International Women’s Day…a tribute..

March 8, 2011, International Women’s Day is also the birthday of  mentor and friend, Lynn Redgrave who, sadly, left this world last year. I would like to take this opportunity to look to the skies, and wish you, dear soul,  Happy Birthday, and thank you for being an outstanding female comet passing through my life.

I would also like to acknowledge some of the other women who have had an impact on my life.

Naturally, the first woman is my mother… she gave birth to me. I thank her for living healthily while pregnant with me, and saying no to Thalidomide, a drug that could have made my life quite different. Thank you for asking me, “what do you really want to do” that time in Quebec City. It was the first time I admitted out loud the desire to act. All that serendipitously occurred after was directly attributed to your encouragement. (I know it wasn’t exactly what you had hoped your daughter would do as a career… but… 🙂 ) Thank you for taking me to England to see GrandDad, and sharing a massive laugh on the Tube when we weren’t sure how the transit worked! And, thank you for all my sweaters you knitted me.

They say it takes a community to raise a child. Well… I think it takes a community to make a good human being. Some of the women who were part of my community are now gone, and, some are thankfully still here:

Gerda, our next door neighbour with the great garden, in Banff. So loving, so giving, and so sad when we moved. The joy and warmth I felt when I returned always remained. And, that silver ring you bought me in Calgary is still on my finger. I think of you often.

Ring from Gerda
Ring from Gerda

Jill, “Auntie Jill”, also a close family friend and neighbour in Banff. You are still in my life and my heart warms when I hear your British voice on the phone. Thank you for letting me stay with you when I returned and worked at the Banff Centre. I treasure all our hikes in the Rockies, and our many giggles over shared stories, especially the “naughty” ones!

Brenda, you have been my “best friend” since we were two years old. You are still in Banff, and we see each other infrequently, but our friendship is strong. Kindred spirits… I fondly remember our camping adventure in Cavendish, PEI when we were young and spry. Those boys were afraid of swimming in the big waves, but not us! (perhaps we should have been, but.. ;))

Good friends from wayyy back
Good friends from wayyy back

Tona, an old family friend who lived right up to end with her family of animals. She was a strong, spirited lady who nobody could stop. You let us stay in your home when we were first on PEI. Your story of being on the horse in the Yukon, and feeling free, stayed with me. Maybe one day I’ll do the same.

Jackie, another family friend who has passed. We called each other “Sis”. You were my first official sister, filling the void of no siblings (even though you were a bit older than me). When I was 14 my parents flew me out to Victoria to stay with you for a month. It was an adventure, and most likely wet my appetite to return to the West. I now have my Dad’s artwork that you willed me. I just picked it up, and had a nice visit with your niece. I’m glad she’s in my life, now.

Joanie, you are also in another world. I miss your sisterly love, and talk to you often. All the times we spent growing up together! Drawing, talking, baking, you doing my hair, laughing long into the night, and our favourite activity, going to concerts by the Stampeders! Remember that night when we both met our favourite bandmembers? Wow…

Miss you, Joanie
Miss you, Joanie

Joanie’s Mum, with a capital M, is still in my life. Thank you, Bea, for your “making lemonade out of lemons” advice, and for all those Boxing Day meals with our families intermingling. Glad you were here when I first moved back to Vancouver.

A life long friend..
A life long friend..

Aileen!! Remember that month where you stayed with me while my parents took a trip? Thank you for letting me drive your little red Volkswagen bug over & over, so I could take my driving exam in Charlottetown before they returned. I was so excited when I got my license, despite the driver’s door almost falling off!

Phyllis, my high school buddy. Our relationship has grown over the years, and I thank you for being a sister when that’s the last thing you need since you have 14 siblings. As an “only child” I’m grateful to be adopted by you. Our playful memories harken back to our high school dances, and the hallway laughs.

Joan B., you are another sister to me, especially after you losing your real sister. Now I’m a surrogate “Auntie” to your two wonderful little sisters you brought into the world. Thank you for sharing them. Thank goodness one of us was brave enough!

