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“Good ol’ Freda”

It’s one of those days when you cannot believe the good luck of being alive: 23 degrees on a spring/summer Sunday with the city in bloom. After experiencing spring across America and on the west coast, now I get to enjoy it all over again – and the word for today is forsythia.

This is outside my front door – a wall of gold. It was also the 42nd annual Forsythia Festival in Cabbagetown today; I went up the street to watch the parade, remembering when my kids were in it, all dressed up, riding their bikes. It’s amazing how many kids live in this neighborhood. I think because my own have left, they’ve all left. But obviously not.

 The parade on Sackville Street

Festivities continued in Wellesley Park, including a great new addition – a beer tent for grownups. See the delicate green on the trees – ready to burst forth.

Yesterday, another great celebration, Anna’s 32nd birthday barbecue and gardening work party. You’ll be happy to hear that I forgot my phone, otherwise you would be inundated with photos. I went early, we rented an Autoshare car and went to buy fertilizer and plants, including herbs, a lilac and a rosebush. My daughter rents a ground floor apartment with a yard, which was an ugly wasteland until recently, full of debris. Now, it’s a green and growing garden and play-space for her son and friends.

Last night, to Hot Docs, one of my favourite festivals which I’ve missed this year due to travel and cold. But could not miss this one, luckily pointed out by my friend Leslie, who met me there – “Good ol’ Freda,” a documentary about Freda Kelly, who was secretary to Brian Epstein and who ran the Beatles Fan Club until the band broke up in 1970. Of course for a nutty fan like myself, it was a fabulous exploration of that time and place, the personalities and events that affected millions of us. But surprisingly, it’s more – because Freda herself is so genuine, warm and honest, a loyal woman who has never betrayed secrets or sold her story for money, it becomes the portrait of a truly good human being. She’s talking now only because she has a grandson and wants him to know about her life.

She was like a member of the Beatles’ families through those years, and the film shows again what ordinary working-class stock the boys came from, how solid were their values of hard work, decency and humour. Thrilling.

PS I know I’m truly home. Spent Sunday afternoon, as I love to do, listening to CBC radio while doing chores – today, effecting the great wardrobe switchover, winter stuff into boxes, summer stuff out. Because it’s full on summer today, baby. No nambypamby spring for us.

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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.

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