Being poor means doing silly things to ensure your basic day to day survival. Stealing toilet paper from relatively clean public washrooms, using Sunlight instead of Shampoo, and forging student id to get groceries from the food bank. Learning which clubhouse serves lunch and dinner. One resourceful friend of mine even managed to steal five pounds of Bacon. Hey, it’s on the Atkins diet!

That wasn’t what I was thinking about today though. I was thinking about the year I lived in America. America, soda cans and o’grady potato chips. People there were really nice to me and my sister, two public school girls learning the ropes of Montana. Montana, where our family fled to after taking part in a relatively well known Canadian native uprising. Montana, where we joined the wild west shows. No wild west shows for me, only 2nd grade hamster circuses, and once I wanted to put on a show using only metal filings for actors. Very conceptual.

At the time I was really into nuclear disarmament, I still am, but then it was more pressing, what with the Cold War looming over our heads. Being a Canadian during the Cold War was a real trip. Somewhere in the middle where stray bombs would inevitably obliterate us. So I wrote a letter to Reagan, asking him to disarm. And my Gramma found a stamp for it and mailed it off for me.

I got a reply back. A thank you for sending a letter to the President, along with a booklet on the history of the White House. I didn’t get an answer about his stance on the nuclear weapons program, and I don’t think they even read my letter.

The booklet had a section about all the ghosts in the White House. That appealed to me, morbid person that I am. I still like ghost stories. I can appreciate anybody as long as they can tell me a good ghost story. I think I should have been more indignant, wrote a zine about it or something, but I was in the second grade, and ever so appreciative of a good scare and some o’grady potato chips.

I’ve heard better ghost stories since then, but never again did I get to eat O’Grady’s chips. If anyone finds a packet of them, please send me some.


“How to take it is too long to tell, it is unable to keep off the sweet smell”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *