Read Time13 Minute, 48 Second

Have you ever put on a sweater, coat or pair of pants that you hadn’t worn in a long time, and found a twenty-dollar bill in the pocket?

Or have you been thinking of someone you hadn’t seen in ages, and then suddenly, your phone rings and that person is on the line?

*******

I walk a lot.

And I used to listen to music while I walked until I realized that I wasn’t noticing or hearing the sounds around me.  I love music and listen to it throughout the day.  But I decided to leave my music at home when I went for walks.  I wanted to become more aware of what was around me.  That was four years ago.

During the current self-isolation and social distancing restrictions, I haven’t been able to walk with my walking club.  And although I still stay in touch with friends on email or by phone, it isn’t the same as seeing them in-person.

Now when I walk, I do a lot of thinking.  I also take a lot of pictures with my cell phone.  And sometimes, a memory will pop into my mind.  Memories are like songs – they take you back to a place in time when you were happy or sad, healthy or sick, alone or in love, rich or poor, etc.

And sometimes, an almost-forgotten memory will suddenly appear when you’re not expecting it, just like an old Beatles tune you hadn’t heard in years.

Last week, I was walking in a nearby forest, when suddenly, I started thinking about my cousin Ruthie.

After my mom died in September 2010, I talked to Ruthie almost every day.  Usually, after I posted a story on my website, Ruthie would contact me and give me her honest opinion.  She lived on the east coast of Canada.

You may recall the story I wrote about her a few years ago.   It was a heartbreaker titled Moonshine in the Maritimes.  I tried to write a conclusion but decided not to because it wouldn’t be believable.

Ruthie passed in November 2016, and I’ve missed her every day since.

R.I.P. Ruthie

So, during that morning walk, I was thinking about Ruthie.

When I got home from my walk, I checked my inbox for messages and got an email from a name I didn’t recognize.  I’ve only known one person by the name Jamie – and that was Jamie Drynan, a friend from elementary school.

But this email was from a Jamie Jelinski.

Dear Daniel,

By way of introduction my name is Jamie Jelinski and I am a postdoctoral fellow at McGill University in Montreal. I am currently completing a book on the history of professional tattooing in Canada and came across your blog post entitled “The Warwick Hotel, Hookers, & Tattoos,” which I read with great interest. I especially appreciated the photos of the tattoos you had acquired and your vivid recollection of the night. 
I have done some research on the tattoo shop you discuss in you article. I am wondering, by chance, if you happen to remember if the fellow working the shop was Asian or Caucasian? I know that there was a Chinese tattooer that worked there around the same time you went but have also heard whispers about a white guy that worked there as well. I’m just trying to sort it all out and was happy to see your article while doing some Googling.
Appreciate any insight.
Best wishes,
Jamie

 Jamie Jelinski, PhD

Fonds de recherche du Québec – Société et culture Postdoctoral Fellow
Department of Art History and Communication Studies
McGill University

I was happy to know that someone reads my stuff – other than my friends or family.

But the story he referenced – The Warwick Hotel, Hookers and Tattoos was written eight years ago, and I had not read it since.

When I re-read the story, I started to cringe in horror.  My grammar and sentence structure were terrible and needed to be edited.

I am embarrassed that someone would be able to read the story and yet be kind enough to compliment me.  So I made some minor edits to the story and posted an accompanying tune from the year 1965.

And then I wrote Jamie a reply.

But before I did, I thought that I should find out if Jamie is a male or female.  Like I mentioned earlier, my childhood friend was named Jamie, and he was a boy.

So, when I Googled his name, I was happy to see that Jamie Jelinski had a website at  www.jamiejelinski.ca

Please take a moment to check Jamie’s credentials.  He has more degrees than a thermometer!  He also has some interesting photos on his website.

I’m flattered that such a learned person would be interested in my story.

So I replied to Jamie.  Here’s what I wrote:

Hi Jamie,

Thank you, for your letter – and I am happy to be able to provide you with what I remember about Sailor Pete’s tattoo shop.  I was there twice in the mid-sixties.  Both times that I was there, I only saw one person and he was a Caucasian.  
At the time, there were very few minorities living in the Oshawa area (where I lived) and if I had seen an Asian – that in itself would have been memorable for me.  So I am certain in my belief that the artist at the tattoo shop was in fact, a Caucasian.
Would you mind if I include an update on my story – by posting your letter on my website?  I can keep your last name confidential if that’s a concern.  
Warm regards,
Danny
Shortly after hitting the send button, something about the tattoo shop dawned on me.  So I sent the following supplement to Jamie:

Hi Jamie,

After sending my previous reply, it dawned on me that it is possible that Sailor Pete’s tattoo shop had more than one employee because I got both of my tattoos at nighttime.  So maybe, the artist that did my tattoos was the guy who worked nights and the Asian person you referred to was working dayshift.
I am more comfortable with the above recollection and believe that it is probably the most accurate assumption.
Regards,
Danny

I was hoping that Jamie would allow me to include his letter.

