Saturday, January 8, 2022

I'm Not a Fan of Winter

January 8, 2022


It's dark in the morning when I get up and dark again by 4 pm.  This winter has been gloomy and dreich. Isn't that a wonderful word?

The first recorded use of the word "dreich" was in 1420 when it originally meant "enduring" or "slow, tedious".

Yes, I hail from Scotland and the Scottish Book Trust named this the most 'iconic' of Scots words. I'm used to rain, being born and bred in Edinburgh. If it doesn't rain every day, it rains every other day. Or that's what I remember. It's either drizzle or rain that chills you to the bone. My mother always told me it was good for my complexion!

I left Scotland fifty-five years ago, so with Global warming perhaps it's changed. Now here in Canada, each province can be different on the same day. I was complaining in a post a few days ago that it was -13 c. A friend from Alberta promptly returned my whine and asked if I would like to join him in his town at -48 degrees celsius! No thank you! Snow has been a hit and miss in Ontario this winter at least where I'm situated near Lake Ontario. 

Now, what has the weather to do with my writing life? My partner in crime, Liz Lindsay loves a day of rain and she finds she is more productive with a good downpour. I need the sunshine to find my muse or at least I use that as an excuse when I'm procrastinating. And I'm sticking to that theory.

So, the original meaning of dreich, slow, tedious and enduring, seems to fit the times we are trying our best to get through. For the last two years, we have endured this oppressive pandemic and for most, it has been tedious. Like the rain and the cold, it will surely change to sunshine and better days ahead.

I'd better check the weather forecast for tomorrow as Liz is waiting on some writing from me. 

Sat
Jan
Chance of flurries

-1°C

30%

Chance of flurries


Sun
Jan
Chance of flurries or rain showers

C

60%

Chance of flurries or rain showers


 It looks like the sun is peeking out on Saturday and only a chance of flurries. She may get lucky but I can't see me getting much writing done on Sunday. I wonder what's on Netflix that I haven't seen?



Stay safe...and dry wherever you are.

                                    Slainte, Pam

Sunday, January 2, 2022

Beginnings - Blog-Letter

 January 2 2022




A New Year always seem to call for a fresh start, new beginnings and the dreaded "R" word. You'll find no resolutions here, only aspirations, accomplishments and news of the write kind. 

As you can see from the banner above, Jamie Tremain is taking advantage of the New Year and new beginnings with a new Blog-Letter. A combination blog post and newsletter. We hope to do a Blog-Letter monthly, but lest this hope fall under the umbrella of failed New Year's Resolution, no more shall be said. In addition we'll still provide blogs with interviews and posts on the writing world as we have done in the past.

How did you celebrate or observe your year-end?



Year End Thoughts

Liz

Christmas 2021 has passed. How I had planned to spend it and how it actually turned out are two different things. After another frustrating year with COVID our family planned, and anticipated, a long over due Christmas gathering. There would be about 16 of us. Food contributions and gift ideas were organized and all was good until about 8 days before. Then Omicron numbers grinched our Christmas. The gathering was reduced to 8 in number. My husband and I had the day to ourselves. Although we did enjoy a fun, but all too brief, visit from my daughter and her family early Christmas Day. Greetings and love exchanged outside our apartment door. We talked with everyone throughout the day, and even though there were only two of us, we ate way too much!

A planned Christmas Eve with my sister and her husband was also nixed when three of us felt we might be coming down with something. So better safe than sorry, and another visit rain-checked until today, when it is hoped they will visit with us for a spaghetti dinner.

Although I am truly disappointed at not having the Christmas with family as hoped for, I’m still grateful that everyone is well and that I’m blessed beyond words with a close family and loyal friends.

2022 promises to be busy for Jamie Tremain and perhaps, fingers crossed, we may see a return to some book events where Pam can unleash her sales skills. She is the people person of this partnership and will keep Jamie Tremain front and forefront wherever she goes. And I'm glad she does! 

I hope 2022 is a Healthy, Happy, and safe one for all!



                               
                                       Even Mary B. Eyes came along for the brief visit.


Pam

As one half of a writing duo called Jamie Tremain, I’m more than thrilled to have a partner that is so tech-savvy. 2021 saw our jump to being Indie authors and published two new books.  In August “Beholden to None”, the third in the Dorothy Dennehy mysteries, was published and in October a new series began with “Grant's Crossing-Death on the Alder”. We have big plans for 2022 and would like you along for the ride. 

