Monday, November 15, 2010

Surviving the Circus

"I guess l'll never get to do that." This is a relatively new thought that's popped into my mind in the last few years. It doesn't come to me when I'm thinking about travelling, or studying art history or perhaps even writing a novel one day. It comes to mind when I think of things like, I guess I'll never be able to join the circus, or I guess I'll never be a tap dancer in a Broadway show. It kind of makes me sad, because it speaks of getting older, and time passing. We really can't go back, we can only move forward. Ever since I can remember I wanted to join the circus or be a hoofer.  I'll save my tap dancing escapades for another time.

 My mom isn't here any longer to ask, and dad wouldn't remember, but I'd love to ask what possessed them to take these two pictures. Did they plan some day to remind me of my circus performer days? Maybe...

My wanting to join the circus was connected to my ability to fly, something I was absolutely sure I could do when I was a kid. In my childhood dreams I could effortlessly 'lift off' from wherever I was standing. These dreams were so real and vivid, a feeling of lightness and warmth stayed with me long afterwards. Once in awhile, even now, I still dream of flying.

Circus High Wire Aerialist-  Nice teeth...
As a kid I remember jumping off roofs or whizzing down the clothesline in a cape and flying off before hitting the pole. The only place I could think of that needed people who possessed such a talent was the circus. I could join as one of the 'flying trapeze' artists. I can only remember going to the circus a couple times. The trapeze performers were the highlight, closely followed by the high wire act.  

My circus career aspirations came to an abrupt end one day while performing my own version of a high wire act. In front of a small audience of friends, I demonstrated my ability to hang from a wire clothesline in the basement, by my teeth. I'm not going to wrack my brain trying to figure out what possessed me to think I could actually do this.  Suffice to say it didn't turn out as planned. I still had my baby teeth in front, at least until the wire broke through and got stuck between what remained of my two front teeth. I was extricated by my dad with a pair of wire cutters. The dentist had a field day, and my circus career was at a standstill.  

Circus Cyclist 

I took my act underground for about two years, then for whatever reason I resurfaced with another life defying act. This one included my bike. I only ever had one two-wheeler bike. We couldn't afford to buy progressively larger bikes as we grew older. This was a ladies adult blue bike I got for my eighth birthday. When I first learned to ride it, I remember the seat hitting me in the back of the head when I was on the down pedal. The pedals had wooden blocks on them at first. We'd attach pieces of cardboard to our bike spokes with wooden clothespins so the bike made a great whirring noise. This act was an imitation of those wonderful cyclists in the circus who can ride their bikes while standing on their bike seat. I think the picture tells the story. I think a doctor was involved this time as well as a dentist...and just when I was getting my adult teeth.   

Friday, November 5, 2010

The Hairdresser

The 'scowl' or
maybe I just want to strangle Carol

I don’t know where my mother ever got the idea she was a professional hairdresser, but for the first ten years of our lives she practised on us as if we were her personal lab rats. Actually, looking at my sister Carol’s pictures it’s obvious I probably got off lightly. Mom’s bag of torture implements included scissors (the same ones used to cut material), boxes of Toni permanent solution, bobby pins, scotch tape, rat tail combs, enough hairspray to turn your hair into a nylon wig, and my favourite... curlers with porcupine like nylon needles that were attached to the head with plastic picks.

