In the Vancouver of the ‘70s, one of the most interesting streets was 4th Avenue, with its counterculture vibe and hip boutiques, it catered to the young and those who partied with them. It didn’t take long before our crew drifted apart and wound up in Kitsilano close to 4th Avenue.
Many of the large houses in Kits were divided up into flats to house the influx of incomers who many not have been able to afford to rent a whole house but wanted place to call their own in the most happenin’ part of the city. I remember living in basement suite on Balsam Street. Besides the requisite plants and macramé, my suite was also full of people.
As our crew had splintered, other car loads of acquaintances had arrived from Nova Scotia. The two-bedroom basement suite I was living in housed six people. Marie must have been tired one night when she retreated to the bedroom that she shared with two of us other girls. She wanted to get some shut eye and didn’t want us to wake her by bumping into the furniture so she draped a towel over the lamp.
I was sitting at the kitchen table when a tenant from upstairs burst in. He ran into the bedroom. I jumped up trying to figure out what was going on. He ran out of the bedroom, the blazing towel covered lamp in hand, and threw them out our door onto the driveway. I guess smoke travels upwards – good thing that the upstairs tenants were home!