Friday, March 4, 2011
A Mother Fondly Remembered
I appreciated the invitation to Jim's 60th birthday gathering. It was certainly well planned and pleasant and full of JWC remembrances. It has dawned on me that none of the Carson grandsons had any real contact with grandmother Marj. That is a pity. An early but heroic death.
Marj was one of my Mother's three best friends. Initially Bev Roberts (Blair) had been close to sister Betty Creasy. But the onslaught of kindergarten at Ryerson Public School for Jim and Doug brought on a new alliance.
I can remember how hospitable Marj was at the arrival of any of Jim's friends, for TV or a game-board game or hockey in the back rink. Invariably she would have a treat and an uplifting kitchen table talk. Marj made the best lasagna in my estimation.
I can recall a couple of extended visits at the Bayfield cottage with complete freedom to enjoy the household, frequent hikes down to the beach, eighteen holes of golf at the local drive and put and occasional neighbourhood movies in the open air on a rudimentary white screen on the bluffs above the beach. Classic black and whites, reel to reel, plus mosquitos.
Marj took a keen interest in any of our sporting endeavours. Jim with his football, hockey and track. I with my basketball and field events. (I almost skewered Jim once in practice with a javelin throw!)
Both mothers watched their sons progress through public and high schools, summer camp jobs, jobs at Labatts, a trip together through Great Britain. Both mothers were very close, and real motivators for special events and parties at Sunningdale Golf Course and London Curling Club. They would watch each other play especially important matches. They had a great deal of fun together and didn't mind being the occasional brunt of jokes. I recall a special event at the golf course where a bunch of women dressed up in "Beverly Hillbilly" mode and made the trip through busy traffic up Richmond Street in a hay wagon to the course. Marj loved to laugh. She was always a team player.
Marj also loved to read and visit with friends. This filled some of the lonely time when Bill was on the road as Treasurer for Labatt's corporate and opening up business diversification, often on the West Coast. Bill was to me a pillar of business wisdom and quiet strength. He gave a splendid reference which had a lot to do with my being accepted early into Law School. He loved his CFL football and family trips to exciting places. He also loved the slower pace of the cottage and in later years jumped at the chance of the marina in the Bayfield River.
After Marj's death Bill continued a solid and sincere friend of my parents. They treasured a woodland painting which he had given them. It is one of the few fineries which my Mother took with her to the Retirement Home after Dad's death last June. She basically wanted to divest herself of most memories from 56 years at Regent Street.
I can remember seeing Bill pushing Marj in a wheelchair on sunny days through the neighbourhood or even down to Gibbons Park when she was seriosly ill. She wanted to remain as mobile and involved as possible. It is one of the heroic things on my palette of memories.
I send this because the woman was conspicuously absent in last week's event. It could not have been otherwise. I know that my own son in his 24th year has become keen to fill up gaps in the memory of his past. Hopefully these few comments will help you folks.
(An email sent to Jim Carson's sons)