Homeless in Vancouver: The ongoing adventures of my magnetic remembrance poppy

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      I lost my remembrance poppy in a dimly-lit alley at 7 a.m. on Wednesday (November 1). The poppy was knocked off my jacket pocket when my chest hit the lip of a Dumpster I was searching through for returnable beverage containers (I earn money cashing them in).

      I felt the poppy come loose and I heard the small noise that it made landing. But search as I did with a flashlight I was unable to see the tell-tale red colour of it anywhere. It wasn’t visible in the Dumpster or anywhere on the ground, not around the Dumpster, or underneath it. And it wasn’t on the Dumpster either.

      Losing it like that was a puzzler—I couldn’t imagine where it went—and I was disappointed.

      My quest to make a safer and less droppy poppy

      “X-ray” side view of a Canadian remembrance poppy retrofitted with a strong rare-earth magnet.
      Stanley Q. Woodvine

      In 2015 I modified this particular plastic poppy by replacing its straight pin fastener with a strong magnet. I did this to fix some of the manifest problems of the Canadian remembrance poppy—removing the hazard of the straight pin, while making the poppy easier to reuse and harder to lose.

      Fortunately the mystery of what happened to the errant poppy was eventually solved.

      I found it again, some five hours later and a half kilometre away, stuck firmly to one of the steel wheel rims of my bike trailer—more proof of the attraction of magnetizing one’s poppy! 

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