 

I have written before about change and generally, I accept what is happening around me as progress. But this year I believe we are all somewhat weary and now we have waves with this new variant. If we are to see the light at the end of the tunnel we have to accept and adapt. Some friends have been affected by Covid and I wish them a speedy recovery.

 

Ontario loosened up restrictions at the beginning of December, so I went to the theatre with my daughter-in-law to see “Come from Away” in downtown Toronto. Tickets were bought two years ago! Dinner at an Italian restaurant sitting miles from any other customers and then a dress circle seat to watch the show. Fantastic performance for the next two hours. Highly recommend it, but I gather it is now closed due to the new variant. 



 

I’ve always enjoyed Christmas. The shopping for gifts, the eating of course, and the family getting together. That was my biggest disappointment. I did see one son and his wife and her mother. No, I didn’t cook the usual turkey etc. I’m waiting on a new oven but supply chain woes mean late January. But we still had our turkey. My local supermarket did a fine job and delivered a turkey already cooked with all the veg, gravy and stuffing, (not as good as mine though) and they didn’t forget the cranberry sauce. 

 

Being at home so much during this time means getting a grip on eating. A cookie here, a cookie there. What's a girl to do? No, I don’t bake but it's all Liz’s fault as she delivered to me last month a huge tin of Belgium chocolate biscuits.


On Boxing Day, a friend from Kelowna, BC came to stay for a few days. We drove around but didn’t venture far and no crowded places. Oh yes, we managed the liquor store for replenishments. So, for three days we ate, drank and bored each other silly. But as the temperature is -31c (-22 F) in Kelowna, she liked our temperatures much better.

 

December the 31st where I come from (Scotland) is called Hogmanay. Many traditions surround this night. But that would be harking back to the old days, and we need to look forward. A lump of coal to heat your fire, some black bun for sustenance and of course whiskey. Oh, and the Scots make the best Shortbread.

 

I’m looking forward to 2022 and Liz and I will continue to give you more of our stories. We were planning and brainstorming this morning so look for more of Grant’s Crossing and number four in the Dorothy Dennehy Mystery series.

 

Health and Happiness and a Happy New Year to all.



And now onto Jamie Tremain related items.


We are being featured on two upcoming blogs - January 7 and January 25. Details to follow.


Are you interested in being a Beta Reader for Jamie Tremain? We'd love to hear from you. Email us at jamietremainJT@yahoo.com


Can we ask a favour? If you're not already following us, would you mind giving us a follow, or like, at any of these sites? There's also a follow button at the top right hand of this page to keep in touch with us here.


Facebook    https://www.facebook.com/jamietremainwrites



Twitter    Jamie Tremain🇨🇦 (@PamLizWrites) / Twitter


Goodreads       Jamie Tremain (Author of The Silk Shroud) | Goodreads 



BookBub       Jamie Tremain Books - BookBub


Instagram       Liz and Pam (@jamietremain_mysteryauthor) • Instagram photos and videos




 And as always, you can find Jamie Tremain books here:

Amazon

Google Play

Apple Books, Kobo, etc



Before we go!

We know trivia occupies far too much of our brain cells, but like jello there's always room for more - here's something to add.



Cheers!

Pam & Liz

Tuesday, December 14, 2021

2021 - Year in Review for Jamie Tremain

December 14 2021





Christmas and Holiday Greetings from Jamie Tremain! 


This has been quite the year, not just for us, but for so many others.


Challenges, disappointments, and heartbreaks have vied for attention with milestones, successes, and accomplishments.


For Jamie Tremain, we end the year feeling pleased with our decision to turn from traditional publishing and move to full on indie! We re-released The Silk Shroud, and Lightning Strike. And then added a third Dorothy Dennehy Mystery – Beholden to None. New cover art for the first two have given a fresh life to the books. We are so grateful to our gifted cover designer, Jennifer Gibson!


The Dorothy Dennehy Mystery Series
Death on the Alder - First in the Grant's Crossing Series



She has also provided the cover for the start of our new Grant’s Crossing series, with Death on the Alder being the first book. We hope to have a second in the series – Resort to Murder – available early in 2022. And to keep us busy we are well into a third in the series.


We are scheduled to be featured in a blog post – January 7 2022 – on Diane Bator’s blog -  Escape With a Writer.