Carol's Toni
I remember having to sleep sitting up in bed like some Stephen King clown ragdoll, bangs and kiss curls taped to my forehead and the sides of my face with scotch tape. When I slowly ripped the tape off in the morning, I was left with red marks that took a couple days to disappear. I suppose I could look at the experience as my first face waxing. As if the sleepless night wasn’t bad enough, I’d have to tolerate the brush-out and having my neck snapped back a few times too many.
Toni-back of head only
Mom was intolerant of ‘bangs’ hanging in your eyes, or even touching your eyebrows. This grievous error was generally spotted from across the dinner table. She’s glare at us then say it was time to ‘cut your bangs’. I’d start the whining and snivelling immediately. Once the dishes were cleared it was time to sit in a chair near the kitchen sink with a towel draped around the neck. She’d start with ensuring the bangs were wet, then proceed to try and cut them straight across. Inevitably they’d be crooked so she’s take another run at it. Then another...and another. Soon my face was a mess of tears intermingled with snot and hair. My bangs would be maybe 1 inch long and still crooked, but I’d be released to find the scotch tape which I’d use to try and tape them down.
Nice Bangs!
The Toni was a real favourite of hers. This treatment always took place in the basement using a cement laundry sink. I can still smell it; there must have been some sort of chemical reaction between the cement and whatever the hell was in that box. She never followed the timing instructions (KD could cook for 20 minutes, no problem). The results were to be expected. Our hair was fried, crispy in fact. I remember times when I could actually snap the ends off. The smell followed us around for days. I’d douse myself with some of her Evening in Paris cologne, which she hid in her dresser drawer.
For whatever reason, sometimes it wasn’t enough to have just a Toni. To calm the frizz, we needed pincurls. This act included winding a piece of hair around her finger then using two bobby pins which she crossed in an x pattern to hold the curl down. Most of the bobby pins had had their plastic ends bit off because she held them her mouth, so when she shoved them across your head they made mini ski trails across your skull. I’m sure this is where I developed my permanent scowl.
I did get her back eventually. After our parents moved into the retirement home, I somehow became her unofficial hairdresser, usually on a Sunday after church. I have even less talent than she did. Mom would get out her plastic box of hairy rollers and picks. I wash her hair in the kitchen sink, with her whining it was too hot or cold, then afterwards I’d attempt to curl her hair. As careful as I was, I sometimes scraped the pick along her skull which resulted in a yelp and a scowl. My silent words to her were always “How do you like it..huh?” 

Friday, October 29, 2010

Cults of the 60s...

Nice job on the Tie! - 1962  
 When I was a kid we really couldn’t afford any extracurricular activities outside school. In fact I’m not sure if they even existed then. If it was free though, and ‘good’ for me, my mother was all over it. So I ended up having to go to Brownies and then subsequently to Girl Guides. Both of these I detested. When I think of Brownies now, I consider it some sort of a cult experience. Dancing in circles around giant mushrooms with owls perched on them. It was considered an honour to be ‘chosen’; the one who got to come a little early to the next week’s meeting in order to set up the ‘grotto’. First, the large square green piece of felt, then in the centre of the square the large mushroom (or was that a toadstool), then the assortment of small mushrooms and the owls, brown owl, tawny owl, whoever else. Once everyone arrived we danced around the damn thing pretending we were in the woods I guess. At the end of the song we used our secret brownie salute .. it went something like ‘T-wit t-wit t-woo’. Twit is right! We then recited the Brownie promise ...”I promise to do my best. To do my duty to God and the Queen. To help other people everyday, especially those at home.” Translation...a guilt trip geared towards me helping my mother and being a ‘nice’ girl.
The meeting then progressed with an inspection performed by our cult leader, Brown Owl. My tie was always my fall down; I practised tying a proper brownie tie so many times that I still catch myself making Brownie ties out of restaurant napkins 50 years later. Then we paid our 10 cent dues,our dimes secured in small brown leather pouches attached to our belts.

The major activity for brownies was collecting merit badges which were then sown on our sleeves. If I were a Brownie now I could use that great line out of Treasure of the Sierra Madre. 
Most of the badges had to do ‘girl’ type activities of the early 60s, sewing something, cooking something, darning socks, making tea for someone, shining shoes for God’s sake, learning different knots and then ...the dreaded semaphore. This particular badge was a mandatory one and required to be able to ‘fly-up’ to Guides. For those of you who aren’t familiar with semaphore, it’s an alphabet signalling system based on the waving of a pair of hand-held flags in a particular pattern. The flags are usually square, red and yellow, divided diagonally with the red portion in the upper hoist. The flags are held, arms extended, in various positions representing each of the letters of the alphabet. In old movies you’d sometimes see navy men standing on board ship signalling to another ship. Now where and when the hell was I going to use semaphore?? In any case, I just couldn’t get it right when it came to test time. I flunked...big time. I can’t remember crying about it but I’m sure I did, as I cried about almost anything. 

