Homeless in Vancouver: Some prefer to make do with a white peace poppy

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      The white poppy (Arctomecon merriamii) was adopted in 1926 as the pacfists' answer to the red remembrance poppy.

      The red remembrance poppy was originally intended to memorialize all the casualties of war, but within a few short years it seemed to anti-war groups that the red poppy had been co-opted to symbolize only soldiers fallen in battle and thus effectively transformed into a glorification of war.

      The white poppy stands for an end to all forms of war-making and warmongering and was adopted by the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament to be worn on Hiroshima Day in August.

      There is no contradiction whatsoever in wearing both a red poppy—to memorialize the victims of war—along side a white poppy to symbolize your desire to see a total end to the suffering of war.

      Making a white peace poppy in a pinch

      Don’t worry if the finished poppy is rough—it’s the thought that counts.
      Stanley Q. Woodvine

      Within a day or two, red remembrance poppies will be available by donation beside the cash registers in convenience stores and coffee shops and all sorts of other retail businesses all across Vancouver and the rest of Canada.

      White poppies, not so much.

      So, not knowing where to get myself a pre-made white poppy and having just written another post about finding an alternative red poppy to serve in place of the Royal Canadian Legion’s abysmal plastic remembrance poppy, my thoughts naturally turned towards a do-it-yourself peace poppy.

      Because I was in McDonald’s, I set myself the task of making a white peace poppy with what was available in the restaurant in under two minutes while I was waiting for a non-existent bus to take me to an imaginary rally. I admit to cheating a bit by allowing what was in my pockets (hence the magnet).

      Stanley Q. Woodvine

      For the “petals” I could’ve used the flimsy waxy, printed white paper wrapper for a basic hamburger but I chose to use one of the white paper ketchup cups instead. For the center disk, I used a bit of yellow-printed paperboard torn from a burger box. I saved myself a lot of grief by settling on a small ceramic magnet in my pocket to act as a clasp. Otherwise I would’ve had to improvise with a paperclip (“borrowed” from the staff) or else a plastic stir stick.

      Stanley Q. Woodvine

      The ketchup cup is machine-folded from a single die-cut piece of paper and the rim is rolled down to lock the shape, so the first step was to roll up the rim, as they say.

      Stanley Q. Woodvine

      Next, I spread open about four-fifths-worth of the accordion folds of the cup, trying to leave about a fifth of the cup as originally folded—creating something like a wide-brimmed sunhat.

      Then I tore a yellow piece out of the burger box that was almost as big around as the hat’s “crown”, tossed the magnet into the hat, and covered the magnet with the yellow piece of card.

      I then flattened the sides of the hat band inwards, which was enough to hold the three parts firmly together.

      Finally, I secured the white poppy to my fleece jacket the same way that many store clerk name tags are held in place—by giving the magnet embedded in the poppy something to stick to on the other side of the fleece, namely, a steel-cored dime.

      Yes, it looked rough but I figured I had time to clean it up a bit on the bus ride to the rally.

      By the way, I did find this one one group online, the Canadian Voice of Women for Peace, that as recently as last year was selling white poppies in Vancouver in batches of 100. They also have their own instructions and downloadable PDFs for making your own.

      Stanley Q. Woodvine is a homeless resident of Vancouver who has worked in the past as an illustrator, graphic designer, and writer.