We’re also continuing on with our Covid-generated, collaborative, writing project which we began last year as an exercise to keep our writing skills fresh. The project includes Award Winner Gloria Ferris. It’s since turned into a serious effort to see a new book published next year. Stay tuned for more details on this wintry caper that has some quirky characters, devious plot scenarios and stolen gems! And because Gloria's involved, there's more than one laugh along the way.


Still missing are the in-person events. Book conferences and book launches. Some are slowly making a comeback and fingers are crossed that 2022 will see us once again being able to connect with readers and other authors. Video meetings have been a wonderful alternative and we’re grateful to have that venue available to us. But face-to-face contact is best!


For our Dorothy Dennehy fans – our plan is to begin a new case for Dorothy and her team to investigate as soon as the third Grant’s Crossing book is complete. Ideally, we’d like to alternate with one book in each series moving forward. Time will tell, because as we all well know, life often intervenes when we are busy making other plans.


Keep reading lots of books! And if you like what you read, please consider leaving a review. You may have no idea how your encouraging words can lift the spirits of an author on a not-so-good day!


So for now let us wish each and every one of you the Best of Christmas and Holiday wishes and may 2022 be a Healthy, Safe, and Happy year!





Books on Amazon

Google Play

Other Online Retailers

Jamie Tremain's Web Site



 

Saturday, October 30, 2021

Books! Flash Sale!

 October 30 2021

Gigantic Online Book Sale! Two days only - October 30 & 31!

Blackbird Writers Flash Sale



Where Jamie Tremain lives, the days have grown shorter and the nights longer. A perfect time to have a coffee, or pot of tea, and get comfy under a favourite blanket. The only other thing needed is a new book!

And if you’re looking for something different, check out the Flash Sale promotion on Blackbird Writers web page.     So many wonderful books to chose from!

50+ books – sale priced and some free!  Included are  mystery, suspense, thrillers, paranormal, cozy mystery, crime fiction, police procedurals & more!

Books for all ages – including middle grade and YA novels.

Featuring authors such as Saralyn Richard, Lynn McPherson, Joy Ribar, and of course, Jamie Tremain

You’ll find these deeply discounted books available for two days only!  October 30 and 31.  Don’t delay, they’ll be gone at midnight on Halloween.

What a great chance to load up your e-reader with some incredible deals.

The Silk Shroud, Lightning Strike, and Beholden to None, are among the e-books featured.  We are really excited to participate in this year's event sponsored by Blackbird Writers.


 

 Remember 2 days only! Hesitate and you might miss out on some terrific bargains!

 https://blackbirdwriters.com/fall-flash-sale-2021






Happy Reading!

Sunday, October 3, 2021

New Series Launch

 October 4, 2021




Launching a new book is always an exciting time for the author. I believe we started writing Grant's Crossing - Death on the Alder in 2008 and it was duly delegated to a drawer while we concentrated on The Dorothy Dennehy Mysteries. We usually have two books in the works at a time. 

When we started our writing career in 2007 this could be a problem, especially for me. The protagonist's name in one book often showed up in the other. Face-to-face meetings to read our work out loud helped us solve the name crossover problem. To this day one of the aspects of our writing partnership is the reading aloud of our work. Not that we catch every little glitch, but it's truly beneficial.

Our most asked questions are... "How do you work together? How can you plot a story with two of you?"

Well, it's not always easy but we wouldn't have it any other way. We live in different cities so working online is the way to go for the most part. We use Zoom or Google meetings but that is not always adequate. Plotting and planning, with a good brainstorming day, set us up until we get together again.

We each have our strengths and weaknesses. I won't get into our weaknesses. Liz is a tech guru, thank goodness, as I am... shall we say, a hit and peck kinda typist and the computer is not always my friend.

My background was in sales and marketing so that's my job. Due to the climate in publishing and the restrictions with the Pandemic we are now indie published. 

Friday, October 1st saw the release of  Death on the Alder in paperback - the first in our new series Grant's Crossing. This book, and sequels, take place in Canada so they have a different flavour than the Dorothy Dennehy Mysteries. No launch party, or signing our latest contribution to the writing and reading world.

If you have purchased this book on Amazon, we'd love to send you a signed bookplate to put in your copy. Please let us know - jamietremainJT@yahoo.com -  and we will be happy to mail you one, along with a bookmark.

A signed bookplate for your book copy!


Perhaps by the time Grant's Crossing - Resort to Murder,  the second in the series, is published we can have an in-person event. We love connecting with our readers and would love to hear from you with a book review if you are so inclined.

