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We have reached the year 1990. I broke up with the girl I'd been dating in '89. Or, rather, she broke up with me. It is still hard to say. I was single again, and would remain so for some time.
I got to know myself that year. I was on my own and developed a habit of taking myself out to lunch/brunch every Saturday, especially when the weather was nice. It was my first full year in my new apartment. I continued walking to work every day. Friday nights, after work, many of us would go out after work and hoist a few wobbly pops.
My sister gave birth to her only child, who became my only niece. Hello, Maggie.
I would go on long walks, sometimes at night, sometimes on weekends. I'd read. I'd listen to music. I'd go to movies.
I am pretty sure it was 1990 when I heard a curious story on CBC radio's Maritime Magazine. It bears repeating here. The story that week was about prostitution in Halifax. They interviewed one woman who reported that she had had to quit her job working for a company on Hollis Street because her former clients had recognized her from her days as a working girl. Sad, that.
The curious part of the story is that a woman who worked for my company, a member of the admin team, had recently suddenly left my company with little or no explanation. She just wasn't there any more. And, she sure did sound like the woman who was interviewed on the radio that morning! Had this woman been an ex-hooker who was trying to clean up her life and really had to leave because former clients had been accosting her on the street? Or was she someone else who coincidentally left the company at around the same time? I have no idea. I have never seen or heard tell of this woman ever since. I do not even recall her name. I'm not even sure if I know someone who would know the answer to this mystery.
A woman I worked with, died in 1990. Her name was Sandra Pineo, but I had known her from a few years earlier as Sandra Laskey. She was married to a guy I went to university with and later dated another guy I went to university with. They later divorced, she went back to her married name, and took a job with the company I joined in '88.
She took a leave of absence from this job in late '89 or early '90 and traveled abroad. She contracted a form of meningitis and went into a coma and died. Her mother had to go to that far away land and bring her home. She had her funeral in the Valley and was buried there as well. I was sick with the flu and remained in the city.
As someone later noted, her death was probably the first one most of us at that age had seen, other than perhaps a grandparent or something. It wasn't for me, but it was for most of my co-workers. Sandra had a bright future ahead of her. I'm pretty sure there is still a bursary or a scholarship at Acadia named in her memory. Here is a link to it.
1990 was also the year I met Karen Begin, the raven-haired radio wench working at Magic 97 in Kentville. I met her at Wolfcon in the Winter of 1990, a science fiction convention, much-missed, that originally happened on the Acadia University campus until the Dean of Arts there became so contemptuous of its existence that the con had to move to the Old Orchard Inn in nearby Greenwich. Karen was judging some contest. A mutual friend introduced us.
Months later, I wrote Karen, and she wrote me back. She included her phone number. We talked a number of times. I thought we had hit it off.
Things get murky at this point. She invited me to a Hallowe'en party in Kentville. She then claimed that an ex-boyfriend had come back in her life and wanted to give him another chance. I didn't take the news well. I didn't go on a rampage or anything, but I was pretty upset by the news. I was a lot younger then. I'll leave it at that.
1990 was an interesting year for me. It was a year of loss, of self-discovery, of getting to know the city of Halifax and liking what I saw. I look back fondly on 1990. In retrospect, it wasn't a bad year at all.
Tomorrow, I will discuss 1991. Great highs and lows.
I well remember the Sandra Pineo that you describe, Bev.
Although I'm sure we were distant relatives, my recollection of her actually comes from her high school days. She was a student of mine during my brief teaching career at Central Kings Rural High School. She was a very bright young lady and I remember her passing away as well. Shocking.
You are correct in your reference to the scholarship established in her memory at Acadia.
I used to tease her because my late first wife was also a Sandra. In fact, it became confusing when the scholarship was established. My Sandra worked at Acadia for 15 years and I know that some donations went to the scholarship fund in memory of her!
As I think about it, both of these Sandras were very bright and capable women.
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