The following Spring we gathered for the yearly ceremony for Brownies who were ‘flying up’ to Girl Guides. The ceremony included attaching a pair of wire wings covered in gold foil wrap to the girl who was ‘flying up’. She would then walk through a tunnel created by Girl Guides with their arms raised and hands touching. When she got to the end, the new Guide was presented with their Girl Guide pin and congratulated by their new leader. When my turn came, I was not allowed to don the wings of gold because I was an abject failure at Semaphore. Instead, I had gold foil wrapped around my shoes and had to ‘walk up’ to guides. Now how embarrassing is that? Obviously it bugged me because I’m still talking about it. I am sure they don't do this least I hope not!         

 For Linda...

Thursday, October 28, 2010

We're losing him ....

 We’re losing him now... piece by piece, ounce by ounce, inch by inch. Every time we visit he seems a little older, a little smaller, a little more lost. His 80 years worth of life experience and his memories have slipped away, decade by decade it seems. Up until a few months ago he could still remember short vignettes from his first 10 years, but now those too are clouded in time. What does he think about now that he can’t remember? How can he can sit for hours and hours staring at that television. Sometimes we get there and the TV is broadcasting in Croatian or Mandarin because somehow he’s managed to switch channels on a satellite remote that has all the buttons shaved off except for a couple. He only ever knew English and a few words of Norwegian maybe, yet there he sits quite content. He refers to the TV as 'good company'. So is Sheba, his cat, who is now hugely overweight from spending 2 years living in a 14x12 ft space and eating constantly. Sheba watches too much TV as well, the rest of the time she has her face scrunched against a bit of window screen pleading for her freedom.

He’s losing his ability to communicate with words; sometimes the conversation is just a few words about the clouds, the trees or maybe the road conditions. For the most part we ride around in silence listening to music. I try to initiate small talk but it feels like I’m talking to myself, something I’m not very good at.  It's funny though, on the odd occasion we get a glimpse of ‘dad’ shining through. For a few minutes, an hour perhaps, he’s back, his humour in its rightful place. Suddenly he remembers someone’s name, the words to an old song, or the name of an airplane he worked on in 1948, and then he’s gone again.

He was always an avid reader; always had several dog leafed books lying open on his bedside table along with his police scanner radio and a large brown glass ashtray. Now he can’t read, yet his room is jammed with books and magazines from home, and others he keeps picking off the shelves he passes by in the nursing home. Most of these are written in French or Spanish. I know he can’t read anymore because he needs glasses, and they disappeared along with other things that were in his room. Often we find underwear or socks in his little fridge, peanuts or cashews in Sheba’s food dish, maybe half a sandwich in a drawer. Recently I found Iams cat food on his bedside table...I don’t want to even think about that.  He likes to move stuff around in the room. He used to like to move furniture around when we were growing up. We couldn’t afford new furniture, but if he moved the existing stuff around, it brought a feeling of newness to the room.
Dad in his early years

He’s starting to give the staff trouble lately, being ornery (his word) or downright mean sometimes. He doesn’t want to eat, doesn’t want to take his meds, doesn’t want to come out of his room or be social. We call that person ‘stubborn Kenny’. We saw that personality when we were growing up, but not very often. He was always a soft spoken, shy man, except when he had a quantity of beers in him. Then he would become jovial and talkative; tell bawdy jokes, dance, and play marching music, old WWII war songs, or Al Hirt jazz on the stereo. Sometimes the evening would end with him locking himself in the bathroom and falling asleep sitting on the toilet, which we thought was hilarious, but also tough because we always only had one bathroom. Mom would beat on the door threatening him loudly in French. 

