Erin's Journals

Thursday, May 26, 2022

Just a thought… Sunshine is said to be the best of disinfectants. [Louis D. Brandeis]

As always, you can watch a video version of this journal on my Facebook page, or here on YouTube.

Where to begin? What a week! From all of the emotions here in our home about a seismic revelation in Toronto radio to yet another horrific, senseless shooting in the US – this one of children about the same age as our beloved Colin. I have no words, because there are none. Until action is taken, they’re just words and they’re worthless.

We’re not blameless in Canada. There are murders and tragedies and hate crimes and insane people fuelled by nothing but bigotry and the darkest of intentions. But please, for the love of our children, don’t allow politicians and other people who feel they need more “freedoms” here, in one of the world’s freest countries by official and any rankings, any oxygen. We do not need more guns, better access and fewer regulations and steps. Just, NO.

Plenty of our systems are in need of repair, but this week, one is starting to see at least the illusion of change. I’m talking about the industry that gave me my life, my husband and, eventually, our daughter, and everything that we have: radio.

You’ve undoubtedly seen the fallout from the Jennifer Valentyne video I linked you to here on Tuesday. The man to whom she referred, John Derringer, has been suspended pending an investigation of allegations; any trace of him is gone from the Q107 website.

I had the opportunity to do an interview with The Canadian Press yesterday. I could write a book about the behind-the-scenes garbage that went on – and goes on – in radio to this day, but I had just a few minutes to talk about my experiences.

In that brief time, I said repeatedly that I’m in awe of Jenn’s courage in coming forth with this complaint to the Human Rights Commission and even opening this discussion. And of my CHFI successor, Maureen Holloway, as well as Andrea Rooz and Jacqui Delaney – all powerful women in their own right – and countless others (including men) who have added their voices to the outrage this week about how this 2,000 pound gorilla allegedly had his way with the people around him for over 5,000 shows. “Why?” people ask. “Why did it go on for so long?” It’s SO simple: he made the company money. A lot of it.

Countless women have written to me this week and shared their own stories of discrimination in all walks of life: of not being listened to or told not to upset the applecart. Until two decades ago, that was my job: shut up, do the show and don’t make waves.

Well, the waves are here and it’s a tsunami. I like to imagine there are a lot of people these days nervously thinking, I wonder if my name will come up. The good and decent ones – managers and talent alike – have not lost any sleep. The rest? Well, they should ask themselves why it is that when chickens come home to roost, they’re never good chickens?

We’re not chicken anymore.

I’ll be back with a journal on Monday. Thanks for sharing this with me, as you have so many momentous events in this life. I’m grateful. And I’m really REALLY grateful to Jennifer Valentyne.

Rob WhiteheadThursday, May 26, 2022
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Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Just a thought… What you think of me is none of my business. [Anonymous, but I first saw it in a magazine interview with Dini Petty]

You can watch a video version of this journal on my Facebook page, or here on YouTube.

Today, May 24th: a love letter. No, not to Queen Victoria, although it could be if you had a good long weekend. Looks like a lot of people in Ontario and Quebec did not, thanks to some very wicked weather. I do hope you fared okay.

No, my love letter is to this guy.

Michael S. Cooper (self-professed “blond-haired, blue-eyed Adonis of the airwaves”) today turns 70 years old. He won’t mind me saying that I’m sure, but I’ll find out when I see him this weekend. I can’t wait!

I was mentioning Mike on social media the past few days because of something that came up that you’re likely to be hearing a lot about. Oh, I sure hope so. A piece posted by Jennifer Valentyne, our friend formerly of Breakfast Television and then all-too-brief stints on the morning show on Q107 and then Global TV in Toronto.

Jenn’s story – which is a big one – is not mine to tell, but it happened to more women than you can imagine at the hands and mouth of this man; stories that are coming out now but have only previously been shared with a therapist or on a tear-stained shoulder. You can find Jenn’s story here or just Google ‘Jennifer Valentyne news.’ It’s a long bit of video by today’s attention span standards, but well worth watching.

I admire Jenn’s courage more than I can say. There’s a very good chance she worried this would put a cap on her career as the people who might hire her will see she’s been a “troublemaker.” It’s exactly why I stayed quiet through so many incidents early in my career and many still do. Because this is still going on.

So how does Mike Cooper tie in with this? When the person of whom Jenn is speaking came after me, relentlessly, cruelly, for years and years on the radio, I was lucky to be shielded from it; most of his barbs I never heard about. (Obviously before most of social media.) But I’ve received a heartfelt apology from a woman, who worked with him at the time, for not standing up for me. How could she? She needed that job. It’s what the bullies always count on.

In Kelowna last week, I met up with my cousin Cliff, whom I hadn’t seen in 30 years and who lived in the GTA. He listened to Q and asked me what was going on all those years between me and Derringer. I told Cliff, in all honesty, I had no idea and couldn’t even tell you what he had said. Cliff responded that I was lucky to have been shielded. I guess I took to heart the saying above.

But Mike Cooper heard about those comments. This guy looked up to Cooper. And I don’t know if he listened when Mike told him to knock it off, but I’ve always loved Mike and admired him for that. Same as when Ian “The General” went toe-to-toe with one of the bully’s on-air gang. I sure couldn’t defend myself. And I’m actually very nervous today even telling you about this. His minions will come after me on social media because they count on me not fighting back.