Fall is here and the nights are darker already. It's good writing weather so says, Liz!  I prefer sunshine while sitting in my office, while if it is a good rainfall she is happy. It's only our hairstyles that are the same! No, we don't go to the same hairdresser. 

Liz is coming for the day on Wednesday so I'd better clean up my computer. How do I go about that?

Stay safe and well. Happy reading.


Slainte,

Pam


All our books are available on Amazon, as well as e-format on Kobo, Apple Books, etc.


Monday, September 13, 2021

SEPTEMBER

 September 13 2021

And another summer has blitzed by! We're well into September now. The leaves are turning faster, and the nights are generally cooler, which suits me quite fine!  I think Autumn is my favourite season of the year and wish it could last until Spring!

Jamie Tremain’s newest series – Grant’s Crossing – débuts October 1 with the first book in the series -  Death on the Alder. Once again, we applaud our cover designer, Jennifer Gibson, for beautiful cover artwork.



Imagine you’re 28 years old - carefree, career undecided, and your last surviving family member has bequeathed you a renovated farmhouse, which is now home to 8 senior citizens.  You no sooner arrive, when a suspicious death throws a heavy shadow over two of the residents. It’s your decision – turn down the inheritance or stay. What would you do?

This is what faces our newest protagonist - Alysha Grant - as she returns to her hometown of Grant’s Crossing, located in a small, rural, Ontario town.

We have some quirky characters, and of course a body or two. As far as genre? Well, it’s a mystery with cozy overtones. We do hope you will come for a visit, stay awhile, and get to know these characters. Pam and I had a lot of fun creating this series, and we’re about halfway through the second – Resort to Murder.

But what else has been happening, you ask?

I had to buy a new laptop when my faithful Acer decided to retire unannounced. Its successor is another Acer and I’m loving it. Gearing up for Windows 11 as well. Progress all around.

And here in Canada we’re facing a federal election on September 20. And that’s my only comment on that particular subject.

COVID’s tentacles reached out to my family this week, with two family members testing positive. My husband and I had our swab tests and fortunately have negative results. Please, can this thing be over, SOON!!

Zoom meetings and marketing forays seem to round out my days. Another one scheduled tomorrow afternoon with our Author Survival Network group. If you’re a published author and would be interested in joining our group, send me an email and I’ll provide more details.   Lizlindsay528@yahoo.com

Earlier this month, my sister and I, along with a good friend, went trekking through the tombstones in search of our earliest ancestors in Southern Ontario. Two cemeteries in the Listowel area were on our list. Our mother was born in England and married our Canadian-born father after WW II. But my sister, the genealogy wizard in this family, has discovered ancestry hailing from Cornwall, England on my father’s side. The name? Tremain(e) of course. Sometimes with an ‘e’ and often without.


          

          
Bonus discovery. A very helpful groundskeeper also pointed us in the direction of this grave - John Livingstone, Sr - brother to Dr. David Livingstone (I presume?).  All in all, it was a lovely way to spend a day and feel a connection with those gone before.


Now, it’s time for coffee and flexing the keyboard to see what Alysha Grant and friends are up to in Grant’s Crossing – Resort to Murder.

Cheers!

Liz


Grant's Crossing - Death on the Alder 

Paperback available October 1 on Amazon

Pre-order e-books on Kindle and other online retailers

Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Writer's Retreat - Part 2

 August 31 2021


A sequel to the previous post.

Pam and I enjoyed a rejuvenating, and much needed, three-day writing retreat with our fellow Genre5 members – Gloria Ferris, Donna Houghton, and Donna Warner. The location was Donna Warner’s cottage in the Muskoka’s (prime cottage country in Ontario, don’t you know). Thank you, again, Donna, for hosting and seeing to all our comforts!

 

Early Morning - Lake like glass
    
Water Activity
                               

There were only five of us, but the amount of food and refreshment we brought along would have fed a crowd three times the size! No starving artists this time around. And with no readily available internet, distractions from the outside world were kept at bay for three days. Imagine – we survived!

The weather was perfect to enjoy the clear waters of Sparrow Lake. Barbecues, hot tubs, kayaking and paddle-boarding helped round out the days.  Evenings were spent by the water, safely ensconced within a bug free gazebo. A propane-fueled fire pit added to the relaxing atmosphere.

