OPENING NOTES

BARBARA WICKENS April 17 1995

OPENING NOTES

BARBARA WICKENS April 17 1995

OPENING NOTES

FASHION FAUX PAS

Happy days. Fashion is dictating a return to the 1950s. This spring's retro look is proper, pretty and ladylike, with knee-length hemlines, high heels and curve-enforcing girdles. But there is an ironic twist in the '50s flashback-what was once considered a fashion faux pas is now chic. The rules used to be clear-only frumps would leave bobby pins in their hair, only tarts would wear satin in daytime and nobody would wear socks with spike heels. But "there are no rules now," says lona Monahan, fashion editor at the Montreal Gazette, who reports that last week she saw a runway model with 30 or 40 glittering bobby pins in her hair. "They looked kind of cute," she added, "and kind of silly." While some women will share Monahan's ambivalence to what she calls "hooker fashion," others may be swayed by the low cost. Notes the longtime fashion journalist: "Everybody can afford the tacky touches."

THE BRATS' LAMENT

p eople who grew up as "mili tary brats"-those whose par ents' position in the army, air force or navy required them to move from base to base in Canada and Eu rope-were perpetually the new kids on the block. That often result ed in feelings of isolation, rootless ness and being different. But now, through the Internet, they can com municate with those who had simi lar childhoods. David Eadie, 42, whose father was in the air force, has set up the bulletin board can. military-brats. `They didn't just grow up brats, the attitudes pre vail," says the Ottawa-based Eadie,

now a communications consultant. With 500,000 Canadians having been raised in military households, he says their experiences are a vast untapped source of information about a group with a true social affinity. About 350 fellow brats have contacted the news group since Eadie established it in February, many trying to contact lost friends. Others were just yearning to hear from those who perceive the same mysterious wall between them selves and society. "We didn't know we were different until we hit civvy street," says Eadie. Birds of a feather log on together.

OFFERING SAGE ADVICE

A white straw Stetson sits on his head. A pair of thin midnight-black braids tied with strips of beaded leather flow past either shoulder. For the past two years, Wilfred (Wilf) Peltier, an Odawa Indian, has been a "resident elder" at Ottawa's Carleton University, providing spiritual guidance to hundreds of students. No appointment is necessary to see Pettier, 68, who likes to tell visitors that he is as old as his little fin gerand a little older than his teeth, which have all fallen out. Those seeking sage coun sel need only drop by his cramped campus office, where the elder, who previously was a scholar in residence at the school, never tires of telling stones: from traditional myths featunng native heroes to down-to-earth feel-good fables. And his discussions range from sex to spirituality. "It's wide open," says Pettier. "The laughter, the energy and spiritual medicine." And Pettier's popularity extends well beyond Carleton's abo riginal population to students of all races. "More universities should have people like Wilf," says 24-year-old anthropology major Jason Throop. "He listens and treats everyone as an important person." A true case of native intelligence.

STAND-INS

When actor Dan Aykroyd arrived in Toronto last year to film Getting Away With Murder, who did the former Jhostbuster call to find lodgings for his crew? fhe answer: real estate agent Marilyn Rothman,

who offers a line of luxury, longand short-term rentals—the kind of homes that go for up to $25,000 a month. The source of these palatial digs tends to be wealthy retirees who are travelling for a few months, or executives shifted out of Toronto for a few years. Rothman has specialized in renting luxury homes for 18 years, but her focus was corporate relocations. However, that has changed in the past three years with the booming Toronto film industry now providing about 15 per cent of her clientele. While the stars are a demanding crowd, their hearty party appetites appear to be exaggerated. Rothman says that she has not yet had a request for a house with a bar, dance floor or disco ball. “Anyone wrapping up a 12to 14-hour day of shooting wants to retreat to a restful, relaxed setting,” she explains. William Hurt, for instance, wanted a home with a swimming pool in a tranquil neighborhood. With Hollywood film companies continuing to look north—thanks to the low Canadian dollar and solid technical support—Rothman sees the star-studded business continuing to grow. Her next challenge: finding living quarters for crew and cast of Norman Jewison’s newest film, Bogus, starring Gérard Depardieu and Whoopi Goldberg. Auditions start this week.

IABULATING ANCIENT SCORES

:leet Street has seldom been known to mince its vords—and the Canada-Spain fish war provides no exception. The British newspapers have derided the ictions of the Spanish fleet, while clearly siding with yanada in its attempts to curb overfishing in the sections of the Grand Banks outside Canadian waers. In case any readers were left undecided about vhich side to support in the transatlantic dispute, he Daily Mail even ran a cutout guide to “tell vho your real friends are.” Some examples rom the article, “Spot the difference”;

CANADIANS are our cousins: we have )lood ties as well as those of history, language and ace. Eight of their first 10 prime ministers had Scottish names, generally beginning with “Mac.”

(VE HAVE nothing in common with the Spanish: no >lood ties, no shared history, language or race.

^T SEA: John Cabot, sailing from Bristol in May, 497, under instructions from Henry VII, reached

WORD FOR WORD

Cape Breton Island and since then we have had nearly five and a half centuries of amity, concord and mutual respect.

AT SEA: We should not be surprised at the antics of Spanish fishermen, for they fit in neatly with the whole thrust of Spanish maritime history. As well as the Spanish Armada, which was defeated in August 1588, two other armadas, in 1597 and 1599, were scattered by storms.

WARTIME: Canada declared war the same day as Britain in the First World War. On August 23,1939, Mackenzie King, the Canadian prime minister, said: “We will stand by her [Britain’s] side.” Canada was as good as her word.

WARTIME: In the First World War, Spain was neutral. Between 1939 and 1945, Spain was officially neutral.

Edited by BARBARA WICKENS