Anne of Sweet Valley High

That’s my Beau’s line in response to the busty blond update to Anne of Green Gables imbroglio.

One of my commenters on Sooey’s photoshopped Mike Duffy in a blond wig on top of the “busty” blond interloper.


There’s keeping up, and then there’s forgetting what you’re doing.

Full disclosure: I have a redhead. Once, we were stopped at the window of the local Wendy’s drive-thru (the circumstances must have been extraordinary because I always made healthy wholesome meals from scratch). The three kids were lined up in car seats in the back, heads touching the ceiling because, well, it was all just too much and somewhere in there parenthood got the better of us and we gave up and took to looking down at the efforts of others, instead.

We’d already given up on our marriage, or I had anyway, but as I tell my kids, that’s why they’re here.

“Look at divorce this way, if dad and I had been happy together, we wouldn’t have had to fill our huge gaping void of unhappiness with you.”

Just as the cranky teen handed the food to my ex, our redhead was heard to utter, barely, but definitely, “Kill our father”.

He turned to me, eyes wide with the usual terror, “Whaaa the fuuu?!” (that was our parental code for WHAT THE FUCK?!?!).

I’ll admit I panicked a bit because I had an ever present fear that our children would be taken away from us for being such bizarre little weirdos (I was afraid the Nanny State would blame us) so I was like, “Drive! Just, let’s, get the hell out of here!”

I’m pretty sure the cranky teen didn’t hear, “Kill our father”. Alas, she would have wondered at, “Drive! Just, let’s, get the hell out of here!”

Or more likely not. She was a cranky teen, after all.

I didn’t realize all kids are bizarre little weirdos until they went to school and I started volunteering to have grade ones read to me. Omigawd. Boring much? And I don’t know, dear Sooey Says reader(s) if you’re a parent, but remember boys and the “joke” phase? Well, I made the mistake of laughing that first time, you know, to build self esteem.

Several months (years?) later, the girls came running home for lunch – in tears (we lived across the street from the school the Ottawa Carleton District School Board closed down because the OCDSB only pretends to be human, it’s actually a can of squashed assholes), “Stooey signed up for the talent show! Mom! Do something! He doesn’t have any talent!”

“Now, now. He’s very talented. He just needs some comedy for his routine. And a routine for his comedy.”

But they were practically hysterical (they got like that when he danced, too, and yet – he was a really good dancer – he could do the robot dance like nobody’s business, moon walk, and some sort of shaky jiggle move that really should have been his comedy routine) so I went over to have a word with the principal.

I needn’t have worried, of course, because the principal was a woman. She was such a woman that the one time outside was actually fun in winter, she put a stop to it. A yukster OCDSB snow remover (no doubt on contract) had piled mountains of snow that were nicely frozen and the kids could slide down them without sleds. This had happened over the Christmas break and my kids were having the time of their lives – for once – outside.

Alas, it was all deemed unsafe (she banned skipping ropes and marbles, too – also pokemon cards) and the OCDSB yukster had to return and bust the mountains up into little mounds that were about as fun as shit on a stick.

No, no shit – just the stick.

So, of course, the talent show wasn’t a free-for-all, it was for kids who took lessons in something because their parents had high hopes and forgot about when they themselves turned 13 and any investment parents had made in their talent went down the drain and was never spoken of again.

“Don’t worry – unless – is he taking comedy lessons?”

Anyway, I do give myself kudos for reading aloud to my kids every night until partway through the fourth Harry Potter when I realized they were reading Archie comics under the covers and I was having nightmares.

If you’re reading the fourth Harry Potter aloud to your kids, it’s time to say goodnight, by the way, and as with all parental duties, I have to admit – I was relieved when it was over.

(I know, I know, it’s never supposed to be over, but I recently told my young adult children that I’m a person, in hopes that it would clear up any misconceptions, should there still be any, as to how I felt about being a parent. Also, not that it’s necessary, I’m sure, but I’d really like to lower any lingering expectations.)

Their dad, on the other hand, told a different variation of the same story whenever I was away (not often enough, quite frankly) which always ended with three children having eaten so much chocolate pudding at supper that by the time they went to bed it was oozing out of them. When they woke up in the morning, they didn’t, because they were just one big blob of brown on the floor.

I like to say he really put the pee in parent.

Anyway, you’d think Anne of Green Gables would be a tough sell after that, but she wasn’t. I only read the one book in the series aloud to my kids, but I remember reading the whole series to myself as a kid. I read all the standards aloud to my kids (copying my brother, who was and is a voracious reader – I remember once coming across him reading Will Durant’s “History of the World” – he was like… 14?). And I’m sure they’ll read aloud to their kids, and yet, they really aren’t big readers.

They’re watchers. And yet, as far as I recall, they were never watchers of Anne of Green Gables.

Anyway, I worked with a woman back at the NDP, a busty creamy skinned blond who’d clawed and scratched her way up to the top of the middle of Bob Rae’s communications team. The perception of her was that she was biblically ambitious (I just made that term up “biblically ambitious”) and she was quite disliked as a result of it.

But I’ve always been fascinated by professionally ambitious women and even though I was jealous of her proximity to Bob Rae, on whom I had a humungo crush, which was my only reason for working at the NDP, we became friends and it turned out she’d spent a summer playing Anne on stage out in P.E.I.

I mean, it was just so incongruous, like Barbara Amiel playing Mary Magdalene in Jesus Christ Superstar, and I thought she was having me on. She had a bit of a Bernadette Peters thing going on, too, and it all just seemed so unlikely.

But then, my ex and I were watching CBC one night or maybe it was TVO and this movie came on called, “Termini Station”, starring Megan Follows and Colleen Dewhurst, our own little Anne of Green Gables and Mirella. It’s relentlessly bleak, I believe it features Timmins, where Megan Follows is turning tricks for bus fare or somesuch while Colleen Dewhurst drowns herself in a bottle of booze, but I remember it now because of how incongruous it was and the incongruity leading to our awesome idea of combining Anne of Green Gables with Termini Station to make our own little redhead a star.

Alas, we missed the boat, but when I learned of this latest heresy I thought the timing was good to put it out there for someone else to have a go.

Just bear in mind – I’ve never taken comedy lessons.



  1. “… it was just so incongruous, like Barbara Amiel playing Mary Magdalene in Jesus Christ Superstar…”

    ah-HA! So that’s where Babs got her wellspring of fortitude to stand by her man, aka Lord Black of Cross Harbour, during his prison years.

  2. “Our own little Becky Thatcher”, as Frank magazine used to call her, I believe.