Gloria added to the fun by providing an activity to help cool us all down. “Wear a hat, and red lipstick”, were the instructions we heeded. As well, we coordinated our clothing for a photo ‘shoot’.  Our historic, laughable, attempts at selfies have been rectified. A proper stand and light ring for our group shots have solved the problem!  Next up – videos???

 

But yes, we did ‘work’. After not having a real get together in a year and a half, we had much to discuss! Brainstorming over marketing and promotion. Along with the next steps in our group collaborative writing project.

We’ve decided to be more serious with marketing our Genre5 ‘brand’ – especially if we intend to write a book together! Stay tuned for more details on this.

Genre5
Donna Warner, Liz Lindsay, Pam Blance, Gloria Ferris, Donna Houghton
 

An Instagram account has been created – Genre5Authors – and you should be seeing lots from us in the future. Make sure you follow us to stay up-to-date!

Award-winner Gloria  is the gifted creator of her successful Cornwall & Redfern Mystery series, as well as 2 books in her YA series – Blood Patch and its sequel, Blood Shield.  She co-wrote two novellas with Donna Warner – Targeted, and Death’s Footprint. Donna Houghton has a wonderful, and enthralling, fantasy in the works which is nearing completion. 

Yours truly, of course, as Jamie Tremain, have 3 books in the Dorothy Dennehy Mystery Series, and are this close to the launch of our new series – Grant’s Crossing. The first in the series is called Death on the Alder, and we hope to have its debut in October. This series is more cozy than crime/mystery, and we hope our fans will continue along for the ride! With a slight change in the genre, we are hoping to attract new readers as well.

Once again, we are delighted with the cover work for Grant's Crossing - Death on the Alder, provided by our cover designer, Jennifer Gibson.  She is also an author and her series focuses on Jessie, a high school student who is hearing impaired. Learn more at her site here.

September is upon us, and all around, there is much to be unsettled about. For me, reading a good book is such a wonderful distraction – when I’m not writing! Currently, I’m enjoying  “You Will Remember Me” by Hannah Mary McKinnon. I’m a big fan of her writing! Next up will be Louise Penny’s “All the Devils are Here”. As well, I’ve added to my Kobo, Edward Rutherfurd’s “China”.  So, as you can see, I’m prepared for the autumn!

What books have carried you through the summer? And how tall is your 'to be read' pile?

The retreat was a week ago. Memories made to last a lifetime! I feel incredibly blessed to say I'm an author, but even more blessed to say I have wonderful friends within this special group. Long live Genre5 Authors!

Cheers!

Liz



Click on the name to buy on Amazon

Jamie Tremain:  

Gloria Ferris     

Jennifer Gibson   



Wednesday, August 11, 2021

Busy Summer

 Aug 11 2021

Nearly mid August! Like so many others who are commenting on how fast this summer seems to have gone, I shake my head at the speed with which days are flying by! Maybe because for a lot of us, restrictions have been lifted, or eased enough, to finally allow gatherings, to attend events, or to travel. It feels as if we are either making up for lost time, or filling our calendars in the event these long awaited freedoms are curtailed again. COVID is far from over. 

As mentioned previously, Pam and I enjoyed a lovely three day retreat last month. And guess what? We have another one scheduled in two week’s time! We will be joining the other three members of our Genre5 Author Group for a few days of catching up, writing and discussion. All against the back drop of a lakefront cottage. Can’t wait.  Other than a back-yard, socially distanced meeting last summer, we five have not gathered together since the virus put all our lives on hold. Grateful to have had Zoom to stay in touch, but nothing beats face to face.

Speaking of faces, a long running joke among the five of us is our complete inability to take a group selfie. Yes, we’ve tried the stick – let’s just say there were technical issues. But I may have found the solution and all will be revealed at our next gathering.

 


Out of all our group selfie tries, this one successful effort, from three years ago, remains my favourite. 

In the meantime, both halves of Jamie Tremain have been busy. Pam’s social calendar is bursting at the seams! I’ve been enjoying family gatherings at long last. And optimistically hope we can celebrate Christmas in our usual fashion this year!

My fun this week was technical. My faithful laptop, which had been showing its age, finally succumbed, and I spent yesterday setting up its replacement. With the ‘cloud’ and other advances, this set up went faster than I expected and I’m now enjoying better speed and a few new features.  As well, I’m borderline anal when it comes to backing things up, which paid off big time this time around.