 One of the things we find most interesting is that he’s forgotten so very much, yet his manners are intact. He takes his hat off if we are going into a restaurant, or even a store. He holds doors open, he always says hello when passing someone, and he still has good table manners although I’ll catch him staring at a fork or spoon briefly wondering what it’s for. He never spills anything on himself, even ice cream, unlike myself, who still can’t eat anything without wearing some of it. He tries to have conversations at family gatherings, which is heart wrenching to watch. He was always the one at the head of the table, the turkey carver, the wine dispenser, the conversationalist. He was always meticulous about his appearance, but that is fading away now. He forgets to shave and brush his teeth and comb his hair. He likes to dress in layers, which apparently is something Alzheimer’s patients have in common. Sometimes he’ll be wearing 3 layers of clothing.

With all this though, it’s still better than a few years ago before he was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. The early stages are all about denial and anger. He would often be angry, something he rarely was. It must have been very scary for him getting lost in a city he lived in for so long, forgetting what he had just done a couple hours before, forgetting how to do tasks or fix things. When we were moving our parents out of their home a few years ago I came across an old 3-ring binder in his office. In it were pages and pages of neatly typed diary entries he’d done on his computer. The file name on the top of each page was ‘Andrew tries to Remember’.  Each page listed dates and hours and entries or activities that had occurred. If he went to the bank, or the store, got gas, updated his financial files or drove mom to an appointment or bingo, he wrote it down. It starts in 1994 and ends in 2002.

He remembers only a few of us now, myself, my sister and our husbands. He doesn’t remember our brother but that’s because he doesn’t live nearby. Sometimes he recognises his grandchildren, but mostly he doesn’t. Most painful of all, he doesn’t remember our mother. They were together for 58 years when we lost her in 2008. It’s probably a good thing he doesn’t remember her because he’d be so broken hearted. He told a couple of the staff that he wants to die. He never says this to me. He’s probably in better health now than he was a few years ago, when his heart was always going into arrhythmia and we’d end up at the hospital several times a year where they’d administer a couple jewels with the paddles to get his heartbeat regulated. He’d have a smoke on the way home afterwards. He was always checking his own blood pressure with some cheap drug store monitor and sending himself into arrhythmia, checking his pulse, complaining about his eyes or his bad back spasms. Now he doesn’t remember any of his ailments. He does keep chipping his teeth though. Maybe it’s the Iams, but I’m hoping it’s the peppermints he’s addicted to.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Kenny the Communist

Kenny became a communist during the harsh winter of 1934. It was to be his secret for the next 60 years, and a decision based solely on the desire for hot cocoa and warm cookies.     

Oscar and Olga
In 1934, Kenny was a 7 year old growing up in the midst of the Great Depression. He lived in Prince George, a rough and tumble lumber town in northern British Columbia. Kenny was Oscar and Olga’s youngest child, 9 years younger than his closest sibling. His oldest sibling, Orville, was his hero. Kenny was known as ‘Whitey’ because of his platinum blond hair. He was a skinny freckled kid always ready for an adventure. Back then the summer seemed to last forever. Kenny and his friends would think nothing of jumping off the train trestle into the mighty Fraser River. They fished, swam, collected bottles and told stories.
“I boney-eyes the core”, they’d shout, the second someone dug out an apple to munch on. Whoever said those magic words first had the privilege of sucking on the apple core after the owner was done with it. They spent a lot of time watching trains leave the train yard. Once a train had cleared the yard, desperate men would often leap from the ditches carrying the remains of their lives tied in small bundles. They’d run along the track till they could get enough of a grip to attach themselves to the sides of the moving cars.  They were ‘riding the rods’, going from town to town looking for work.
Orville and Kenny

“Your father’s a scab!” they yelled at him in the schoolyard.
“Your fathers are all Bolsheviks!” he’d yell back, one toe dug into the dirt to give him better traction when he started running.

Oscar and Olga were Norwegian immigrants. Oscar had worked for the CN Railway before times got tough and he’d been laid off. He refused to live on food stamps and government relief though, and was lucky enough to get a job on a highway extension relief project begun in 1931. Work camps had been established along the route and Olga worked as a cook in one of the camps. Kenny was too young to stay home so she brought him along and he helped where he could. Oscar was away from home for weeks at a time. He brought home stories from the road crew, how grown men went mad in the spring after the mosquitoes and black flies had hatched in the bogs and swarmed them. Oscar didn’t mind the work; it was better than being called a communist like the men at home who collected assistance from the government of the day. Among the jobless, a social and political movement, led by communists, had been growing in Prince George. In the 1930s Canadian communists were very active on behalf of working-class people and had been co-ordinating agitation activities across the country.

