The society that gave the world Greenpeace, Terry Fox, Nanaimo bars, Pamela Anderson, bathtub racing and Diana Krall also invented the Raging Grannies, an intimidating group of seniors who have been praised, laughed-at, jailed, pepper-sprayed, arrested and hosed by the U.S. Navy since their formation in 1987. Alison Acker (b. 1928) and Betty Brightwell are two of the Raging Grannies in Victoria who produced an upbeat history of their activities that could have been entitled the charge of the white brigade. After a literary attempt to immortalize the bonnet-clad protest singers fizzled in the 1990s, Acker and Brightwell regrouped with project coordinator Anne Moon to deliver Off Our Rockers And Into Trouble: The Raging Grannies (TouchWood, 2004).
"Husbands come and many of them go,” they conclude, “but the Victoria Raging Grannies show no sign of fading away… When we can no longer climb into kayaks or haul ourselves up the steps of the legislature, you may find us trading in our rockers for wheelchairs, forming a cavalcade to charge down Government Street, going the wrong way, of course, with the tips of our umbrellas sharpened and at the ready. And when we finally kick the bucket, just think what ornery angels we’ll make."
Among their many 'gigs' and protests, the authors recall how they named and liberated a federally owned island (that was only an island at high tide) near Macaulay Point in Esquimalt. Their occupation of 'Pacifica' in 1999 was in protest of the expropriation of Nanoose Bay by the Department of National Defence for use by American nuclear submarines.
The book came to fruition two years after a chance meeting at a yoga class with Touchwood Editions' editor Marlyn Horsdal. "We had pre-sold eight advance copies to out-of-town Grannies; the money was in the bank, so we had to deliver," wrote Anne Moon in her foreword.
Off Our Rockers And Into Trouble: The Raging Grannies (TouchWood, 2004) with Alison Acker (see entry) $19.95 978-1-894898-10-2