January 15th, 1991

January 15th, 1991

At home, England

Just got off the phone with Lorna, who excitedly confirmed that her wedding date is March 12th, in Bermuda. The plan is to request a work trip with Carl and a few others we did our British Airways training with, which should be very fun! Sadly, I won’t be going with David but I’m not going to dwell on any of that. As Florence has pointed out on more than one occasion, there’s nothing I can do about a guy who prefers guys over girls. Absolutely nothing.

William sent a cassette with some of his favourite music, which I have to say was dreadful and not at all my cup of tea so I won’t be blasting that in the car anytime soon! Along with the cassette was a very, what I’d consider “heavy,” letter. As much as I like William, I think he’s too intense for me but I’ll at least write and say thanks (no thanks, haha!) for the cassette. Besides, the postage from Antigua cost a fortune and as mum would say, “It’s the thought that counts.”


January 14th, 1991

January 14th, 1991

At home, England

As much as I enjoyed Toronto, I came home with a bit of a cold so when I saw mum earlier she insisted I slather my neck and chest in Vicks VapoRub before going to bed and gave me one of her “wee nylon scarves,” to wear. For as long as I can remember, these two things combined have been what mum “swears by,”
to cure a cold or a cough!

I heard through the grapevine that Ben and Mandy are getting married this summer. Ugh! I don’t know why I’m so shocked, they’ve been engaged for over a year but as if that news isn’t dire enough, I also heard they plan on living in this area so the chances of me seeing them will increase. As far as Ben is aware I’m still seeing David, I just couldn’t bring myself to tell him what happened.

A thick envelope arrived from Antigua but between the news of Ben’s upcoming nuptials and feeling poorly, I can’t be bothered to read it. Besides, I don’t imagine there’s anything earth shattering within the pages I need to know.

Hopefully I’ll wake up tomorrow feeling a lot chirpier than I do tonight.


January 8th, 1991

January 8th, 1991

At home, England

Florence came over tonight and surprisingly, we didn’t even finish the bottle of wine she brought.

“There’s too much to talk about, love,” she smiled.

“You can say that again!”

“So, what happened? And I promise I won’t interrupt or ask any questions ‘til you’re done.”

“You’ll never be able to do that,” I laughed.

“Watch me,” she said, with a mischievous wink.

“Ok, so the phone was ringing when I got home yesterday morning and it was, as you know, freezing, so it took me a while to fiddle with the key and get it in the lock, but when I came in, the phone was still ringing, so, I dashed into the living room and picked it up, hoping and don’t hate me for this, hoping it might be Ben to say he was coming to see his parents for the day or something.”

Florence rolled her eyes but didn’t speak.

“I know, I know…Anyway, when I picked up, I said, “Hello?” and the voice said, ‘Do I call you Karen or Madison?’”

Florence’s eyes widened.

“Yup, William! And guess what the first thing I said was?”

Her expression asked, “What?”

“I said, hang on a sec, I have to shut my front door!”

Florence burst out laughing.

“So, I shut the door, dragged my suitcase into the living room and we were on the phone for about two hours!”

Florence’s hands gestured, “And?”

“Obviously he received my epic letter, the one you suggested I send, explaining, for example, the fact I don’t actually work for Vogue or live in New York. And that my name is actually Karen and not Madison Frazer!”

Florence shook her head, as I continued. “Let’s see, oh yeah, so he asked when I’m going back to Antigua and I said Millie had suggested we try and get the fourteen day trip again but when I said that he got a bit quiet so either he isn’t interested in me being there that long or he doesn’t like Millie much.”

Florence’s expression led me to believe it was the latter.

“I know she can be a bit of a pill sometimes and looking back she wasn’t particularly nice to him so we’ll see but for now we agreed to keep in touch and I told him what you said about showing up on my doorstep and he said ‘don’t’ give me ideas.’ I mean, can you imagine if he did? That would be absolutely mental. Anyway, that’s it! You can talk now. Say something!” I urged.

“I don’t know what to say,” she laughed.

“You’re never at a loss for words.”

“So, you’re going to keep in touch and see how things go?”

“Yes, but to be honest with you after what happened with David I’m in no rush to get involved with anyone, let alone someone who once again lives thousands of miles away.”

“This is different though.”

“How so?” I asked.

“Well for a start, William’s only stationed in Antigua, so at some point I imagine he’ll probably go back to the States.”

“Oh yes, he did mention that. He should be back in the States within the next six months or so.”

“Does he know where?”

“Not yet but I’m hoping LA!”

She chuckled. “You need to stay away from there!”