The winter of 1934 had been particularly hard and there was no money for extras. In the town’s center, known as the ‘red light district’, lived a Russian woman, Mrs Korshanenko, a well known communist. Like his friends, Kenny had been warned to steer clear of that part of town. One winter day Kenny was told that Mrs Korshanenko was giving away free cookies and hot cocoa. A plan was hatched with a couple friends to find her house. The next evening they knocked tentatively at the door. It was answered by Mrs Korshanenko who warmly invited them in. She handed them pamphlets of information and spoke about the opportunities they could anticipate as members of the communist party youth wing. She offered them the cookies and cocoa, but only after they signed their names on the small cards she handed them. Kenny, his mouth watering just thinking about the cocoa and cookies, signed without another thought. They attended as many meetings as they could that winter. They weren’t interested in what was being said, they were only interested in their reward of cocoa and cookies.

When my father told me this story in the early 90s’ he had actually kept it a secret for some 60 years. Because he’d spent his entire adult life in the Canadian military, he had been hesitant to admit this ‘indiscretion’. He wondered what would have happened to him if his superiors had ever found out he’d been a communist.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Mom Memories - Thanksgiving Pie

Thanksgiving has always been a family time and was traditionally celebrated at my parents’ house for as long as I can remember. There would be anywhere from 14 and 28 people stuffed around two dining room tables, which had been pushed together. The entire living/dining room area had to be re-arranged; the coffee table and living room chairs moved to other locations. It was always hectic, with lots of laughs and plenty of noise. At some point mom would start digging through drawers and cupboards a contained state of panic, searching for the Thanksgiving napkins she’d bought on sale at Big Buds. She liked to hide things, but she could never find them when they were needed. So, at Thanksgiving we’d end up with St Patrick ’s Day napkins (there's not a drop of Irish blood in the family), at Christmas the table would be decorated with Easter paraphernalia, and Easter inevitably meant candles with Thanksgiving turkeys on them.  The amount of food was always outrageous and delicious. Once dinner was finished, dishes would be piled two feet high on the kitchen counter and the desserts would be brought out. Mom would have baked 3 or 4 pies, all with crusts edible only to a certain point, then impossible for me to eat. She worked for years in food services in the mess halls at Uplands so all veggie trays came decorated with radishes that looked like small mice, and carrots in the shape of party favors. Dessert squares were always presented on small red or green dollies, which we ate along with the dessert squares because they were impossible to remove.  Mom was in her glory at this point in the meal, and her stories and reminisces would begin. We’d heard them a thousand times, but it didn’t matter. She had a stage, and we were her audience.

In 2006, we made the tough decision to move our parents out of their home and into a retirement facility. Dad had been diagnosed a few years before with Alzheimer’s disease. Mom had suffered a couple strokes which took their toll on her vision and comprehension, fallen down the stairs and fractured her spine and hip, and had been battling colon cancer.  We had delayed the move as long as possible, even going so far as to install automatic stair climbers on both stairways so she could ride up the stairs instead of walk. She used them to transport laundry and out of date celebrity magazines, not herself.  Dad was becoming more and more confused and thin.

Being at the retirement home obviously changed the dynamics for holiday family dinners. Instead we gathered at my home. Their small unit did not have an oven for safety reasons. It probably shouldn’t have had a stove top either. Lots of charred pots, but nothing Old Dutch or Javex, her two favourite products (unfortunately), couldn’t handle.  Holiday dinners were especially tough on her.

