The Conditions Necessary for Revolution

Ella can’t be bought with Cracker Jacks and Coke. Itching in her woollen tights and longing to peel them off, unbuckle her Lady Oxfords and throw the whole lot of Sunday clothes down down down on the conductor’s head, she refuses to touch Mother’s peace offerings.

“Go ahead, have some,” Mother says.

“I don’t feel like it.”

“There will be consequences if I hear any L, A & S,” Mother says.

She is talking about Lip, Attitude and Sass. According to Mother and the members of the fur coat club—Ella’s private term for the Ladies’ Church Auxiliary—L, A & S threaten western civilization no less than communism and atheism, combined.

Down on the stage, the first violinists are warming up. They sound like ten cats in heat. Ella refuses to look at Mother. She contemplates the conditions necessary for revolution. They are all present in her life.

First of all, there is struggle. Before the sun rose this very morning, Mother had placed her alarm clock—ringing like an overcaffeinated town crier—directly on Ella’s pillow.

Published in TOK: Writing the New Toronto, Book 2. Purchase the book to read the full piece.

Toronto locations referenced in this piece

“Church was bad enough. But being taken straight to Massey Hall and imprisoned in Seat 6, Row C, Second Balcony will drive Ella over the top . . . ” —Massey Hall