End of the great voyage of 2018: I’m checking out of the Victorian Hotel this morning to spend my last day and night with Bruce on Beach Avenue, where today the city is celebrating 4/20 – marijuana day. I remember the huge festival from past years and know certain of my relatives would love to be there. It’s possible, however, that Bruce and I will give it a pass.
Yesterday was the best day of the whole year so far – put all that rain completely out of mind. Sun all day, the whole city out playing beach volleyball, paddleboarding, dragon boating, sailing, and walking dogs. I began the day in Gastown, where my friend Monty, a retired architect, looked at the plans for my renovation to give me some advice. But what we discovered is that my house is so eccentric, it was nearly impossible for him to visualize, especially because there are no old brick semi-detached Victorian houses in Vancouver. “No, this is a nook, there’s a cranny here, and that wall just kind of ends …” I’d say, and he’d try to figure it out. It was fun.
Had lunch with him, friend Margaret who came to join us, and Monty’s daughter, also an architect, who was arrested on Burnaby Mountain protesting the Kinder Morgan pipeline and, along with about 250 others, including the Green Party leader, faces a criminal trial. Suddenly idealistic activism has scary consequences – a jail term or a heavy fine and a possible criminal record, serious stuff. But thank god for those struggling to preserve our endangered planet.
Strolled this part of Vancouver with Margaret – an almost incomprehensible mix of chichi – Gastown – fascinatingly ethnic in Chinatown, and on the downtown East Side, the direst poverty I’ve ever seen, more extremely than anything I’ve seen in Toronto. I was on a mission – to find the plaque honouring Wayson Choy at the corner of East Pender and Gore. Found it! How proud I am for him; this solid celebration of him and his beautiful books will be there forever. (click to enlarge)
And then realized – I used to live in a rented house on East Pender, only a few blocks from there, when Anna was a baby. Walked with Margaret, who’d visited us there in 1982-83, and found the house, changed – it was covered with dark brown siding then – but I knew it right away. It was a bewildering time – I was suddenly a wife and mother, retired from the theatre and taking an MFA in creative writing, and stuck without a car in the middle of Chinatown. It was a lovely house but a terrible location – nothing close by and not a single neighbour, at that time, who spoke English. My back went into spasm, and I had to go to bed for a month. Not a happy memory.
Visited the tranquil Sun Yat-Sen Chinese Garden for the first time on the way back.
Rested, then the little ferry, again, across to Kits, to meet Judy for a walk and talk in the sun – as I’ve said before, when the weather is like this, you wonder why anyone would live anywhere else …
and then to dinner with two old friends from theatre days, Colin Thomas and David Diamond, who live in a co-op on 1st, near the water. Thai food, gossip, reminiscence – wonderful. Colin, a brilliant editor as well as theatre critic, drove me back to the hotel.
So it ends. Back to reality, back to family, back to work, back to the beeg ceety. I’m grateful for every moment out here and can’t wait to get home. I am a very lucky woman.
P.S. Yesterday was my aunt Do’s 98th birthday – had a nice chat, glad to learn her friends had taken her out to lunch. And today is Wayson’s 79th. Inspiring elders.