One summer back sometime in the seventies I was visiting my aunts in Etobicoke (yup, just like in Practical Magic). I used to love my visits to spend time with my family in the heat of the summer. My grandmothers house had no air conditioning back then and it was hot, and I mean HOT! You could barely sleep and we often pulled mattresses to the floor of her tiny house so we would be as close to the floor as possible (heat rises) or at least that is why I always thought we would do it.
It was a time of lazing around, reading books, singing and playing guitar, taking road trips and visiting the CNE, going to church ever Sunday morning (an opportunity for another newsletter in the future will be based solely on this... get it... soul-ly), but most of all it was an opportunity for me to visit with my family; both sets of grandparents, my cousins and other aunts and uncles from both sides, my grandmother's sisters and other extended family and I even had a completely different extended set of friends.
Lets see, there was Tony Piccone (that's pick-o-nee. Yup, Tony, that's what they decided to name him), Paul Putka, Gisele (My grandmother's sister who is younger than me by some years) and this other dude that was one of those bully, smart ass types that you see in every movie about kids. The loud mouth that always has to challenge everything you say and do. I'll keep his name out of it and well just call him "that guy". It was a small group of us but we loved to hang out with each other.
Tony WAS Ralph Matcchio... seriously cute and a drummer in the making. Paul Putka was a David Bowie type with blonde hair that made my heart flutter every time, and he just happened to live directly across the street from my grandmother's house. "The Putka's" house was the only other house in the same dead end of the street. He wasn't interested in me much although I do think at one point we had a bit of a go at starting something but it didn't work out. Tony however did win my heart for a little while; a young teenage boyfriend/girlfriend thing but I was flying home at the end of the summer and so, nothing ever became of any of it. "That guy" was, well, just that guy and then my sweet friend and family member Gigi (Giselle) was very sweet and not at all like me, but we loved each other just the same. We both know we are good people no matter that our beliefs are different. We knew it then and we know it now and it's perfectly fine.
On this one particular day, we were all soaking up the sun of the summer and just chilling out in the early evening. This was a time when you could hang out in your neighborhood until the late hours of the night just chucking Frisbees to one another or playing games like hide and seek (which we played with the person that was it under a white sheet that they had to grab the hiding people under and then they were a team looking for other hiding people). We had decided to walk to the convenience store which in our area was not located at a very convenient area. It was a pretty far walk and we used to cut through the creek area to get there. We loved to get these cool orange creamsicle things that had a little plastic stick that had a little figure on the top of it (kind of a prize so to speak).
We somehow got on the topic this one night about magick; Not sure how it began. It was most likely me who started it but that really doesn't matter. What does matter is that "that guy" was pretty ready for a fight on this particular subject and I too was not backing down on this one! I was a believer and honestly, I think at this time in my life, it was the only thing I was really passionate about (I still am).
We had walked through the creek area and were on Mulvey Avenue about to cross Haliburton Avenue and then Burrows which was where my grandmothers house was located in the dead end corner lot. The subject was getting heated and "that guy" was getting pretty demanding that there was no such thing as magick, and if there was, he wanted proof. Proof from me.
Now, in my mind I was a true believer and I had been practicing meditation and visualization with my Dad since I was 8 years old but I could feel the fear that I was going to have to actually perform some sort of magickal act and I wasn't really sure I was going to be able to do it. The doubt was creeping in strong and I was trying to win this argument with what little knowledge I had learned up until this time. He was a good talker and I wasn't. I have dyslexia. Did you know that certain types of dyslexia prevent you from being able to think straight in stressful situations? Well, my type of dyslexia does that exactly. I was trying really hard to come up with some great things to say but my mind was beginning to blur. (as a side note, I had not yet been diagnosed with dyslexia at this time). We were now sitting on my grandmother's front lawn, on the curb, and the others were just listening as "that guy" and I continued this heated conversation. I was trying to make light of it
but he wasn't letting it go. He wanted proof and that was that.
It was fully dark now and the air was warm. A breeze was nowhere to be found and the pavement was still radiating the heat it had absorbed through the long hot summer day. The grass had cooled and we were just far enough away from city lights to really see a million stars. I loved the summer nights at my grandmothers as the crickets sang a lullaby for your mind to get lost in. I realized there was no getting out of this and I was doing to have to conjure something. I had settled my mind on it and was now trying to think about what I could do. Then "that guy" said "If you're able to do magick, why don't you change the sky". I said "Okay, no problem." I WAS joking of course but he wasn't and sat there waiting.
In Harry Potter style (long before Harry Potter), I stood up fully planning to come up with some excuse as to why this did not work when I performed this act of "changing the sky". I mustered my strength and tried to think of great magickal words to utter to my friends. As I began, I made up words that sounded grand and mystical. I had nothing in my hands. I just used my hands themselves to wave into the air as I said my incantation. As I can't recall the words I used I will borrow some from JK Rowlings,
"Expelliarmus Sectumsempra Alohomora" and I ended with the words "Change the Sky... Abracadabra".
As I uttered the word Abracadabra I threw my hands up to the sky with all my fingers splayed and I took a huge lunging step forward with one foot. I said it with conviction and I was, actually trying (and hoping) that this was going to produce something spectacular.
The very moment my words ended and my hands shot to the sky, the sky BROKE! At least that is what we all thought had happened. I can tell you know that it was at this very instant that the Arora Borealis began and coloured lights shot back and forth across the sky. But we as kids, we had never heard of this, nor had we ever seen it with our own eyes.
All my friends thought I had done something magickal and that I had indeed broken the sky. I was hightailing it inside to my grandmother who was puttering in the kitchen. I was half in tears as I was yelling "I broke the sky! I didn't mean to do it!" For those first moments I really believed I had the magick of a wizard. Just like in the movies. I frightened myself with my strength and abilities and I was trying so hard to remember what words I said so I could try to fix what I had done. My grandmother was trying to calm me down and I was pulling her outside and pointing above our heads. My friends were still in shock and staring up at the sky, all but "that guy". He was long gone! Chicken shit!
My grandmother laughed and said to me, "You didn't do that. That is the Arora." and she turned to go back inside to continue her chores in the kitchen. I of course was left standing on the porch disbelieving that I did not do this and had no idea what the Arora was. The fact that my grandmother had said that I did not break the sky did not take away from the awesomeness of the event and I still believed and possibly even do today that I may not have "broken" the sky but it is possible that I just may have encouraged this incredible natural occurrence to take place at that moment, on that day. It was at least written in the stars that on this day, at this time, I would be with friends and in need of a little magick to help others to believe that ANYTHING is possible if you just believe!
For those of you who believe, I wish that you never loose sight of the magic that can exist in your world if you allow it to. And for those of you that read my Newsletters with negativity in your hearts, trolling as you will, I can almost hear you now thinking that this occurrence does not happen in cities and that you need to travel way, way up North to experience them... not true...
Until our next Memoirs of a Hairdresser Monday, I wish that you all have food on your tables and a roof above your heads.
May your hearts remain open and curious.
May you always do research for yourselves and form your own opinions on subjects and topics.
May you always do things with kindness in your hearts and may you continue to stay safe, wash your hands and don't touch your face this winter season.
May you wake up with a smile on your hearts and remember that every day's a bonus.
Many blessings to you and yours!... and yes, I still consider myself a witch... but we will get into that another time.