I sighed. “I know but I still think about David. I wonder if he came out to his family.”

“Well let’s hope if he did, it was a good experience.”

I hope so.




The Diary

The Diary

For as long as I can remember, I’ve kept a diary. The first one was a Christmas gift from my Nana when I was eight. It was the one with the little key, remember those? That flimsy, metal key made me feel like I was locking away all of my secrets.  Of course, anyone could’ve opened it had they wanted to, but there was something about the key that made me feel everything in the pages was “mine.”

As an only child I didn’t hear, “You know when Katie was your age,” nor did I have a brother to torture me and toughen me up. No, it was just me. And my diary.

At the end of the day, I loved filling the pages with stories about school and friends, who was wearing what and, more importantly, which boys we were interested in.

Fast forward thirty-five years, where I’m in the basement of our house, with my teenage son. He’s doing something on his phone and I’m rifling through my mum’s old steamer trunk, filled to the brim with what I like to call, “my treasure.”

I’m looking for…, well to be honest, I don’t know what I’m looking for. A few months prior, my Father had passed away suddenly in Scotland and I think I was looking for something to remind me of him. An old card, a letter he wrote, a photograph, something, anything that might bring me a little comfort in this time of sorrow.

“Who are those presents for?” My son asked.
“They’re not presents.”

He gave me a questioning look

“They’re my old diaries.”

“Why are they wrapped like presents?”

“I don’t know,” I said, shaking my head. “It’s just something I started doing a long time ago.

At the end of the year, when the diary was filled, I’d wrap it up and put it away.”

“Can we open them?”

“No! Absolutely not!” I said, slamming the lid shut.

“Sorry,” he uttered, clearly sensing my discomfort.

The next morning, I found myself back in the basement, where I opened the trunk and grabbed one of the diaries. Just seeing the paper it was wrapped in took me back to when and where I bought it. I carefully peeled back the tape ( it really was wrapped like a present) and took out the diary. The year was 1989.

With my interest piqued, I took the diary upstairs and made a cup of tea. I expected to read a few pages but once I started reading, I got carried away and before I knew it, I was at the end of February and my tea was stone cold.

Each page transported me back to life as a young woman, finding my way, but at the same time, I recognized so much of the person I still am, which took me by surprise. I read all the way to August and only stopped because I had to go to work!

That night, I finished reading about my life in 1989, much of which I hadn’t thought about since then. As well as chuckling over my youthful shenanigans (of which there were plenty) I found myself crying at the memory of how painful it’d been to lose my Nana and other stuff, mostly love related, that had made me sad. I rewrapped the diary, put it back in the trunk and went to bed.

The minute I closed my eyes, my mind began to race;

What if the basement floods?

What if there’s a fire?

How would I feel if all those diaries filled with all those words about all those people I loved were lost?

Because I was still grieving my Father’s passing, the word “loss” didn’t sit well with me, so,

the next morning, I unwrapped 1989 (again!) and began the painstaking task of transcribing each day. It took months to type the entire year of pages, but when I was done, it seemed only natural to continue, with 1990.

I was now dedicating the majority of my time to this project and when friends asked what I was doing, I told them I was writing. Some asked if they could read my “stuff,” and my first reaction was similar to that of when my son had asked the same question. Absolutely not!

In the meantime, I’d also written a play titled, “A Leg Up,” with two other women. The play was very well received and with that newfound confidence, I sent some of my favourite snippets of the diary to several friends.

Much to my surprise, my friends said they loved it and expressed an interest in reading more. They said the diary reminded them of their youth and that they could relate to it in so many ways. They also used a word I love; “Hooked.” They said they were hooked.

Hearing that was enough to give me the confidence to share more so I created some social media accounts and decided I’d start posting on January 1st, 2016. I spent the days prior talking myself in and out of doing so, but somewhere inside, I knew the time had come to throw away that flimsy little key.

My favourite night of the year has always been New Year’s Eve and on that night, 2015, I was home, sitting by the fire with my laptop, ready to go. I’ll never forget the tremble in my hand, when, just after midnight, I hit the button to upload the first post. My first instinct was to immediately delete it and scrap the whole thing but in my head, I heard my Dad telling me not to.

“It’ll be fine,” I heard him say.
He was right.

Big, huge, thanks!


Thank you to all who read, followed and liked Miss McGarr’s Diary. I started posting two years ago and have been amazed at the response to my diaries from life in 1989 and 1990.

Posting daily has been a labour of love and as most of you know, seriously time consuming so my blog will now focus on other writing projects.

Wishing you all a Happy New Year and again, THANK YOU!