Mom’s last Thanksgiving with us was one for the books. She wanted to participate so was assigned two activities, rice krispie squares and pie crust. The rice krispie squares she prepared at the retirement unit.  She was an insanely messy cook, so I figured the best plan was to pick her up the night before Thanksgiving and bring her to my house where she had a lot more room to prepare the pie crust dough.I had all ingredients on hand as instructed. She washed her hands and got right to it. I stood by waiting to assist. I can cook, but I am no baker. She started adding flour, shortening etc. to a large bowl, then an egg and some water and started mixing it, then kneading it, and kneading it some more. I do not make pie crust, but I know kneading is not a good thing for pie crust. She stood covered in flour. My counters were a mess. She had a look of determination on her face, her eyebrows vexed, lips tight together. Finally, she laid the huge ball on the floured counter and started to roll it out with a rolling pin. It was impossible.  Not only wouldn’t it roll, it wouldn’t extricate itself from the rolling pin. She persisted and it ended up as a ball in her hands again. Now she turned on the cold water and ran the dough under it. Then she tried the rolling pin again. My counters were covered in small cement like pieces of dough. She looked at me almost defeated. She still had it between her hands and was beating on it. She looked at me with an ‘ah-ha’ moment, smiled and told me she had forgotten to add the vinegar. Vinegar was poured over the dough, and the rolling pin came out for Round 3. Finally she admitted defeat, gave up and admitted to me that she couldn’t quite remember. I felt bad for her. It was after 10pm when I took her home.  Once back at the house I frantically searched for a pie crust recipe that didn’t call for shortening or lard. I found one that used butter. So this time I made the pie crusts using two knives to combine the ingredients. I was thrilled when they actually turned out. Finally, I had made what looked to be perfect pie crusts.

Thanksgiving Day after the meal, the desserts were rolled out. Mom uncovered her pan of Rice Krispie squares. The top was sprinkled with ...parsley. It was for decoration, she said.  When the family dug into the pies, the accolades began. What wonderful pie crust! Mom just nodded, smiled and thanked everyone.   

Happy Thanksgiving ! 

Monday, September 27, 2010

Tart Talk - My Friend 'Evil Marie'

I thought it might be fun to 'honor' some of my friends by sharing some favorite stories. I wrote this a few years ago when a good friend was turning 50.  She had (has) an alter ego named ‘Marie’ who is her direct opposite in personality. Marie loves Richard Nixon, pearls and black dresses, has a peculiar 'queen like' wave, can do a perfect imitation of Elmer Fudd's 'Fire' and dislikes rude furry felines. The best one word description for Marie ...evil. 

Excerpts from the TART** interviews…  In September we’ll be witness to a monumental event, the 50th birthday of the world renowned, much loved, often feared Marie . IIn anticipation of that grand event the TART took to the road earlier this year to interview a number of individuals who have crossed paths with Marie over the last number of years…

From an Interview with Richard M. Nixon…

Tart: Mr. Nixon, few of us knew Marie in the early 70’s during your disastrous fall from grace but in later years she always maintained you were set-up as the fall-guy. Can you comment sir?
Richard M. Nixon: Certainly. I’m afraid my memory is even worse that it was then, but I do remember Marie. She was a bright beacon in the night. That girl actually believed in me. Perhaps it was only pity…but what the hell. She warned me even before that Watergate fiasco…STAND UP YOU LOSER. BE A MAN.. NOT A SCHUMK. STOP YOUR GODDAMN LYING and CRYIN’. I wish I had listened.
Tart: What is the last memory you have of Marie?
Richard M. Nixon: I guess it was that last walk across the east lawn and up into the Air Force II helicopter. I turned to wave and there she stood…like a sentinel in the crowd. I waved once….she did  that little fluttery wave like thing she does so well, and that was it…it was over!

From an Interview with Margaret Thatcher…

Tart: Lady Margret, I recall in the early 80’s that the British press were absolutely frantic after someone broke into No. 1 Downing and absconded  a glorious set of pearls, a family heirloom I’m told, never recovered. Can you comment?
Margaret Thatcher: Yes, yes, they were lovely indeed. Kept the beauties in my girdle and thong drawer. Such a shame.
Tart: Is  it true,  years later when visiting Canada you believe you actually spotted the thief at a dinner reception in Ottawa.
Margaret Thatcher:  Yes there sat the thieving  bitch dressed in a black suit with my dead grandmothers pearls wrapped around her neck looking eerily like a Margret Thatcher imposter!   In fact at a later reception we actually had a picture taken together. This Marie woman was cagey enough to have removed the pearls for the portrait. Her companion was a swarthy looking Mexican fella.
Tart: Do you regret not wrestling her to the ground?
Margaret Thatcher:  Absolutely and if I ever happen to see her again she won’t be so lucky…