Mike is a friend you would want to have. Someone who will make you laugh ’til you pee (and somewhere there’s an elevator at a Disney World hotel that will attest to that, I’m afraid), be there when you are at your deepest low and proudly celebrate you when you’re at the highest pinnacle. You couldn’t wish for a better friend and I’ll never get over the gift that working with him for the final happy chapter in my career, was to me and to Rob.

Here’s the best part: we get to spend an entire week with Mike starting Sunday when we host a river cruise together for AMA Waterways along the Rhine. We’ll pick up where we left off, with a great big kiss, and a whole bunch of talking.

Will we be discussing Jenn’s revelations and the floodgates they opened? Oh, you know we will. As a lot of people will be, too, this week.

But most of all, I’ll be expressing again and again my gratitude for his friendship, his loyalty, his love and his just being here. Oh, it’s gonna be fun.

Happy Birthday, Mike Cooper. You’re not just one of the good ones, you’re simply The Best.

Rob WhiteheadTuesday, May 24, 2022
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Thursday, May 19, 2022

You can watch a video version of this journal on my Facebook page, or here on YouTube.
 
Here I am in another hotel room, this time in West Kelowna, overlooking the beautiful Home Depot.
 
 
Yeah, it’s pretty darned nice. You pay extra for this view.
 
Well, I ought to tell you that I feel about 200 pounds lighter than I did on Monday. Just getting here and spending time with my sisters and seeing Dad did it. Honestly, we didn’t know what condition he was going to be in. You probably know he was in the hospital for 13 days, practically speaking in tongues while he was there, with an infection complicated by Covid. And we really thought that it might be the end.
 
But yesterday we took him out for a milkshake at a restaurant that’s very big in the west called White Spot. Here he is.
 
 
Yeah, he’s lost some weight, but he is still his very funny self. And we had just the best time.
 
So today we’re on our way back over the Coquihalla to Abbotsford, where we’ll spend the night. Tomorrow afternoon we’ll be on a very full ferry going back to Vancouver Island because, of course, it’s the beginning of a long weekend.
 
So don’t let me get in the way of you starting your long weekend. I’ll be back with a journal, not on Monday because, you know, Victoria Day, and I’m in Victoria so it’s really a holiday! 
 
Thank you so much for stopping by and I’ll talk to you on Tuesday. 
Rob WhiteheadThursday, May 19, 2022
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Monday, May 16, 2022

Just a thought… Later in life, children are often reluctant for a host of reasons to assume responsibility over their parents, a reversal of roles that symbolizes mortality. [Caroline Fraser]

You can watch a video version of this journal on my Facebook page, or here on YouTube.

Good morning – and welcome in. Today Rob and I are on the road again (and the water) as we board a ferry to the mainland and make the five-hour trip over to the interior to visit my dad.

Before I tell you more, let me give you some insight into what airline tickets are here these days: a one-hour flight to Kelowna, or three hours with a stop in Calgary or Vancouver, was going to cost us 900 dollars. One way. Per person. So since it may be early where you’re watching this, I’ll do the math: add in a rental car and before hotel and we’re talking at least $4000. To get from here to Kelowna.

So, yeah, it made the ferry costs, hotels and even gas at $2.40 a litre for the SUV (albeit hybrid) a heck of a lot cheaper than flying. Yes, there are cheaper flights if you have the weeks in advance to book. In this case, we didn’t, but we’ll make a point of it in future if we decide we’d rather not drive. And we’ll hopefully be avoiding many of the parts of the Trans Canada that were washed out in last year’s horrific floods in the BC interior.

So, after 12 days in hospital, Dad is back in his own bed in his retirement residence – a bed to which we’ve added rails for safety at the hospital’s insistence. Dad likens it to being in a rodeo just to get around the gates, or to his days of calling square dances where you had to “swing around the promenade.” But he’s adjusting.

Dad is far from recovered in terms of his mental state after a wicked infection and then Covid on top of that. But I’ll join the team of Davis daughters in sussing things out, and seeing what we think the future might look like. I’ve brought paper and markers and tape to put signs up to remind him of things, and we’ll see just what else we can do while we wait and learn just how much of his mind returns, and deal with the possibilities if it does not.

Dad has not lost his sense of humour, thank goodness: he’s getting a little concerned about the frequency of these visits and asked sister Les the other day, “Is there something terminal I should be worried about?” Yep – that’s Dad.

I’m so grateful to be seeing him again; to have a week that’s open enough that we can go. Of course, as he turns 89 in less than a month, every visit is more meaningful than the last.

As we are reminded by news from around the world, as in Ukraine, and closer to home, amidst the devastation and heartbreak in Buffalo, no sunrise – no loved one – is to be taken for granted.

I’ll sign off for today and promise you that on Thursday there will be a journal of the scenic variety. And, of course, because we all have trouble sleeping some nights, there WILL be a new Drift story for you tomorrow, one that has a royal taste to it, since it’s the Victoria Day weekend ahead and it’s called Son of Seven Queens. You’ll find it here after 6 pm ET Tuesday.

Be well and we’ll talk to you here on Thursday, hotel internet permitting.

Rob WhiteheadMonday, May 16, 2022
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Thursday, May 12, 2022

With your gentle permission and understanding, I’m going to take the rest of this week as one to rest my mind and be back with a new journal and video journal for you on Monday.

Some good news though: my father’s nurses Wednesday night said he was doing well, making jokes and a “total sweetheart” so it sounds like dear ol’ Dad is on the mend and possibly on his way home.

Take good care and I’ll be back here after the weekend. In the meantime, I post daily at www.facebook.com/erindavispage.

And thank you.

Hugs, E.

Rob WhiteheadThursday, May 12, 2022
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