|FLAT BROKE; JUST HITCHED FROM VANCOUVER|
©1993 CITY OF TORONTO ARCHIVES
A few years ago, I wrote a story entitled Flat Broke: Just Hitched From Vancouver. It was about the black and white photograph Ivaan took in 1993 of a young woman playing the flute in a downtown doorway. Her cardboard sign read: "Just hitched from Vancouver. Flat broke."
Ten years after he took the photo, he ran into the same young woman, now married with children. She inquired about the photo, and he said he'd saved her an enlargement. He invited her to come by his studio on Queen Street and pick it up. Three days later, Ivaan suffered a massive stroke. While he was in the hospital, the building in which his studio was located was sold, and we had to pack up the contents and move to a new location. Ivaan's partner Tamas was packing up when the young woman came by to collect her photo. Tamas knew nothing about it, and the young woman went away, very disappointed, not leaving her contact information.
Before he died, Ivaan asked me not to give up on finding the young woman and giving her the enlargement he'd been saving for her.
Last month, I learned that LabSpace Studio was preparing a video installation, entitled The Things We Lose, to be displayed on 292 video
monitors on TTC subway platforms throughout the month of October. They were soliciting stories about things people lose and never regain - not just physical items, but experiences and life events. I decided to apply to participate, as I felt Ivaan and I had lost the opportunity to give this photo to the young woman. Happily, my submission was accepted.
A few days later, Laura Mendes and John Loerchner, the owners of LabSpace Studio, came over and filmed me telling my story.
If you are in a TTC subway station during the month of October, look up at one of the video screens. Who knows? Maybe you'll see my video. And - who knows? - maybe someone who knows this young woman (she'd be about 40 now) will see it and tell her I've got the photo for her.