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June 4, 2011

To the ten-year-old skater girl I saw while out for a cycle – in the very working-class neighbourhood of Pape and Mortimer; with her very long straight blondness, black toque, rad skater pants and shoes, practicing her moves on the sidewalk in front of her house: I have to say you made my day!

I loved the little Canadian Tire-type plastic ramp you were using; I loved the sincerity of your look; and how intensely focussed you were on what you were doing – and (to top it off) the fact that your mom stuck her head out the front screen door (just as I was passing by) to say: “Jamie, your grilled cheese is ready”.

Jamie, I hope the Barbie girls of the world never steal your cool.

And just now, walking down from Riverdale Park, strolling in front of the infamous Don Jail, in front of me a little four or five-year-old girl, holding her mom’s hand as they came out of the Don – visiting someone inside (her father, perhaps). Struggling to keep up with her fast-paced hard-smoking mother, and obviously bewildered as she looked around at all the sights and sounds and hub-bub of East Chinatown.

Holding on to her mother with one hand, and clutching her Barbie to her chest with her other.

May your Barbie be your talisman against all the struggles you will encounter – either inside the Don or out.

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