Ty’s brother

I had heard a lot about Thomas Brown, Ty’s only brother!  Ivy had often talked about Thom and his connection to musicians.  He had made it quite successfully in some kind of a  rock promotion company.  Supertramp was apparently one of the bands his company handled.


He was Ty’s only brother, unmarried and he was the oldest son.  As often seems to happen in families, Ty looked up to his brother, but he also wanted to be as successful if not more so … which in his downward slide into alcoholism was a difficult goal to attain.  I had met Thom a couple of times at Vic Park, while he was visiting his mother and deigned to pop in on his brother too, and was not particularly impressed by the kind of person he was.

One day …. surprise! Ty and I were invited to dinner at Thom and his partner’s home in some impressive part of London (of course I cannot remember which borough).  Thom’s girlfriend Amber was about my age, 24, 25… and had a sweet little daughter, Berry, from a previous relationship of hers.  Berry was about 6, I remember and was a slight little girl.  When we were at the table enjoying a nice dinner, Berry picked and picked at her food and barely ate a mouthful.  I gathered from the conversation around me, that Berry was a poor eater.  Thom, I could see, was somewhat controlling of Amber as well as her child.  He kept telling Berry she had better eat up!!!  Then he turned to me and said:  Jane is a nurse in a kiddy ward, then he turned to Berry and continued, if you don’t eat your dinner, she is going to give you a big needle that will hurt!!!!!

WAY TO GO BUD………….!!! not just taunting a little girl with threats, but dragging me into it as a bad guy, and not to mention possibly instilling a fear of nurses and hospitals into the mind of a young child….. I wish I’d had enough guts to say something smart, but I hate to say it, I may have sat there and swallowed my words with a gulp!  Needless to say, my opinion of Thom took a further hit downward after this episode!!   Hell! I don’t even remember what he looked like, this brother of my idol!

We barely had any more contact with Thom… Although, I remember coming home one evening to a screeching, lunatic drunken Ty, who was throwing stuff all over the place on the first floor!  Apparently, Ty was downstairs visiting his mum, when she had told him that Thom had wed Amber, and of course had not invited his brother to the wedding!  I don’t think Mrs B would have gone, but apparently all her daughters had been invited!  Hopefully Ty held his rage in until his mum was out of earshot (she was quite hard of hearing)…  There was nothing I could do to calm him when he was in these drunken episodes… I guess I just tried to keep out of his way.  I heard him slam the door, and figured that he had gone over to Bills, maybe to get more soused or God forbid to another pub from which he would no dobt get chucked out and mp doubt be barred!!  Who knows……… I really cant remember!

Of course, a few months later, when Thom & Amber had their own baby, Holly, needless to say, Ty was not invited to her christening either………….

Of course, I cannot say that I blame anyone for not wanting to invite a ticking time bomb to a special event!!!


more adventures with Ty…

There was the time when I came home from work late one evening (on Thursdays, JJ was open until 8pm) to find Ty completely passed out on the kitchen floor, 2 empty prescription bottles and capsules and yellow pills strewn all over the floor with the inevitable assortment of empty booze bottles.  I could not rouse him, so I went to the corner telephone box (we could not afford a working phone) and called 999.  An ambulance arrived not long after I returned to the house.  They took him to a hospital A & E.  I think I rode along in the ambulance.  Maybe even the coppers came.

I remember when I got to the treatment room where they were working on him I could hear groaning and gross retching.  They let me go in and sure enough they had a red rubber N/G tube down his gullet into which they were no doubt instilling ipecac and or charcoal.  I had brought the pill bottles and later found out it was Valium and Penicillin and Tony had gone to town swallowing as many as he could with ale.  He later told me that he figured if he took lots of Penicillin at one time then he would recover (most likely from a chronic chest infection) quicker!  Now you know and I know that an intelligent man such as Tony (and believe me he was a smart man) would know that taking a fistful of Penicillin at one time, would do nowt.  I know that it was a futile cry for help from a tortured man.  Of course when I told the medical staff what obvious history I knew about this man and that I believed that this was indeed a cry for help, they responded that even though they believed me that was not much they could do to help him as if he wished to he could leave in the morning he was free to do do, which was exactly what he did!  I know that it was not their fault and that it would take a mythical medical team with herculean effort to actually help Tony deal with his demons, not to mention his alcoholism.

There was the time when Ty actually was allowed a 2 day visit at Vic Park with his darling little son Timi, who was about 4 at this time.  I don’t recall how the following all came to be but when I came home from work one afternoon during Timi’s visit, I was met by a couple of coppers who were talking with Ty’s mother.  They asked me if I was Ty’s girlfriend, to which I replied yes!  Tony had been arrested and was in jail for at least the overnight!  I don’t remember what his crime was although it most likely had something to do with drunk and disorderly! ….  and believe it or not, not knowing a thing about me, they asked me if I would be responsible for little Timi!  What could I say, but yes.  So I looked after little Timi until Ty’s return the next afternoon.