And as far as Jamie Tremain goes, we’re now working with our amazing cover designer, Jennifer Gibson, to start the process for Grant’s Crossing – Death on the Alder. We plan for a release date of October 1.

We’re also developing a newsletter – more details to come on both!

And a reminder about the contest we offered with the last post. It ends August 13!

We hope your summer has been going well.  If you’ve purchased a copy of Beholden to None, send us a picture and we’ll feature it! We love hearing from you, because after all, without readers, what is the point of writing a book?

Now I’d best get back to my turn with our next project: Grant’s Crossing – Resort to Murder.

 

Cheers!

Liz


Saturday, July 31, 2021

RETREAT - REFRESH - RETURN

 July 31 2021

Oh, and a Contest for You!

It’s true – time flies when you’re having a good time.

Pam and I returned from a marvelous three day writing retreat yesterday. We were fortunate to rent a very comfortable cottage for a much needed time away to devote to writing, and all things Jamie Tremain.

On the shores of beautiful Georgian Bay -  Wasaga Beach, we enjoyed sunshine and quiet. AND NO INTERNET! That might have been the best break of all. The raucous calls of blue jays and crows a welcome relief from fire truck sirens and other city sounds. We enjoyed the antics of small, but feisty, red squirrels giving chase to their larger grey, and black, cousins. Chipmunks aplenty would have entered our screened gazebo with minimal encouragement!

Even a spell of rain didn’t dampen our spirits, as we could still sit outside under protection.


       
Wasaga Beach - Georgian Bay


 
Home for a few Days


So what did we actually accomplish? For starters, a new storyline is in the works for Dorothy Dennehy and her team. As well as the beginnings for a third book in our new Grant’s Crossing series. Our goal is to have Grant’s Crossing – Death on the Alder published by October of this year.

With social gathering restrictions eased, Pam has been doing what she does so well – promoting! She has successfully introduced our Dorothy Dennehy Mystery  series to residents of the condo where she lives. Among the comments: “Oh, I really think they (Dorothy and Rolin) are going to get together”, “I liked Alanna and Max. So cute.”  And after reading Beholden to None, “Where’s the next one? I want to keep reading!”  Pam commented that it was surreal hearing these readers talk as if they knew our characters!

Super encouragement for Jamie Tremain, to say the least!

And to you, dear readers – we are always looking for reviews. If you are interested in having your review included as an acknowledgements in upcoming book releases, please drop us a line at jamietremainJT@yahoo.com

So we’ve returned, invigorated with new ideas and motivation. Along with anticipation of another retreat planned for late August, with the other members of our Genre5 group. We will have so much to catch up on. We’ve relied on regular video get togethers over the last 18 months, so what a thrill and joy it will be to actually spend time together in person!

 Right, and I mentioned a contest, didn’t I?

 

What Is This???

If you can correctly identify the object from these clues, and are the first to let us know, then we will send you a signed copy of Beholden to None.  Email us at  jamietremainJT@yahoo.com before August 13 2021. Winner will be announced the following week.  **Note, I know one person who will be sure to identify this, unfortunately she won't be eligible for the prize!

I'd better turn my hand now to making sense of the notes and manuscript revision we took before Pam asks! I think Jamie Tremain will be busy over the next few weeks.

Here's to a safe and healthy August - Cheers!

Liz


 

 


Friday, July 16, 2021

The Earrings

 


The year was 1966 and I was working at my first job in Canada. My commute took me from Scarborough to Front Street in downtown Toronto.


I was a recent newlywed and a new immigrant, but once I learned the lingo and phrases of Canadians, I settled into my job as a switchboard operator. I’d been in my new position a few weeks when a gorgeous redhead entered the office. She came up to me at reception and asked for the boss. She informed me she was starting that day as the company president’s secretary. 


Sandra and I became instant friends. Toronto born and bred she had traveled to California for a year to find herself. To me, she was glamour personified. I adored clothes and cosmetics so we had much in common.


I was introduced to her family and her mother, Bertha, who became a very important person to me over the years.


A few months into the job we received formal invites to the company Christmas party. Yes, they did that in those days. It was to take place at the King Edward Hotel, aka King Eddie. Conveniently, only a short walk away from our office. We had once or twice dropped into the bar for a drink before taking the subway and bus to our respective homes. Yes, it was the sixties. We were finally allowed to go to a bar by ourselves without causing comments!


