The Great Debate UK

Women friends



Katherine Govier is the author of nine novels and three short story collections.  Her most recent novel The Ghost Brush is about the daughter of the famous Japanese printmaker, Hokusai, creator of The Great Wave. The opinions expressed are her own. Thomson Reuters is hosting a live blog on March 8, 2011 on the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day.

On my last trip to Vancouver I walked around the sea wall with Hanna, a girl I particularly liked in Grade 7. It had been – egad don’t say it!- close to 50 years since I’d seen her.

It was raining. She had the only pair of mitts, so she offered to share. Each with one hand in a pocket, the other, snugly-mitted paw on an umbrella, we walked for 2 1/2 hours. With our acquired wisdom and the women’s movement between us and our 1960s teen years, we had lots to say. She told me something I had never known: her doctor father was an alcoholic. We laughed at our devious efforts to get birth control pills in 1969. Our marriage, our kids, my books, her teaching, her volunteering at a women’s shelter. We were soaked and frozen by the time we cut back through Stanley Park and found a restaurant on Robson Street.

Two days later Diane and I picked up the trail at almost the same spot Hanna’s and my footsteps turned off. Diane and I danced the cancan together at The Calgary Stampede. It was a summer job and it paid well. Now she’s involved in law reform. We walked the part of the seawall that was hit by the tornado, around by Siwash Rock. Indian legend has it that, rather than be separated, lovers were turned to stone here.