He was a very sweet little boy and I thought he perhaps had been witness to his dad’s drunken disorder that day.  Poor little soul!    I had been a paediatric nurse looking after sick babies for a year, but I had never had the total responsibility of caring for a little boy before!  I decided that I would take him to the main local drag, Victoria Park Road, and buy some great nosh and some comics for him.  We went to the local bakery and I told him to pick out whatever cakes he wanted.  This gave me a genuine excuse to pick out some fresh cream tarts that I adored.  We then went to the newsagents and I bought him some comics and sweeties.  I fed him supper of course, we read and then we watched the telly while we munched until he fell asleep.

We got on together very well, even though I was essentially a stranger to him at the start.  Somehow, I got a message I don’t really remember how?  maybe Bill came to the door to tell me??  that I had to meet Ty the next morning with little Timi at Bill’s stall.  I guess he had gotten out of jail and contacted Bill who did have a  home phone.  I remember taking little Timi in a taxi to Petticoat Lane to Bill’s stall to meet Ty (I think Bill must have bailed him out).  The cabby made some comment to me how cute little Ted was and he looked just like me….awww, that was nice and I beamed…

Anyway, I was happy to care for little Timi and felt sad that this dear, little boy had to be witness to ugly, perhaps many, scenes when his father was soused.  He was a real sweety.  I am sure Ty was contrite, but I don’t remember much about that, although he did thank me for looking after his little son.  I also don’t recall the fallout, although I am sure there must have been some, especially from Ivy (and I don’t blame her one little bit)!

my future husband??

London and my future husband…

I was again doing my London thing for the 2nd time in 1975 when Alan and his then live-in love, Amy popped into my jean junction store.  I was in the Oxford St. store closest to Marble Arch then.  Chris P (I think)was the manager (more about him aat (at another time)).

Alan ended up buying a horrible pair of dungarees which cost him £14.99, pretty expensive back then.  He told me years later that he really did not like them, but felt he should buy something because I worked there.  I remember the dungarees were tight (like all the denim that guys and gals wore back then), with flared bottoms in a mid blue wash.  As I was the cashier I was not on commission unlike all the other young souls who worked there.

He asked me if he and Amy could spend a night at my place so they could save money.  I had moved out of Ty’s place  and was  living in a bedsit in Kilbourne.  It was a brutal breakup (for me).  However, I lucked out when I had poured out my heart to Lyn. another cashier. about what a scoundrel my Ty was and she kindly suggested a very viable solution!,  Lyn who was from Wales, lived in this bedsit, but she lived most of the time with her love, another JJ salesman, Zeev, who like me was in my 20’s (I think he was even older than me) and was from Israel.  She suggested that I move in with her and as she would hardly ever be there, it would be like my own place, and it would be helping her out by halving her rent.  It was a win-win situation for both of us and of course I accepted.

Lyn also became a head cashier.  She was such a nice, kind, bubbly gal!!

Lyn also became a head cashier. She was such a nice, kind, bubbly gal!!

Speaking of Lyn’s Israeli boyfriend, JJ, like many other boutiques on Oxford St was staffed by a sort of United Nations.  I met people from France, Italy, USA, Malta, Lebanon, Portugal, just to mention a few countries of origin.
I remember the day I moved into the bedsit.  It was a beautiful summer’s day, Lyn was as usual at Zeevs and I put on my music.  Funnily enough, I have no recollection of how I moved my stuff that day!!  What the day even more delightful was that I had a fresh bottle of codeine linctus (Maat) to make me even happier!    Sad isn’t it, or maybe pathetic is a better description!

Back to Alan and Amy: either I gave them directions and the key, or else they arrived after I had finished work that day.  My bedsit consisted of a big living/dining/sleeping area, a separate kitchen (probably communal) and a communal bathroom and toilet.  Alan and Amy slept in Lyn’s bed, me in mine.  Both were single beds.  I did not hear a peep out of them once they were in bed (thank God)!

