Text and image from The Telegram


For 13 years I have gone back and forth between St. John’s and Montreal…between Montreal …and St.John’s. St. John’s and Montreal. And so has Marilyn – the first time we met was in 1989, she’d come into the Continental Cafe in St. John’s between 3 and 5 for toast and tea. We’d let her stay as long as she didn’t make too much ssshh (noise)!…

Then, next trip to Montreal I’m heading for the corner of St. Laurent and Ste Catherine, and who’s out there with her garbage bags asking for a dollar? Now whenever I’m in Montreal she’s there and when I’m in St. John’s she is too. Sometimes it spooks me, I mean, we both had platinum hair for the longest time. She pops up on Water St., Bleury, Duckworth Street, St. Hubert. Sometimes I feel as if she’s a guardian… Marilyn is well-dressed, slim, often in high-heel boots, and rarely a roots problem…

The first time I got handy enough to ask her my BURNING question on her travels, wondering how she got back and forth, she was on Duckworth Street politely asking people “Have ya got a quarter? Have ya got a quarter?” Then some guy walks by and it’s: “You tell your cocksuckin’ whore of a wife ta stop reading my goddamn mail, all RIGHT? It’s an offence!” Then without a beat she’s back to the gentle “Have ya got a quarter?” When I found a space to ask the question, or to say “I can’t help but notice I see you a lot in St. John’s and Montreal; I travel too,” she replied “Oh yes my dear, I loves to travel…”

One fall I thought “I haven’t seen Marilyn in a while” and just before the Belgo Building on Ste Catherine, there she is, kitty-corner across from me, carrying her bags. “Hi, how are you? ” “Do I know you?” (she asks suspiciously). “Yes, I’m from St. John’s, I go back and forth too.” “Oh yes girl. I’m gettin’ some tired of the going back and forth…But here I go to a shelter up the street, it’s nice…Do you live in a shelter?” Then she asks me the burning question : ” How do you get to do it, go back and forth, you got a car I suppose?” “No I take the train or fly. How about you?” (Picking up her bags, Marilyn laughs and indicates with her thumb that she hitchhikes). She later said “Nobody said you had to suck this much cock to get ahead…” Dark places on the road.

Rest in the Light, Dear Marilyn

by Louise Moyes

We’ll learn how Marilyn’s story relates to Louise Moyes’ one-woman show Taking in Strangers, Quebec & Newfoundland Stories when she speaks to Core.  Her show runs from March 17 to 21 at LSPU Hall, Resource Centre for the Arts.  For tickets and information, call 709-753-4531.

For more about Marilyn, read Remembering Marilyn, a downtown light, by Shannon Duff,  which appeared in the Telegram, a local St. John’s newspaper.

Add your comments about this story in the space below:

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