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development and peace

Here’s a bit of advice that perhaps you didn’t know – if you spray juice on your laptop, turn it upside down immediately so the liquid doesn’t get to the motherboard. How I love that word, motherboard, the mother of all boards. The central control panel, as we mothers fondly imagine we are for our offspring.

MacZine is back and none the worse for wear, I hope. I didn’t suffer too much in her absence; I wrote with paper and pen – what simple yet effective technology, it has a real future – and went out last night to the El Mocambo, or the Elmo, as we aficionados have always called it. The Elmo was my hangout in 1972 and 73, when I lived in a communal house on Markham Street. Often, I went to dance and sing there with my friend Nancy White the musician; she and I had done a school tour together in 1971, when I was twenty. Nancy, a few years older, wrote and played all the music.
Last night, I went to hear Nancy’s two daughters, Suzy and Maddy, in Suzy’s band Flashlight Radio. Suzy writes the music with her bandmate Ben Whiteley, whose father Ken and uncle Chris are also well-known, superb Canadian musicians (whose childrens’ records were the favourites in this household, when my two were small.) Suzy and Ben grew up immersed in music, and there they were, both in their early twenties yet playing and singing with immense professionalism and ease, along with other bandmates including Maddy, Suzy’s sister. Maddy, at 20, was playing keyboard, singing harmony and looking just a bit blasé about the whole thing.
They were really good; really, really good. Wonderful tuneful songs, expertly performed. What a thrill. Nancy was there, of course, as was the girls’ father Doug, both taking pictures and tapping their feet, Nancy next to me strangling her need to sing along. It was thrilling to see the next generation of talent take wing. There’s no question they’ll go far. In fact, in a few weeks Flashlight Radio is part of a Neil Young tribute at Hugh’s Room – they sang some Neil Young to show us they were ready for prime time. And they are.
Looking at them, I asked myself, as we all do – was I ever that young? That unaware of my beauty, the wonder of the future stretching out, infinite, before me? One of the joys of old friends – perhaps when Nancy looks at me, it’s still the 20-year old girl she sees, a girl the age of Maddy, and looking at her, I see the young woman she was, Suzy’s age. Now we sit and clap for them, and watch them soar.
I have not mentioned the disaster in Haiti. I don’t know what to say about the disaster in Haiti, except to feel, to the depth of my soul, the hideous injustice that those who have so little should be so appallingly afflicted. I asked my friend Annie where I should send my donation; Annie now works for the Jesuits but was before with Development and Peace, a Catholic organisation with a fantastic track record of grass roots social justice work. “Send it to Development and Peace,” she said, telling me that they have people right there on the ground now, and the most effective system to get help where it’s most needed. So my contribution will go to Development and Peace.
It is good to watch the world rally, to see millions of citizens doing, in a big or small way, what is most important, what Miep Gies did in 1944, what makes us most human – giving help where help is needed.



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About Beth

I began keeping a journal at the age of nine. Nearly fifty years later, I started this online journal, sharing reflections, reviews, updates, and the occasional secret.

Some Blogs I Follow

Chris Walks
This blog evolves. It once was about travels. Now it’s a reason to be at the keyboard that I value.


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Theresa Kishkan is a writer living on the Sechelt Peninsula on the west coast of Canada.


I walk on. With my feet, and in my mind as well.


Carrie Snyder
Wherever you’ve come from, wherever you’re going, consider this space a place for reflection and pause.


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Juliet is a Canadian who’s lived for decades in Paris and writes about her travels and the many things that interest her.