Friday, March 30, 2012

A Biggie!

Back in early high school, I suddenly had several friends named "Mike" along with a little brother and a grandfather with the name.  Nicknames were created to make our lives easier.  My brother already had a nickname (I won't repeat it here, LOL).  The "acts like a 4 year old, not a 14 year old" became Mikey.  The drummer in the band became Boom-Boom.

Boom-Boom and I became friends in 10th grade, I think once I joined the stage band and got to sit in front of the drums.  We had loads of fun in band, on the band trips, and doing crazy things like skipping school and going to see Beatles cover bands in Toronto for the 20th anniversary of Sargent Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band album release.  He started dating the girl beside me in band, and in later years my (now EX) boyfriend from then became one of his best friends.  We were all a pretty tight knit group of friends, some from the band, some from the AV crew, some just "band buddies". 

Boom-Boom wasn't allowed to come on our grade 12 (1989) band trip (high school went to grade 13/OAC back then).  Something about missing too many rehearsals, or his grades, I don't know.  We missed him on the trip, and were terribly upset when a call came to his girlfriend that he had been hit by a car while trying to help her sister with her car on the side of a road.  It was a very serious situation and we all felt helpless, being several provinces away.  His injuries were extensive, and the road to recovery was long.  I don't even remember if he made it back to school before the end of the next year (I was dealing with my own crap and feel horrible that I sort of checked out my friends lives).  I do remember that Boom-Boom had wanted to be a police officer and it appeared that was now out of the question.

I left for university, broke up with my ex, and lost touch with all my friends when my new (now also an EX) boyfriend disapproved of my friends.  He had known them too in high school but he wasn't very social.  Through my brother (also best friends with the first ex), we knew Boom Boom had gone into the radio business and I heard he was "up North" in New Liskard.  I had spent a year in North Bay, just a little bit south, but I don't think our times co-ordinated up there (and I didn't hear about this until later).  He wasn't at my brother's wedding in 1997, and there didn't seem to be a way back then to find people easily.  But when Facebook came about, Boom Boom was one of my first friends!  (Thank you for having a not-common last name to go with your very common first name!).  He was working at a radio station (DJ and music director?) about 30 minutes from where we had lived, but of course, I had moved 1 1/2 hours away from home.  Then, almost 3 years we moved back here, and he came out to one of my concerts.  I was able to convince him to join our band for a brief period, but it wasn't very practical for him.  Then he suddenly (LOL) was working in another city fairly close by, in the same mall where my cousin was taking a college course.  We had double dated back in high school, and they seemed to maintain a good friendship.

All of a sudden though, I heard that Boom-Boom had "gone North" and also was in Police College.  What?!  The police college isn't up north (although there is a location at the gateway to "the north"). 

What's this got to do with knitting?  Hold on!  Remember all the stuff I made for the school board's clothing drive for northern First Nations communities?  I posted about it on Facebook, and Boom Boom happened to be on line somehow and mentioned making sure some of the items made it to his new community, let's call it Willow Bluff.  Off to Google that, and Wow!  He really was "up North"!  His new home, where he is working as an OPP officer, is remote!  Take a look at Google Maps and see where Ontario and Manitoba meets and zoom in, and look north of Woodland Caribou Provincial Park.  He's north of there by a bit.  There is a "winter road" but no summer road access.  They hydro is provided by diesel generators, and the fuel must be brought in during the winter, for the rest of the year.  I think the population is about 340.  Think about what that means.  I'm used to living frugally, but I have the luxury of Freecycle, several thrift shops in town, etc.  If my kids have a growth spurt, I can still head out to the Salvation Army shop.  If I run out of milk at 11pm, I can go to the 24 hour grocery store.  Etc.  If I have a parenting issue, there's help just up the street through Children's Aid.  If the truck runs out of gas, it's only 4 blocks to the gas station.

I couldn't control where the items I sent to the school ended up.  But I could send my own donation straight to Boom Boom!

I got knitting again right away.  Since I was limited by the fact I'd have to mail these items myself, I didn't make as much as I would have liked (and I wanted the items to get there while they still had a road, and still needed winter items).
 There was another pair of mitts that I added after this photo.  Not all of these items were made specifically for donation--the blue mitts, the largest cocoon, the brown hat on the top right, were either gently used or in the "gift box".  I made 15 hats, 3 scarves, 3 cocoons, and one pair of double mitts.  I had to squish everything into two boxes that I had, and it ended up costing about $50 to ship up north. 
I was thrilled to get a phone call from Boom-Boom telling me everything got there safely (and pretty quickly too!).  He sent me this picture of the band council members and him.  I have a few more items I hope he can take back up with him, as he's down here right now.  If anyone else is interested in donating items (knitted or otherwise), you can leave me a comment and I'll get back to you (leave an email address).
I really enjoy making things for donation.  And I REALLY enjoy doing it when I have some connection with where it's going, or the organization, etc.  I hope to hear more about Boom-Boom's new home/life in the next 10 days while he's here and I really encourage all of you to make something to donate SOMEWHERE. 

Yarn In:  10566gr
Yarn Out:  2416gr + 6162gr = 8578gr
Balance:  1988gr more In than Out
Costs:  $177.48/93 days = $1.91/day

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