In conversation with SPAWN (ex-feline of Marie)

Tart: nice to see you again after all these years .the Plastic surgery has certainly helped keep the authorities at bay.
Spawn: Yeah and helped keep that bitch marie from a search and destroy mission.
Tart: Recall for us, if you will, Spawn from Hell, that sad day in the spring of 94 when you knew it was time to move on..
Spawn: yea sure. Well me and my two fat buddy cats had heard the whispering between Marie and the Mexican for days but couldn’t quite make out the words. The Mexican was trying to appease Marie ...but you knew where that was leading. Cripes, when Marie got her small twisted mind around something..that was it. We started noticing some other clues as well.  The Mexican who was as  retentive as hell when stacking our vittles, ya know, by color, by date, by flavor stopped doing so. The fat cats thought he was nuts, but I kinda’ liked the variety. The Mexican liked to match underwear and socks. Us three cats would laugh until we started choking up hairballs and end up peeing on the floors. And that’s where the trouble started. 
First the floor...then the leather couch! BIG DEAL! But that evil Marie..she didn’t see the humour. The whispering meant only one thing…out! The Mexican dragged us down to the Humane society (nice name huh?) Marie tried to look sad. Someone will take us she said..yea sure..a couple of 15 year old matted queens. Two days later I blew that joint. I’ve been in the witness protection program ever since, hence the disguise. Someday though...I’ll be back..they don’t call me Spawn from Hell for nothing. Got that Marie’s new address?
Tart: No comment. Thanks for telling your story Spawn.

The Tart caught up with Mr. Elmer Fudd at his Hollywood Hills home…

“I’m switting in my cwar..I turn on da’re wolding me quose..I jus’ say whoo..”

Tart: Excuse me, Mr Fudd can I have a few moments of your time?
Mr Fudd: Well..certainwy
Tart: Mr Fudd I want to take you back if I can to Ottawa Canada in the summer of 1989 when it came to your attention that a local woman had been impersonating you singing your hit song “ Fire” at  impromptu performances for her silly friends.
Mr Fudd: Wes..dat’s twue Ms Twart. I was on twour in Canada hunting dat wasscally wabbit  when it came to mwy attwention that this Pwincess chick was entwertaining her fwends by imperswonating me. The ferver has cooled down ower time but I know dat witch is swtill out dere singing my goddwam song! I ewen hear she twinks she’s dwat ratfink chipmuck Chip! Can  ya believe it..her and some DALE lookalike traveling around pwetending  to be dose two chipmucks ! Wat daya  twink of dwat?
Tart: Weird isn’t it ? Thank you Elmer Fudd. .

Other Marie episodes from 'Tales from the Tart' vault…

The Picnic Bitch Chronicles: These episodes took place over several seasons until the Picnic Bitch Tiara mysteriously disappeared.

Sunday Morning Coming Down : Sunday morning in Borehaven…  
 Marie rides her bike over to visit the Tart for a Sunday morning coffee. It’s 10:30 am. The Tart, who has no conception of how to survive in surburbia and has not made contact with the neighbors in 6 years except to harass their animals, decides the coffee is in need of some Baileys....

The Night Stalker: How Marie tried to run down the Tart one dark night..

Caught in the Act: How Marie was finally caught sitting parked in a Mini-van..something she swore she would never do. The Tart has the photo.

Valentine’s Day Massacre: How the Tart survived an overnight adventure in the BVI's with Marie and The Munk, by attempting  to fly her underwear from a hotel fan in a vain attempt to seek help from passersby.
A Toad’s Tale: How a lovely summer brunch outdoors at the Munk's turned into a 'pee your pants' event when Marie was bombarded by toads dropping from heaven. 

** Tart is one of my nicknames.