James’ Brand New Blog

Where was I on June 30-July 1-July 2: A cryptic diary finds its final entry*

- July 2nd, 2012

 

brianjones1 (2)

 Brian Jones in #ldnont, April 1965. Courtesy of Ken Thorne

emmamg

Emma Peel blazes away, apparently from The Living Dead episode of The Avengers. Courtesy of http://www.dissolute.com.au

Up to Rick’s. Tied ‘Waterloo’.

The Avengers: ‘The Living Dead’

– June 30, 1969

Cookes// Brocksden Picnic

Ray’s Group at Mitfords
– July 1, 1968

Miss Downs & Miss Coldwell over.

Finished “Coming Together”

– July 1, 1969

Ate at Wite Spot.

Heard of Brian Jones’ death

 – July 2, 1969

 Purely by chance, the last entry in this JBNBlog series ends with the death of a rock star & even more eerily with the word “death.”

The diary from four of my teenage years isn’t about death — too many 45s for that. Still, the JBNBlog version concludes on so sombre a note, a reminder of the losses in my own life.

In many ways, the overwhelming event of the years from 1966-1970 in my diary was the death of my younger brother, John Andrew Reaney, in October, 1966. Only many years later could I see how my parents were wounded by it. During the year that I have been writing about these events in the life of my teenage self, my mother died on Feb. 6, 2012. Mom is not mentioned often in the diary, showing how callow a boy I was & so able to miss the obvious. It would be many years before I could understood her greatness as a person & how she loved us as only a mother could. My father is a much stronger presence in the pages, with his plays, amp-carrying duties & staying at the wheel for our epic drive from Victoria back to London.

So, belatedly, I dedicate these explorations of that seemingly distant part of my life to Colleen Thibaudeau Reaney, James Crerar “Jamie” Reaney & John Andrew Reaney. You are missed & you will always inspire me.

As for the final words in the series, I was never a  big Stones fans & can’t remember why the death of Brian Jones might have made more of an impression on me than other rock fatalities of the era. It was only in recent years (maybe belated revelations are a theme here, too) his role as leader of the Stones early on became apparent. That’s how so many of fans at the Stones “riot” here in 1965 saw him.

As these entries loop back to July 3, when the JBNBlog series based on my diaries started, there is the word “dead” in the title of a no-doubt classic episode of The Avengers. Was there ever a more beautiful & powerful & quick-witted secret agent than  Emma Peel?

To go with the pop culture doom & style represented by the two British icons is a surprising absence of Dominion Day memories over all four years, fine London music from guitar wizard Ray Sealey & that strange spelling Wite Spot. Can that have been right – Wite?

The final two visitors in the Where was I series are likely from the halls of UVic: the late Prof. Gwladys Downes, who taught French, and Prof. Joan Coldwell, who taught English there before moving on to McMaster.

The professors join hundreds of characters who drop in & out of the diary. As with almost all the other guests & friends of my parents I was lucky enough to meet, there is not a word on what was said that night, almost our last in Victoria.

My dull & frustrating silence on so many of these eloquent souls in this past world has a happy counterpoint in the fascinating comments it has received as Where Was I has wound its way to this finale. Led by my sister, Susan Alice Elizabeth Reaney, these JBNBlog friends have made the journey much more fun for me . . . & I expect for you, too.

Thank you all & let’s see where we go next.

* The final entry in a series based on a v. cryptic diary (Feb. 10, 1966 to June 30, 1970) kept as a pen&ink forerunner to JBNBlog during the late 1960s, when our family lived in London, Stratford (parts of summers of 1966 & 1967), Victoria, B.C. (July 4, 1968-July 4, 1969) and then London again until June, 1970 when I was in Grade 13.

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6 comments

  1. SusanR says:

    The White Spot is a popular chain of restaurants in B.C. — the first one was opened in 1928 by Nat Bailey in Vancouver. It was also the first drive-in restaurant in Canada. (It was at 67th and Granville — not far from Joy Kogawa’s house.) We probably went to the one in Victoria.

  2. Jean McKay says:

    I’ve really enjoyed this v. cryptic diary, James. Little shots of your past, reminding me of my own.

  3. Barb Collishaw says:

    I agree entirely with Jean McKay (Hi Jean!): it certainly was cryptic.
    I kept a diary almost that cryptic at the ages of 10-12, around the time my Dad died, but got much more verbose around 14, and have VOLUMES of memories that I probably never will and never should share with the world.

  4. arch says:

    Very interesting series and perspectives from you and others here. Thanxs.

    So, now I’m wondering: Any other Diaries after that? Letters? Post-it notes? Telephone bills? Grocery Lits? Report Cards?

  5. arch says:

    typo above: Grocery Lits should be Lists…but of course, it could also become ‘lit.’ in the hands of a talented writer.

  6. Jean McKay says:

    My brother was a car-hop at the White Spot at 67th and Granville that Susan mentions, around 1951 or 52. One night a guy ordered his hamburger and shake, and then asked for “a bucket of water for my alligator.” Sure enough, in the back of the station wagon he had a tank, with a baby alligator in it.

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