the early years the friends the family the mom the wife the TV producer the ham the driver

I first saw Broph at a school bus stop on a blustery fall day in Beaconsfield Quebec, a typical 60’s suburb on the West Island of Montreal. My family had just moved from Burlington and it was the first day of grade two. “New kid…” I heard her mutter under her breath as she nudged a friend and gazed at me.

We were destined to be friends throughout elementary school because we were both so darn smart. You see the Quebec school board liked to keep all of the smart kids in one class - the ‘A’ class. Not as smart kids were in the ‘B’ class and so on… can you spot the 10 year old budding genius in this Grade 5A picture?

Hint… can you spot those lovely Brophey legs…?
She’s fourth from the left, front row (that’s me just left of her). Notice how disheveled and self-conscious she seems having her picture taken…
how were we to know that this would dramatically change through the course of Broph’s life…

 

I don’t remember exactly when I started calling her ‘Broph’ but it was out of necessity since there were 3 other ‘Susans’ in our group of friends plus my sister, Susan.

Growing up together, Broph and I remained steadfast friends experiencing all of life’s “ups”- our dogs, weekends when my sister babysat Brophey girls, music, scary movies at the mini-theatre - and “downs” – Girl Guide camp, Rowdy’s adoption, Randy’s death, spiders (still a downer for Broph). Before we knew it we were in high school. The fact that both of our last names began with ‘B’ ensured we were always in the same homeroom. Our high school got really radical one year and offered homerooms based on student interest. Broph and I were quick to sign up for ‘guitar’ homeroom. We started taking lessons and soon were part of a group called The Islanders. A group of 13 girls in short skirts with acoustic guitars playing calypso and folk music. Hey, there was a market for it… car shows and church coffee houses couldn’t get enough of us.

I believe that this was the start of Broph’s foray into the entertainment business. Can you spot the young songbird?


(Lovely Brophey legs mostly hidden)

After a year or so, 'The Islanders' morphed into 'The Crossroads'. We dropped a few girls and added a couple of guys with electric guitars, and as you can imagine the dynamics of the group changed drastically. We also dropped the calypso music and concentrated exclusively on 'folk ' and 'folk-rock'. We even made it onto TV a couple of times and even then, you could see it in Broph's eyes- she was star-struck.

In 1970 after a run-in with the FLQ, the Bropheys were driven out of Quebec and headed west to Ontario. Two fourteen year old 'best friends' had to say good-bye but promised to write every week. And man oh man, did we write… letters less than 20 pages (double-sided) were considered a 'rip-off'.

As many of you know Broph is an excellent writer… she's very succinct and often uses illustration to explain a point. For the next few years, she wrote me a play-by-play of her new life in Willowdale. It wasn't long before this shy, self-conscious girl from Beaconsfield turned into a man-eater with an eye for the local high school talent:

Even back then, Broph always knew how best to budget to get what she wanted:


And her love of TV goes waaaaay back:

Broph’s love of musical talent and hair products goes way back too:


In 1974, I was thrilled to be reunited with Broph when I moved to Toronto. She would often hang out at my apartment on Howard Park Ave where we’d exchange hair care secrets.

My stay in Toronto was short-lived though, since I moved on to Ottawa in 1976.

This photo was taken my last night in Toronto and I can’t help but wonder if somehow Sharon Stone got her Basic Instinct inspiration from Broph… ?

During the 80’s we still kept in touch and there were lots of back and forth visits between Toronto and Ottawa. And since both of us were working gals, the letters were soon replaced with long distance telephone calls. We talked…

And talked…

And talked…

Now we all know that Broph is a party girl. She will attend the opening of an envelope if it means wine, laughs and shmoozing. Her natural curiosity and interest in people make her a valuable asset of any event. During the 80’s and 90’s I had the pleasure of partying many times with Broph and would like to share with you some of the more memorable events.


Beaconsfield High School Reunion 1983 Sue Brady, Brenda Burroughs, Broph


BHS Reunion 1993. Broph, Brenda, Sue Curry

Broph’s ‘stag’ March 1987. Gail Baker, Broph, Brenda, Debbie Baker


Ok, now this was a pretty significant event. My best friend gets married and I’m the maid of honour. It was one of the better parties of the decade I must say. I was so happy for her, however a little unsure of this mystery husband, this man called ‘Geoff’…

Yes, folks that’s him on the right with his cellmate… er buddy, Don. Can you understand my reservations? This so called ‘journalist’ from Boston stole my best friend’s heart and fathered her children… her sweet, innocent little children.

Despite my misgivings, throughout the 90’s Broph became a model wife and mother and began training Geoff in the art of photography…


“Please don’t cut off Mommy’s head, Daddy!”

And dressing…


“As I’ve told you before- two socks or no socks, honey…”

Broph has proven to be a tough business woman too…


“You fight me, you fight ma gang..”

And so through the decades with Broph, I now find myself in the year 2004 and soon to celebrate Broph’s 50th birthday… well, I won’t exactly be celebrating because she’s not having a party which I am a little peeved about but I hope to get over it. Anyway, I’ve heard it said that although 50 is the old age of youth, 50 is also the youth of old age. But I would rather say- you are only young once but you can be immature forever!

Broph, here’s hoping your birthday is wonderful and special and you remain as immature as possible for a long time to come. It was a lot of fun putting this piece together and going through old letters/photos brought back so many good memories. Thanks for being a great friend for 43 years (yikes!) and Happy, Happy Birthday!

Much love, Brenda

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