Kindred Spirits

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There was a gift sitting on my chair today. An early Christmas present. An infinity scarf with words written on it. Well, it’s more than words. I picked it up and read “When Mr. Phillips was in the back of the room hearing Prissy…” I knew immediately the text on the scarf was an excerpt from Anne of Green Gables. I cried a little.

To have a friend know you well enough to see the perfect gift and then be thoughtful enough to get it for you? I have to admit I cried. I got exactly what I wanted for Christmas.

I bet you are thinking I wanted the scarf. I didn’t even know I wanted the scarf until I received one. But that is not what I wanted. I asked for a friend who I can have deep and meaningful conversations with. I got one.

It has been years since I had a girlfriend who I can share everything with. I have had two of these types of girlfriends in my life. The first one was in Grade 7. She was new to my school but lived fairly close by. We slept over at each other’s homes, her mom was my other mom and I felt as comfortable being in my jammies at her house as I was in my own home. We were the original BFF. After high school, life changed and we drifted. I still think of her fondly and we are Facebook friends.

I met my second BFF when my son entered kindergarten. She was the mom of one of his friends. She just moved to Canada. We had the same humour, the same interests and loved coffee. When our kids graduated from junior high school we drifted apart. She is still in my phone and when we run into each other at the grocery store we stand and chat for hours. If she called me in a panic I would still run to her. I think of her fondly.

I asked the universe for a friend I could share deep and meaningful conversation with. Someone who was similar in age and shared the same values and who would listen to me. Friends who listen are rare.  My new friend arrived and we love books. We often read the same ones and discuss over lunch. Sometimes we talk about existential questions and search for answers. We strategize, we dissect, we both have husbands with the same name. She is my Diana.

Diana Barry was Anne Shirley Cuthbert’s bosom friend, kindred spirit and best friend. We aren’t quite there yet but anyone who knows me well enough to get me an Anne of Green Gables infinity scarf is very important to me. This is an old family favourite series for reasons that differ from most.

My Great Grandmother was born on Prince Edward Island. She talked about ‘Lucy’ in a way that was more familiar than a reader/author relationship. My first complicated novel was a gift from my little gram. Anne of Green Gables. She inscribed it “1978, For Robyn, Love Little Gram” Every birthday and Christmas I would get the next edition. All eight volumes were given to me. Only the first three were in hardcover.  But I have the complete set all gifted by my Little Gram. I read the stories because I wanted to know more about PEI, ‘The island you could walk across in a day”. I kept reading them because I was Anne. I was the mischief maker and child with a wild imagination. I was too sensitive and I had imaginary friends. Mine was Lucy, not Katie.

I travelled to France and was sad for Anne knowing Walter was buried there. I had a hard time separating fictional Anne from my best friend Anne. Intellectually I knew she wasn’t real, but she felt real. Still does. I am caught up in the Netflix series Anne with an E. Its different from the books but the spirit is there and I am caught up in expanded adventures. It takes me back to Little Gram, my childhood chums, my adult friends and my love of reading. I recognize the true gift of what I received today. I received a friend who truly understands me. It’s been a long time since I felt this way.

Thank you, Friend.

I am Judging a Book by it’s cover for the first time and it isn’t pretty!

Do you judge a book by it’s cover? I want to say no, but then THIS happened:

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Who is the Blondie in plaid? The last time I read Anne of Green Gables I was 42 (for the record that is 3 years ago). I have read this book on a consistent basis for about 37 years. The funny thing is, Anne Shirley – the main character, the ANNE of Green Gables – was a red-head the first time I read it and EVERY SINGLE TIME SINCE. Well, once she met a peddle on the road and promised her the dye would turn her hair a beautiful Raven Black – but it turned green…but Marilla cut the green bits off and it was good again.

There is a long tradition of Anne of Green Gables in my family. My Great Grandmother lived on Prince Edward Island and made sure all the girls in her family had the first 3 books to read. Being a teacher, reading was important to her, reading about the Island also important and being a smart girl was the most important quality any female could posses. In keeping with the tradition, I gave a copy to my daughter and told her it was an old book, but the character was just like her. She would make you laugh and you will be amazed at the crazy stuff she gets involved with, yet she is the smartest girl in any book ever written about a 12-year-old without magic.

The 100 year anniversary9780670067800 edition came out in 2008 and it was a traditional type cover.

 

But Seriously….Who was the brains behind this fiasco?

 

This is how I imagine the marketing meeting went. Imagine a board meeting in some Urban Publishing Setting with Suits (men) who have never read this classic Canadian Tale.

Big Wig: Minion, tell me the new projects on the table for this month.

Minion: Well, Our best selling classic book Anne of Green Gables had it’s 100 Anniversary in 2008 and that launch was a huge success, but since then we feel the numbers should be stronger but we found they have actually tapered off. We propose a revamp of the cover. Re-market it as a package for this new hip generation.

Big Wig: I like it! Show me what you have.

Minion: Nothing says sexy like a Blonde in Plaid on a hay stack. Guys love that.

Big Wig: Who is our target audience?

Minion: Teen girls who buy sexy magazines and duck face themselves in club washrooms across the nations. Girls who appear on ‘Girls gone Wild Spring Break’ and girls who are looking to attract that special someone. This new cover will be perfect.

Big Wig: Tell me what this book is about.

Minion: Well sir, this book is about a hot a girl who is very popular and gets all the boys.

Big Wig: Then this cover would be perfect, but why the plaid? It feels a little Daisy Duke to me.

Minion: Well Sir, it takes place in Canada. They all wear plaid in Canada.

Big Wig: Are you sure Minion?

Minion: Yes sir, I went to EPCOT in Florida  to the Canada Pavilion last year with the wife and kids. The Canadians all wore plaid sir.

Big Wig: Nice research Minion. Start printing right away, I want them out for Valentines day.

Minion: Consider it done.

Well the book came out and you should have heard the rant from my ChatterBox.

“Why is the new cover of the Anne of Green Gables a sexy blonde in plaid? Anne is a self conscious red head 12 year old with freckles and a pointy nose. Anne was NORMAL and now they have ruined it! What is wrong with the plain old hand bound books? with solid colour covers. If they rewrote the book from Josie Pye perspective then perhaps it might work but the book is called ANNE OF GREEN GABLES! ANNE OF GREEN GABLES IS A 12 YEAR OLD GIRL! 12 YEAR OLD GIRLS ARE NOT ALLOWED TO BE SEXY BECAUSE THAT IS CALLED PEDOPHILIA.  18 IS WHEN YOU ARE ALLOWED TO BE SEXY BECAUSE THEN YOU DON’T ATTRACT PEDOPHILES. WHAT THE HELL ARE THEY THINKING?”

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Did I happen to mention how proud I am of my girl? I should have name her Anne but I named her to honor my Great Grandmother. I promised I would never name her Agnes or Christina, instead I named her for my gram’s mother. It was the best I could do. I raised a smart girl just like my Gram hoped I would. Thankfully I still have the books that she gave me, and I passed them down so the tradition can continue.

Miss you Gram.

Tell me how well do you know Anne?