My last posting here was about Anna Smith, this blog’s occasional Canadian correspondent.
Just before Christmas, her boat – her home for the last 20 years – and all her belongings – were destroyed on the Fraser River in British Columbia – Vancouver to you and me.
The boat was destroyed partly because of sexism (as mentioned in my Christmas Day blog) but – whatever – there is currently a crowdfunder to put Anna back on her feet again. In the meantime, she is living, thanks to friends, at the Queen’s Hotel – a former strip club which stands a few blocks away from where her boat used to float.
Yesterday, she updated me on her situation and sent me a photo of herself, holding a turkey enclosed in an infant’s snowsuit.
The situation is somewhat static here. The boat is still beached at low tide. Everything is pretty much shut down until Monday, as New Year’s Day was just before the weekend.
I am still at The Queen’s Hotel in New Westminster. I used to work here for the previous owners, in the coffee shop, when the place was more a motel, and run by a quirky Croation family.
I used to secretly call it Fawlty Sewers.
It is now completely renovated. There is a motorcycle in the lobby for people who want to take selfies of themselves with it.
In its glory days, they had a terrific diner-style menu, featuring fresh home made pies every morning… and their famous “Skookum burger”.
Skookum is jargon word originating from the (First Nations) Chinook Language and it is in popular use here, It is one of the few words that made it into working class English-speaking vocabulary here – possibly via fishery workers.
(Skookum means impressive, exceptional or impressively strong.)
In the list of people who have donated to the crowdfunder for my boat disaster I was surprised to see the name of one lady… She is one of my former room mates when I was 18 and living in a house full of radical lesbian feminists.
My roomate Adrienne started a lesbian courier company to deliver Chinese food for the two biggest Chinese restaurants in downtown Toronto.
The women in the lesbian house (including me – I was the youngest) ‘invaded’ the Miss Canada Pageant in November 1975 (which the U.N. had declared International Year of the Woman).
I guess it would be considered a terrorist act today.
About twelve of us stormed into the television studio and completely disrupted the pageant which had an audience of a couple hundred people and was being broadcast live across the nation.
We were wrestled from the stage (in front of a row of twelve screaming and sobbing beauty queens) and dragged by our legs out of there.
There were photos of our leader Adrienne, raising her fist in the air, her statuesque blonde girlfriend Helen gazing at her in ecstacy, with the row of shocked beauty queens wearing identical long gowns in the background, looking on in horror, gasping, hands to their mouths…
It was quite a radical act for the time, but most of the participants just got on with their lives after that, so it wasn’t properly recorded in history books… it was before there was ‘Women’s Studies’ in universities.
I have tried looking for a tape of it, unsucessfully, on YouTube… I think the TV station may have excised it or destroyed it.
I did find a video of the pageant continuing to its finale, all sign of lesbian interference edited out…