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Joni: `Dirt poor,' 20 and pregnant Excerpts from a new book reveal details of Joni Mitchell's life in '60s Toronto
[Final Edition]
Toronto Star - Toronto, Ont.
Author: by John Goddard SPECIAL TO THE STAR
Date: Apr 7, 1997
Start Page: E.1
Section: LIFE
Abstract (Document Summary)

The house is an expansive three-storey structure of dark-red terracotta and brick, in a neighborhood of old homes topped with turrets and gables. Current roomers call the building ``a dump,'' but when Mitchell arrived there in 1964 it was still well maintained and beautiful. People called it ``the hippie rooming-house'' and the woman who ran it ``the hippie landlady.''

``I remember I went down to the kitchen to get something, and I heard this sort of sweet, reedy voice coming from the bathroom. I looked in and there was Joni, sitting on the edge of the bathtub strumming her guitar, very basic chords, long blonde hair, slim, lovely. I still don't know how she happened to be there, but the place did have an aura - people were always coming around - and I said, `Why don't you come upstairs and sing with us?'

Afterward, Mitchell took a train to Ontario. She went east, she has always said, to hear Buffy Sainte-Marie perform at the Mariposa Folk Festival, held that year in Toronto near the Exhibition grounds. Mitchell stayed, and [Vera] Frankel and others retain poignant memories of her as a young artist struggling to form a musical identity in the face of occasional homesickness, poverty and the unplanned pregnancy.

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