I got this reply shortly afterward:

Daniel,

Thank you for the prompt, kind, and informative response, I’m very appreciative. 
That’s very interesting to me. I’m wondering if, by chance, the fellow you got tattooed by may have in fact been a “Sailor Pancho”? I have attached a newspaper photo of him in front of the shop here, the business is indeed a basement on Dundas East, early 60s. No address is provided. Maybe you will recognize it, though? 
You’re certainly welcome to include my inquiry on your website, with my name, that’s not a problem. I’m flattered, in fact. 
I have some other photos of the tattooer as well if the newspaper page is too grainy.
Happy Easter, whatever it may mean to you. I hope the pandemic situation has not interrupted your life too much.
Best wishes and thanks again for your engagement,
Jamie
Jamie Jelinski, PhD
Fonds de recherche du Québec – Société et culture Postdoctoral Fellow
Department of Art History and Communication Studies
McGill University

Here’s the attachment that Jamie sent:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1LnVgbodCYRHsQfxpD8PG4aa7Bmjh9qL8/view?usp=sharing

Please follow the link to the September 1961 Toronto Star article about the Tattoo Shop.  I studied the attachment and sent Jamie my reply:

Hi Jamie,

Thanks for your reply and update.  I will definitely be including your letter (edited as per your request) in a new blog that I’ll write later today or tomorrow.  I’ll send you a heads up when I post it on my website.
I enjoyed reading the article about Painless Pancho but I don’t recognize him as the man who gave me my tattoo.  I’m not saying that it wasn’t him – but the image I have in my head is of an older gentleman – balding and I think he may have had a mustache.  However, that is definitely the tattoo shop because you had to walk down the stairs on the outside of the building to gain entrance to his shop.
I also remember the marquee at the front of the hotel had read the rooms were $3.50 for a single room or $5.00 for a double and that all rooms had color televisions.  We only had a black and white tv at home.  But I don’t recall watching much television that night.
Anyway, I won’t repeat what you’ve already read in my journal.  But you’ve made this old guy very happy to know that other people read my stuff.
Warm regards, Jamie!
Hugs,
Danny
One other thing that’s worth mentioning about the Toronto Star article was Painless Pancho’s mention of impending doom.  He was referring to the Cuban Missile Crisis.  It’s funny how reading that article brought back memories of my hometown in Oshawa.
During the missile crisis of 1961, I remember the air raid siren that was installed on a large tower on the grounds of North Simcoe School, where I went to school.
My friends and I suddenly realized how close the world had come to a nuclear war.  I also remember when everyone in Oshawa was warned that they would be testing the air raid siren and not to be worried.  When they set off the siren, it was an abbreviated version but very loud.
But I never mentioned that in my letter to Jamie.  It’s interesting how remembering one thing can lead to other, unrelated memories that suddenly surge to the surface of your mind.
I also began thinking about Ruthie.
At the time I posted the Warwick Hotel story, Ruthie told me that she used to visit the Warwick Hotel with her husband, who was a musician after he performed at another venue.
The Warwick Hotel was a hotspot for jazz and blues.  I imagine it now, as I do another famous hotel in Canada, known for its live entertainment – The Windsor Hotel in Winnipeg.
I glanced down at my laptop.  I had another email from Jamie.

Daniel

That’s really interesting, you have a great memory. If and when I find out more, I’ll definitely be sure to update you. 
Best wishes,
J

Jamie Jelinski, PhD
Fonds de recherche du Québec – Société et culture Postdoctoral Fellow
Department of Art History and Communication Studies
McGill University
But Danny, what the heck does all of this have to do with putting your hand in a pocket and finding twenty bucks?
Relax, Spanky – it’s probably over your head anyway.
Dedicated to Dr. Jamie Jelinski

I hope that my stories are a gift to your head and heart. 

Stay safe. Be well. Laugh often.