The significance of this occurrence is that there was my husband-to-be sleeping with his girlfriend in the same room as me, years before we got together and wed!  Get It?  Aww well…

In the end after 3 or so months, I gave notice to Lyn and moved back in with Ty (no great surprise to me…).  The ending of the story of me and Ty is quite predictable…..(Maat)

1976 – back to reality

When I had returned to Toronto from London in winter, 1976, I had called my friend Diana who still was working at Sick Kids Hospital.  Diana and I had become good friends when I started working at SK after my graduation in 1974.  She like I was single, and we spent more than a few nights in the swingle bars in the mid seventies.  She had her own apartment, car, and really was a lovely human being.  We both worked on xx the infant medical ward, where we nursed babies from newborn to 24 months.  I gained a lot of experience there as our little patients suffered from a wide variety of medical ailments:  congenital heart defects, failure to thrive, seizure disorders, fevers, croup, brain damaged babies in for investigation, acute asthma, cystic fibrosis, liver and kidney dysfunctions, to name but a few disorders.  I had intended to work as a paediatric nurse at Great Ormond Street Hospital, the original Hospital for Sick Children in London.  However when I arrived in London in 1975, I kinda lost my nerve when I discovered that the wages were the pits compared to Toronto standards.  I decided that I would forgo the immense stress and responsibility of paediatric nursing for a less stressful job.  It was one thing labouring for reasonable pay, but not for lower pay.  So I was walking along one of my fave shopping sources, Oxford Street.  I walked into a Jean boutique, (there were loads of them) and asked if there was any jobs going.  I got a job as a cashier at Jean Junction.

That new lifestyle was fab for a while, but living with an alcoholic boyfriend, sinking into different addictions myself to cope with his hellish merry-go-round, plus the fact that I had quit my JJ job, with the intention of joining a temp nursing agency, (which I did, and completed one assignment sadly realizing that I was in no shape to continue this route) and money was becoming non-existent, I had to do something to literally save my life.  Time to go back to my home, structure, a loving family and comforting familiarity.

It was difficult to leave Ty, but I knew that if I stayed I would be sinking into his gutter, & hell, what if I got pregnant!  I was somewhat depressed & still dependent on codeine, but I found my way home with the help of my parents.

[whilst living in London then, I discovered generic Codeine Linctus! cood I had had a bad cold and went to the chemist asking for some cough syrup.  Unfortunately, he sold me a bottle of syrupy yellow, sometimes orange, elixir in a little 200ml bottle.  It worked and it made me feel soo much better.  I realized that it must have contained a walloping amount of codeine!  At first I would buy it once in a while for a nice little float.  One good swig would last about 4 hours.  However, as my life began to unravel with the man whom I adored, I found that I was seeking it out more frequently.  I learned though experience, that the chemist could use his discretion to sell it to whom he deemed a ‘genuine’ customer.  In other words, I found that I could not buy it from the same chemist more than once, if he /she recognized me.  Sometimes on my quest, I could see those bottles on the shelves behind the chemist, & they would say they are out of stock!  So, as addicts so cleverly seek out their poison, I would map out a list of chemists, take the bus or the underground & go looking to buy as many bottles as I could!  These quests often turned out to be unsuccessful, exhausting & added more loathing to my already self-loathing & despairing mind.  Oh such a stupid trap for me to fall into!]

first time ever, i Googled codeine linctus… surprisingly (to me).. it’s still available in the UK! **5mg / 5cc!** no wonder it packed a wallop!!

Luckily for me, back in Toronto, back in my parent’s home, a solid familiar security, I managed to wean myself off the craving for codeine.  The only thing close to the dreaded linctus was Benylin (many sorts) cough syrup.  If I asked the pharmacist for B with codeine, it was sold ‘behind the counter’, I could buy it…. of course no great surprise to me, it only contained a ‘sprinkle’ of narcotic, along with the other medicinal ingredients.  I would probably have to drink half a bottle to feel any codeine & I really had no desire to overdose on dm, or diphenhydrinate, or to compromise my respiratory centre!  Yes, I could still buy asa or acetaminophen with codeine (8mg), again over the counter just like in GB, but I didn’t want stomach ulcers or to ruin my liver!

So gradually feeling more myself, I knew that I had to get working again and become independent.  At 25, I couldn’t live off my parents.  I knew there was a nursing glut in Toronto at that time, so I figured it might take a while for find a position, but at least I would be looking.  so back to dear  Diana who was still working at SK to let her know I was back.  She had actually come to London for a visit when I was living there.  That was a real trip! ( another time).  I was expecting that I would even have some trouble finding a job at Sick Kids.  Diana, however, excitedly informed  me that J the head nurse would love to hear from me, especially as there was a brand new vacancy that she was trying to fill!  I must say that I was somewhat disappointed when J asked me to come in for an interview tout de suite, because I was hoping for a little respite from work!  I got the job, and I guess that I felt flattered, more than deserving, that J wanted me back!  Not because I was not a good nurse, I believe that I was an excellent nurse, more because my self esteem was never the best and J didn’t have to hire me back!  but she did!…so there  [i am not sure this makes sense, but i have had enough of writing just now, i will have to review this later]