Sandra caused quite a stir that night in December. We were photographed sitting with others from the office, but Sandra was the Belle of the Ball. Sophisticated and smiling to all, she wore shiny disc-like earrings. Her red hair is in a Vidal Sassoon bob.  We shared those clip-on earrings over the years until we retired them as being out of date. 

Sandra and
 The Earrings



Sandra met her future husband at my twenty-first birthday party. Both our husbands were with the Metropolitan Toronto Police Force, so we spent many evenings together when they worked evening shifts or weekends. We lived on the same street and then we both bought a condo apartment in the same building, on the same floor.


Our relationship was pretty tight as we went on vacations together. Over the years, we shared many a meal. And not just meals! Sandra and I would exchange clothes, and even shoes, in addition to our favourite pair of earrings. But fate would intervene and life changed for both of us. 


I began a family, having my first son in 1971. Sandra started her journey with a disability that would last the rest of her life.


MS, or Multiple Sclerosis, was diagnosed and her life changed forever. There were many adjustments to be made. She gave up her job and tried to deal with people who assumed she was drunk with all her lurching about.


There were a few years of remission when she attempted snowshoeing with her husband, and a trip to Greece with her mother, where a climb up the Parthenon became a favorite memory.


Sandra had a progressive form of MS and it eventually crept back with a vengeance. She graduated from walking with a cane to a walker, and then a scooter. She tried everything to retain her independence.  Working alongside folks from her church gave her a feeling of accomplishment, with an attitude that surprised everyone. Her motto: I was dealt a lemon, so I’ll make lemonade. She had an infectious smile and made loads of friends in those years. 


She bought a timeshare in Bermuda and traveled on her own with the help the airlines provided.  MS was not going to define who she was as a person.


Time continued its progress. I had two more children and moved away. There were a few years I didn’t see as much of Sandra. I had a full-time job, three children. My life at that time meant I  was a good hour's drive away. But we always kept in touch. 



A few years after I moved she asked me to join her on a cruise to Alaska. Oh my, what fun we had. She used a walker and would sit on it while I charged down the corridors. Getting her onto a bar stool for our daily martini before dinner was a challenge, but there was always a handsome steward willing to hoist her up. They carried her off the ship in her wheelchair so we never missed an excursion. Even onto a catamaran to see the Orcas.


It was a magical trip. Neither of us wore the earrings on that trip.




Years later, Sandra sold her apartment and moved to a retirement home. We were both widows by then and I visited every few weeks. But the drive across Toronto was not to my liking so I suggested we find a location nearer me. I found an assisted-living community within a 10-minute drive from me so we were all set. She became an expert at operating a motorized wheelchair and had her independence back, navigating herself around.  A Wheel-Trans bus took her to a  shopping plaza that had everything she needed. Bank, grocery store, clothing boutique, drug store, and liquor store. In addition, I was told, “There is always the shopping channel!!”


She settled into the new place, and before long, had made new friends. I visited weekly. 

We managed the first wave of Covid. Until she called last August of 2020 to say she had found a lump in her throat. I called the nurse and asked them to get her to the hospital immediately. 


The unexpected diagnosis hit hard. Inoperable throat cancer. Subsequent tests showed it spreading. Sent straight to palliative care for the next three months. The hospital did a wonderful job caring for her.


So you are wondering … what about the earrings?


The hospital provides a lovely, and welcoming, wide-open patio where patients and their families can gather.


On a warm and sunny day, and with staff assistance, I helped Sandra into a wheelchair to get

her outside. She was allowed anything to drink or eat so I had brought her favorite wine, in two water bottles. Easier to drink out of. Then I brought out the earrings



Her comment was, “You still have those?

They only cost me five dollars.” 

After fifty-five years they don't quite hang the way they should. I'll donate them to a museum. Maybe as antiques they will have gone up in value!




I clipped them on her and she beamed. I took her picture. We finished the wine and went back inside. She said it was one of the nicest afternoons she’d ever spent.

I’ll treasure the earrings always, to remind me of so many good times.

No, I’ll never wear them again. Clip-on earrings are a form of torture. The things women will do for fashion!






Sandra died on November 9th, a day of her choosing. Her birthday. How she died was also her decision. She chose the MAID program. Medical Assistance In Dying. It was a very brave thing to do and she was at peace with her decision.


Her last words to me were, “I've not been in charge of my life for fifty years, so now I’m in charge of my death.” And she was smiling. R.I.P. Sandra.




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