I feel sorry for my friends on Facebook these days. As Runaway Wives rolls across the prairies, with stops in each of the five cities where those cool women founded the first battered women’s shelters, I’ve been getting more attention than I’m due.
Liane Faulder of the Edmonton Journal wrote an amazingly thoughtful piece from a truly haphazard and random telephone call. I don’t know how she did it. My husband, who heard my rambling side of the conversation, thought she was doomed.
Deborah Bowers wrote a positive book review (first and probably only, knowing how scarce Books Pages and book reviewers are these days) in the Winnipeg Free Press, which was awesome.
And the book launches themselves — in Winnipeg, Toronto and Saskatoon this month — have resulted in a whole lotta pictures of me.
I am thrilled and embarrassed at the same time. They’re either ginormous headshots or me in the same dress. (I have an explanation! I was on the plane to Toronto when I accidentally tipped a glass of tomato juice onto my only pair of pants. I spent an hour trying to sponge it up with teeny little Westjet cocktail napkins, but disembarked with a truly appalling rear end and an eau de gazpacho. Two-minute walk of shame to the closest bathroom and voila! Into my now Official Book-launch Dress.)
Anyway, the highlight in Saskatoon on Saturday was when Lorraine Kenaschuk and Hayven Curd, who started the first women’s shelter in Saskatchewan back in 1973, showed up. They were their usual down-to-earth humble, self-deprecating selves. But I was so glad the crowd could acknowledge them for their work, and their place in history.
Lorraine’s story is at the heart of Runaway Wives.
I’ll never forget interviewing her on a snowy night in Saskatoon, when — after at least a half hour of chatting about her role in establishing of Saskatchewan’s first women’s shelter — she finally divulged that she herself had been in an abusive relationship. For 10 years prior.
And from that awful experience, Lorraine vowed that no other woman should have to endure what she went through. Saskatoon Interval House is still going, and went on to help countless other women establish safe houses in their cities and towns.
And now Saskatoon is creating a subdivision in her name — Kenaschuk Crescent, Kenaschuk Avenue, etc.. Coolest thing ever.
She’s an inspiration. And so are all the other founders I’m getting to see again this year, as we steamroll across the west. It’s a great ride.