour. Annie and I were two years old. I remember us digging in the dirt in our front yard. I wanted her spoon because it was bigger!

50. What historical place has made you emotional? 

Laurel: We went to the D-Day beaches in Normandy and laid bright, red poppies on     Canadian graves. There was a ray of sunlight shining on the marble monument at Vimy Ridge.

Lynn: Stonehenge was an emotional visit for me. My dad’s ancestral family was from the area— the “Ridge Way”—and seeing the monument made me feel strangely connected.

51. Have you ever heard music that reminded you of your past? 

Laurel: Our first bluegrass in Alaska and then Cajun music and more in New Orleans.

Lynn: Whenever I hear music from the 60s, I am transported back to my teenage years—waiting with my girlfriends at the A&W for the boys to stop looking under the hoods of their cars and pay some attention to us!

52. Have you ever handled an unusual animal? What did it feel like? 

Laurel: A boa constrictor. I was amazed that its skin was warm, leathery and beautiful. I could feel the muscles moving under it.

Lynn: I had ridden my bike to the Stanley Park Zoo early one morning with my friend, Marian. The keeper was feeding the animals and was trying to get a python out of its cage so it could be fed indoors. As a cocky teenager, I asked if I could help! He asked me to put out my hand. I did. He placed the head of the python on my hand. It slid up and around my neck and rested in place. It felt cool and muscular. He then put out his own hand and the python, trained to follow a routine, transferred its huge body to the keeper, coiling around his head and resting on his shoulders. This was an exhilarating experience I will never forget.

53. What is your favourite colour? Does it spark a memory? 

Laurel: I love blue…neon blue. It reminds me of blue summer skies

Lynn: Blue is my favourite colour. Blue, leaning towards purple. I find this “periwinkle” colour relaxing and calming.

54. Is there an animal that makes you laugh? 

Laurel: I brake for squirrels and love watching them run, twitching their tails.    .

Lynn: Ostriches make me laugh. Whoever designed them had a great sense of humour.

55. What are your memories of hugs? Have you ever been hugged by a child? Are hugs from different people different?

Laurel: I have always been a hugger. Girlfriend hugs, now the Bonnie Henry approved ‘Covid hugs’, missing hugs SO much and so glad it’s safer now to do this again…the kind of hug where you close your eyes and just soak it all in.

Lynn: I have had some wonderful hugs. My favourites are from dear friends that I haven’t seen in a long time.

56. What season do you like the most? What are some favourite memories? 

Laurel: Warm coats in winter…bathing suits in summer, etc. The first explosion of green in the Spring. Letting out the breath tensed all winter by the cold and the gloom.

Lynn: I like the fall. When we lived in Ontario, September was my favourite month. The kids went back to school and the trees as they changed colour became the most spectacular thing on earth!

57. What is a perfume or scent you associate with a memory?

Laurel: For me it’s the smell of ‘Tresor’ perfume now and ‘White Shoulders’ from my teenage and 20s. And Softique Bath Oil Beads from the 60s and 70s.

Lynn: The smell of bubble gum sends me back in time to elementary school and the corner store where we bought our penny candy. Do they still make “Fleer Fortune” gum with the cartoons inside? 

58. What were your favourite t.v. shows growing up? 

Laurel: Mine was of course, ‘Rawhide’.

Lynn: My favourite TV shows were: I love Lucy, Walt Disney Hour, Leave it to Beaver, and Fun-O-Rama. We only had 3 channels.

59. Describe an animal in motion.

Laurel: I love horses running, especially horses with long manes and tails…Arabians, Friesians.    

Lynn: I love to see wild cats run. The strength and the rhythm in their stride is magnificent to see.

60. What did it feel like to accomplish something you always set as a goal?

Laurel: I remember learning how to ride a horse and paddle a canoe and drive a car.   

Lynn: I wanted to learn how to be a public speaker. It was a terrifying experience at first and there were many times I went home and cried. Eventually, I learned how to work with an audience, to keep it short and to add some comedy. I believe that stand-up is the hardest job on earth…next to search and rescue, perhaps! I got pretty good at it but after many appearances, I no longer accept speaking engagements. Some things need to end! 

61. Did you ever spend Christmas or another cultural holiday away from home? 

Laurel: I remember Christmas Day mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in NYC…Irish tenors and red poinsettias. Store windows all decorated.

Lynn: Our family once spent Christmas on a cruise ship. It was fun, but there’s no place like home!

62. What are your memories of special holidays at home? 

Laurel: I remember Christmas tree lights that were glass tubes with bubbling colours that lit up when the lights were plugged in. One year we couldn’t find a pine tree and got a hemlock instead. The next morning all the needles had fallen off. My other grandmother sending me a book for Christmas and me curling up to read it on Boxing Day.   

Lynn: We were living in Lynn Lake Manitoba. An Inuit friend who lived nearby told me that her parents were in town because her dad had to go to the hospital. Her folks were from Baker Lake and since it was Christmas, I invited Emma and her family to our house for dinner. Neither of her parents spoke English, so the evening was a little awkward—until her dad saw my button accordion and asked if he could play it. Well, folks—could he ever play that thing! The funny thing was, I had just bought a second accordion at a yard sale. A button accordion is an odd beast—most people are familiar with a piano accordion which is very different. A button accordion plays like a harmonica; two notes, one in and one out for each button. The yard sale accordion was in great shape so I gave it to Emma’s dad. He was overwhelmed—and overjoyed. For the rest of the evening, he and I played tunes in the living room and showed each other our “tricks of the trade.” That was a night to remember. Music really is an international language.  

63. Do you like gardening? What is a gardening memory or a memory of just being in a beautiful garden?

Laurel: A friend talked me into taking the Van Dusen Gardens Master Gardening Course. I didn’t know it would be botany, biology, entomology and Latin. But I learned a lot. I remember the majestic gardens of Versailles and the Loire. I ran the Garden Club for years at my school and remember the little kids loving getting their hands in the dirt.

Lynn: I do like gardening. The best garden memories are of my mother’s wonderful garden in North Vancouver. We had fresh produce all summer and canned fruit and veg in the winter. She was an amazing provider.

64. Where is or has been your ultimate place to shop?

Laurel: I love ‘Macy’s’ in Bellingham. Hudson’s Bay in West Vancouver.

Lynn: My favourite place to shop is Armand’s Circle in Sarasota Florida.

65. The coolest car you’ve ever owned or seen and a memory attached to it. 

Laurel: I had a little aqua M.G. Midget that I loved. Love my Mazda Miata and loved my Honda Prelude with the headlights that lifted up and down like eyes blinking. Our 1936 Lagonda.

Lynn: In the early 2000s, I bought myself a Blue Subaru WRX Rally car, which was a gem. I had to trade it in due to the number of speeding tickets I got. Not my fault. The car just went fast! The car that was the most fun though, was a Citroen 2CV—a French classic, much like a tin-can Volkswagen. To cover all the goofy features on a 2CV, you’d  need a beer and a long conversation. We had that car for many years—until getting the parts to fix it became too frustrating.  

66. A sound associated with cars. 

Laurel: We went to Le Mans and saw a 24 hour race there. Hearing the sound of many engines roaring to a start.

Lynn: The sound I associate with cars is the crazy, “musical” horns the guys in the 60s put into them. There were all kinds of sounds…but nothing that begged me to get in!