Denise G., je vous remercie infiniment. Sans vous, je n’aurais pas fini le Conservatoire. Votre affection et d’encouragement et de toutes les heures supplémentaires que vous m’avez donné pendant ma première année m’a sauvé la vie! Chapeau à vous.

Kelly, you were there for me when I had my back operation. Thanks for calming me, and making me soup. And that road trip down the coast, to LA, over to Vegas, and into Death Valley and back up has become a rich memory. What fun we had!

Happy in the country...
Happy in the country...

As I write about the women in my life, I realize how lucky I have been, and how fortunate I am. The names above are just a taste of my sisterhood.

The amazing list goes on:  Mel, Helena, Frederique, Silver, Margaret, Elizabeth D., Eun Joo, Sarah, Annie, Heather, Chara, Cheryl & Meg, Colleen, Elaine, Janet, Leah, Hannah, Allisa, Charlene, Jemma, Lita, Maureen, Shannon…

Today, my intention is to mark, acknowledge, remember, and contemplate the fortune I have had with each and every woman who has crossed my path for long or short periods. I have learned from all of you.

The fear of writing a post like this is that you might forget someone. If your name is not here, please know that the above is a sampling…otherwise, you are in my heart. Or call me and give me hell! (I am getting older!)

Happy International Women’s Day to all my Sisters!!

A Letter to Lynn Redgrave….

Dear Lynn,

Monday morning, May 3rd, I received a text message from a friend that said, “I thought of you this morning when I heard on the news about Lynn Redgrave.” News? What news? My heart instantly sank and I jumped on the Internet to confirm my worst fear. “Lynn Redgrave died peacefully in her home in Connecticut on Sunday night.”


All day I couldn’t do anything else but sit at my computer and read stories about you, and the many sad reactions, (I hope you realize what an impact you had on so many people) and gently start on my own journey of reminiscing.

When I first met you during a costume fitting for the Canadian feature film, “Touched“,  shot in the mysterious Similkameen Valley, I felt a bit intimidated, but you soon fixed that with your humour and openess!

I was working as the assistant costume designer to designer Crystine Booth, and once in production, the costume set supervisor. I was beyond thrilled to be working near you, a “Redgrave”, and the actor in me was ready to absorb and learn from a master.

I loved watching you work, before a scene, during a scene, and even afterward. I gradually learned to recognize when you needed your walkman and would sneak your headphones on your ears just before your request!

In between scenes on “Touched”

I was honoured when you quietly started sharing your thoughts about your work on the film, and in that process, I knew you were also acknowledging my acting experience.

We became friends.

Much later, after many personal trials and tribulations for both of us in our separate lives, you invited me to New York. You opened up your life to me, and I got to experience your generosity, and affection.

Spring in Connecticut…me & Lynn

You made a dream of mine come true. You offered to coach me. In exchange, I had to help you learn lines of your next play.

Later, I thought to myself, “What was I thinking? Now I have to perform in front of Lynn Redgrave! Am I nuts?” I didn’t tell you my fear :).

When I finally nailed my Shakespeare monologue in your living room, you leapt off the couch and into the air saying, “You were f—-g great!”… Wow… I was in heaven.

I still cannot believe you are gone. I knew cancer was a part of your life but you were so strong that I never imagined it taking you. I remember how we joked about you being an Amazonian Woman Warrior after your mastectomy, and how well you suited the title, especially when you told me to “clear off” in your strongest British accent, when I tried to stop you from carrying my luggage. You insisted because I was still walking with my cane as a result of my back operation.

Gassing up with class!!

Lynn, I wish I could have said goodbye, and I guess this is my way of doing it. I know you would understand as you liked the web, and you were a storyteller. And, you encouraged me to be one, too.

I will, Lynn – in your honour.

My condolences go to your family. Your presence will be hugely missed. If any of them read this blog post, I hope they will realize how touched I was by you, Lynn, and that I’m just one of many.

As a last gesture, in celebration of your life, and with a fond memory of all of us belting out this song with the band at an impromptu party in Keremeos, I leave you with “Mustang Sally”… What fun we had.

With lots of love,


(p.s. I hope you don’t mind if I still talk to you now and then about my work?)