Hugs,

Danny

Today’s tune from Danny’s library (purchased):

Tempest – lyrics

The pale moon rose in its glory
Out o’er the Western town
She told a sad, sad story
Of the great ship that went down

T’was the fourteenth day of April
Over the waves she rode
Sailing into tomorrow
To a gilded age foretold

The night was black with starlight
The seas were sharp and clear
Moving through the shadows
The promised hour was near

Lights were holding steady
Gliding over the foam
All the lords and ladies
Heading for their eternal home

The chandeliers were swaying
From the balustrades above
The orchestra was playing
Songs of faded love

The watchman, he lay dreaming
As the ballroom dancers twirled
He dreamed the Titanic was sinking
Into the underworld

Leo took his sketchbook
He was often so inclined
He closed his eyes and painted
The scenery in his mind

Cupid struck his bosom
And broke it with a snap
The closest woman to him
He fell into her lap

He heard a loud commotion
Something sounded wrong
His inner spirit was saying
That he couldn’t stand here long

He staggered to the quarterdeck
No time now to sleep
Water on the quarterdeck
Already three-foot deep

Smoke-stack was leaning sideways
Heavy feet began to pound
He walked into the whirlwind
Sky splitting all around

The ship was going under
The universe had opened wide
The roll was called up yonder
The angels turned aside

Lights down in the hallway
Flickering dim and dull
Dead bodies already floating
In the double bottom hull

The engines then exploded
Propellers they failed to start
The boilers overloaded
The ship’s bow split apart

Passengers were flying
Backward, forward, far and fast
They mumbled, fumbled, and tumbled
Each one more-weary than the last

The veil was torn asunder
‘Tween the hours of twelve and one
No change, no sudden wonder
Could undo what had been done

The watchman lay there dreaming
At forty-five degrees
He dreamed that the Titanic was sinking
Dropping to her knees

Wellington he was sleeping
His bed began to slide
His valiant heart was beating
He pushed the tables aside

Glass of shattered crystal
Lay scattered roundabout
He strapped on both his pistols
How long could he hold out?

His men and his companions
Were nowhere to be seen
In silence there he waited for
Time and space to intervene

The passageway was narrow
There was blackness in the air
He saw every kind of sorrow
Heard voices everywhere

Alarm-bells were ringing
To hold back the swelling tide
Friends and lovers clinging
To each other side by side

Mothers and their daughters
Descending down the stairs
Jumped into the icy waters
Love and pity sent their prayers

The rich man, Mister Astor
Kissed his darling wife
He had no way of knowing
Be the last trip of his life

Calvin, Blake, and Wilson
Gambled in the dark
Not one of them would ever live to
Tell the tale or disembark

Brother rose up ‘gainst brother
In every circumstance
They fought and slaughtered each other
In a deadly dance

They lowered down the lifeboats
From the sinking wreck
There were traitors, there were turncoats
Broken backs and broken necks

The bishop left his cabin
To help all those in need
Turned his eyes up to the heavens
Said, “The poor are yours to feed”

Davey the brothel-keeper
Came out dismissed his girls
Saw the water getting deeper
Saw the changing of his world

Jim Backus smiled
He never learned to swim
Saw the little crippled child
And he gave his seat to him

He saw the starlight shining
Streaming from the East
Death was on the rampage
But his heart was now at peace

They battened down the hatches
But the hatches wouldn’t hold
They drowned upon the staircase
Of brass and polished gold

Leo said to Cleo
I think I’m going mad
But he’d lost his mind already
Whatever mind he had

He tried to block the doorway
To save all those from harm
Blood from an open wound
Pouring down his arm

Petals fell from flowers
‘Til all of them were gone
In the long and dreadful hours
The wizard’s curse played on

The host was pouring brandy
He was going down slow
He stayed right to the end and he
Was the last to go

There were many, many others
Nameless here forever more
They never sailed the ocean
Or left their homes before

The watchman, he lay dreaming
The damage had been done
He dreamed the Titanic was sinking
And he tried to tell someone

The captain, barely breathing
Kneeling at the wheel
Above him and beneath him
Fifty thousand tons of steel

He looked over at his compass
And he gazed into its face
Needle pointing downward
He knew he lost the race

In the dark illumination
He remembered bygone years
He read the Book of Revelation
And he filled his cup with tears

When the Reaper’s task had ended
Sixteen hundred had gone to rest
The good, the bad, the rich, the poor
The loveliest and the best

They waited at the landing
And they tried to understand
But there is no understanding
For the judgment of God’s hand

The news came over the wires
And struck with deadly force
The love had lost its fires
All things had run their course

The watchman he lay dreaming
Of all the things that can be
He dreamed the Titanic was sinking
Into the deep blue sea

Songwriter – Bob Dylan

1 0

About Post Author

Daniel (Danny) St. Andrews

An almost famous Film, Television & Stage Actor (as in almost pregnant) living in Vancouver, BC His other passions include cancer patient advocate (he had stage 3 throat cancer), walking with the Vancouver 'Venturers Walking Club, and of course, spoiling his dog, Holly Golightly. If you like the stuff he writes about - please leave a hug (or a comment).
Happy
Happy
0 %
Sad
Sad
0 %
Excited
Excited
0 %
Sleppy
Sleppy
0 %
Angry
Angry
0 %
Surprise
Surprise
0 %

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: