I’m thinkin’ about my buddy, Marie, today.
I met Marie in 1982 when we both joined the cast of a children’s theatre company called “M & M For Kids” run by Heather Mitchell. I used to describe her as a ‘biker chick’ and I seemed to be her polar opposite. Marie knew me as a conservative, Catholic, mother of four, who liked to wear what she described as ‘foo foo’ clothes (too much ribbons and lace..ha ha).
It wasn’t long before we knew that we had very very similar tastes of humour and I would go out of my way to get her into trouble at the table reads by doing gross things to make her laugh (showing her my open mouth of food for example) and then smiling sweetly when she would get into trouble for interrupting the read with her pointing the finger at me like we were four years old. Ha!
Marie sort of adopted one character that she played called “Madame Amoré” and I adopted a character that I had auditioned for called “Mrs. Nitch”. Sometimes we would get dressed up as these crazy ladies and go downtown to spread the love. I specifically remember one Valentine’s Day when we burst into the children’s school with a basket full of Hershey’s Kisses and hugs for all and embarrassed our middle son SO badly. ( Don’t worry. He has since gotten me back in the embarrassing me department MANY times…ha ha) We loved pulling pranks like that (like when we took a photo of us together in my bedroom and made sure Terry found it…ha ha)Silly stuff but this laughter has been one of the glues of our friendship.
We did many many shows together where we got to wear cute costumes (as shown in the Hallowe’en and farm yard pics above)and sing silly songs for many school groups or other gatherings of children. Marie was a professional singer (still is!) but I was a professional actress by trade. She was a little nervous at first about performing on stage as a character actress.
One day Marie invited me to join her band called Escapade and that certainly put me outside my comfort zone. Although I had so much fun in the girl group where we sang 3 part harmonies of music throughout the ages with Joanne Clark(from the Andrews Singers to the Supremes!) I was nervous every time and would look at Marie like the proverbial deer in the headlights when I forgot my lyrics. She always graciously sang with me until I remembered the words to my solo.
In the blink of an eye 13 years had flown by and my hips were done. I needed hip replacements.
But my husband worked out of town and I had these four little ones, the youngest two being in grade one, and I knew I needed a live in helper. We couldn’t afford much and I didn’t know where to turn but Marie soon said to me, “What am I….chopped liver?” (Meaning that she would like the job!)
Marie was so incredible at taking care of the children, making me laugh, making sure I prayed, cleaning the house, (and even helping me lift my leg into bed), shovelling the walks, and SO much more….. that it was like the kids had two mothers. That’s when we started calling each other “Mother”.
Marie used to haul me and my wheelchair everywhere. And that thing wasn’t light! I have so many funny stories of the things she did to me when I couldn’t walk and it might sound cruel but I think she is hilarious. She once took me to see Santa in the mall against all objections. When Santa put his hand on my leg, told me he was a healer, and said to get up and walk (!) I thought Marie was going to take him out! “Back off, Santa, her husband will kill me if she breaks that hip!” she yelled as she wheeled me off the ramp with Santa chasing us through the mall. (He was just trying to give us a candy cane he said…ha ha ha)
She even took me to a class I as taking called “Bible Study Fellowship”. She would drop me off inside the church and wait outside in the cold while she smoked and patiently waited for the class to end. (Marie laughs about the day our twin girls gave her a note that asked her to stop smoking because smoking takes lives. And she recently mentioned about the time one of the girls had to write a story about their hero and they picked HER! Rightly so.) Marie didn’t really have a faith per se at the time of her taking care of me after my first hip replacement but she always made sure I continued to pursue my prayer life by handing me “the beads” even when I was too tired and sore to want to pray.
Today, Marie still lives in Calgary and is still singing and teaching music. She has visited me many times in Edmonton and taken care of me again after my fairly recent foot operation.She is still funny and kind and in contact with me almost weekly. She has a new dachshund doggie named Ollie.
And currently she attends Bible Study Fellowship.