Tuffy P writing- I lost a great friend yesterday – she’s pictured here at 6 years old. Her name was Linda. Her Dad was Dave, her mom was Jan. They lived up the street from our house, at 1594 Victoria Park Ave. Apartment 101. Mrs. King lived across the hall. Linda’s folks had a little 2 bedroom apartment. We hung out – a lot in her room, growing up. Her bedroom was sunshine yellow. First Pajama party I can remember was at Linda’s. Bowling birthday parties were big in the 60’s – Linda’s folks got those started at O’Connor Bowl. We saw zillions of movies at the Golden Mile growing up.
Bought our records at Sam the Record Man. We hung out at Eglinton Square, then later, Fairview Mall. Linda had the best hair! She was fun. And in her teens, she was big into the Drum Corps. She set me up on my first blind date. We sang our face off in her room with the Carpenters, Roberta Flack and Donny Hathaway. More pajama parties, then Hockey Games in our teens watching Red Kelly coach the Maple Leafs. We painted signs on bedsheets and hung them in the Blues section whenever we got the chance to see a game, hoping our parents would see us on TV in Maple Leaf Gardens. We walked in the Miles for Millions walkathons with our parents and friends from public school – and much later, I walked my first Run for the Cure with Linda when she was fighting breast cancer. We loved the Stampeders -never missed a concert and got albums autographed together. We walked to school everyday together from age 13 until we graduated High School in 1978. At 13, I’d wait to see her in the school field at Sloane, we’d cut through the park and make the long walk to Heron Valley Jr. High. For High School, I walked up to her apartment, and we caught the bus along Victoria Park Ave.
When we were 16 there was a plan to take a trip on our own – no parents. I can’t remember how we even convinced our parents to allow us to go. Denise was 18, and was supposed to watch over us. Somehow, it was allowed. We had no money. Nancy P. and Denise worked at a call center after school. I believe it was Nancy that helped to get us jobs together. We would call people from an office over the supper hour. We tediously read from a script, asking survey questions of homeowners. The end goal was to make some quick money to fund our plane fare and hotel. I remember a lot of people hanging up. I also remember calling auto wreckers when it was quitting time, when we just didn’t want to start another survey, but had to be seen on the phone by the supervisor. It wasn’t much of a job. We hung in. We got the cash. Then someone said we all had to have suits to travel in. So we bought suits from Eglinton Square – and accomplished the dream. Linda, Lynda, Karen, Denise, Lynn and I went to Fort Lauderdale for March break in 1976. We stayed at the Jolly Roger Hotel. It was a lot of fun. The hotel said they would never forget us, we were legends, and was sure glad when we were packed and out of there!
The travel bug bit big for Lynda and Linda. Along one of their future trips, Linda met her soulmate, Kim Brett. He was from Australia. They married in December 1984 – and had their reception at the classy Inn on the Park.
Along the way – they had 2 sons, Andrew and Daniel. They had spunky dogs. Frosty and Max. And last year, when Andrew and Amanda’s son Brayden was born, Linda and Kim became proud grandparents.
It just should have been longer, when Lynda called yesterday morning crying to say Linda had passed, I just couldn’t believe it. We were planning a movie on Tuesday. She passed in her sleep. Peacefully.
I don’t know anyone who fought so much of their life with cancer as long as Linda did. She held a lot from many – and she let go hard, when she had to. This is the face of a fighter, of a lover, of a mother, of a grandmother, of a niece, of a dog-mother, and of one of life’s greatest friends a person could ever ask for. She loved her family and friends as deep as any ocean. I’d walk a million more miles with her if I could. Rest in peace, I love you so Linda.