Back in London, August 2015

Judith at Gabriel's Wharf

Judith at Gabriel’s Wharf

We’re back, but we almost missed the plane!

We arrived at the airport three hours before departure, pre-booked tickets and boarding passes in hand, checked in our luggage, and went off to have something to eat. They’d closed the Swiss Chalet in Terminal 3 (something to do with the PanAm Games) and moved it to Terminal 1. We had a leisurely dinner and arrived back in Terminal 3 at 9:00 pm (10:00 pm flight), to discover a huge queue in security, filling the hall and spilling into out into the next room. We knew we could not make it. I wandered off talk to the Air Transat people, and suddenly heard this enormous cry “Roooon! Roooon!” echoing through that giant space. It was Judith. She had found a lovely family from Afghanistan, near the front of the queue, who offered to adopt us temporarily. The 12-year old daughter was very surprised that Judith didn’t simply call my cell, and instead depended on lung power. Humbly, we told her that we were very old school, in this and in other ways.

Even this line-jumping was not enough. At 9:30 Judith ran off and came back with an Air Transat official, who hustled us right to the check point. Judith saves the day (as she so often does).

The picture is of Judith, the heroine, sitting in one of our favorite restaurants in Gabriel’s Wharf, on the South Bank. Proof that we made it to beautiful, phantasmagorical London Town.

Why Hydro One should not be privatized

Hydro One Voltage Lines in Woodbridge Ontario, photo Tom Stefanac, from Wikipedia

Hydro One Voltage Lines in Woodbridge Ontario, photo Tom Stefanac, from Wikipedia

The privatization of Hydro One is a terrible idea, for many reasons. There is one argument that I have not seen in the press, and I’d like to present it now.

The idea that retaining the single largest portion of shares guarantees control is naive. The danger is not total loss of ownership. The danger (and inevitable effect) is that on an ongoing basis decisions will be weighed in terms of what the shareholders will think. Will they sell? Will the value go down? Up? The corruption is not in the gross effect, but in the innumerable details of policy driven by a financial system that is out of control.

When any company goes public and sells shares, a new element is introduced that often overrides everything else: shareholder value. When shareholders are added, the need to keep the value of the shares continually rising overrides everything else. The market is extremely sensitive, volatile and focused on the short term. This becomes the primary driver of policy.

A government should be making policy in the best interests of its citizens. It also has a responsibility to its suppliers, part of keeping the economy healthy. It should not be making policy to satisfy the needs of investors staring at their computer screens and deciding whether or buy or sell.

Cycling in London, with Boris Bikes


Boris Bikes at Hyde Park, photo by ZanMan (from WikiMedia)

This visit, I decided to try cycling in London.

When I first went to London, many years ago, the traffic was scary. The streets were filled with cars tearing around corners at high speed, especially cabs. And, of course, for a Canadian visitor, these cars came rushing from behind as you peered carefully in the wrong direction. Tourists were picked off like flies.

As the decades passed, London became more friendly to pedestrians and cyclists. Street crossing islands sprang up, with traffic lights, and “look left” or “look right” painted on the streets. Mayor Ken Livingstone (“Red Ken”, bête noire for Maggie Thatcher) instituted a hefty congestion charge for the core, which reduced traffic to manageable proportions. He also lowered fares on the buses and underground, which actually increased revenues, but after his term the prices went up again. The Millennium Walk transformed the south bank of the Thames.

And in 1910, the Barclay Bikes appeared, quickly dubbed ” Boris Bikes” after the Mayor, Boris Johnson, who (though Conservative) was an enthusiastic advocate of biking. Barclay’s Bank was the sponsor from 2010 to 2015, but now it’s Santander Bank, though most of the bikes still say “Barclays”.

Biking is big in downtown London now. There are hundreds of bikes whizzing along the roads, seemingly getting along pretty well with the autos, lorries and buses.
Bicycle lanes are quite frequent in the core. There are also two-lane “cycle superhighways” from the more outlying districts.

Generally speaking, the cyclists are well-behaved. London cyclists never ride on sidewalks, tempting as it often is. They usually signal and stay well to the left. And the motorists are generally patient, even when they have to go a little more slowly than they would like.

It’s easy to use the Boris Bikes, and no commitment is required. You can just stick you debit or credit card in a slot, and the machine spits out a 5-digit access code. You go to the bike of your choice (they’re all the same) and key in the code. Then you jerk the bike out and ride away. The bikes are solid, with a “step through” frame, and three gears. There’s a small luggage rack for parcels, secured with bungee cords. For two pounds, you have 24-hour use, but you can only keep out a particular bike for a half-hour, before returning it to some other docking station. You can keep it longer, but there’s an extra 2 pounds on your card. The idea is to keep all the bikes in use, rather than sitting somewhere while the rider is shopping or visiting the British Museum.

You can also register online for 24 hours, 7 days or a year. For 3 pounds you get a key, and you can pick up a bike anytime during the selected period. I’m sure that if I am there long enough, I would buy a key, but I think that it is wonderful that you can try the system out in such a casual way. The costs are the same.

I’m very intrigued by the new sobi bikes in Hamilton. I own a bike, but I will sign up just to try it out.

I think, though, that the comparison with the Boris Bikes is interesting. The sobi bikes cost $4.00 per hour; Boris Bikes $4.00 (2 pounds) for 24 hours. And you don’t have to sign up in advance. Just saying.


Ensemble theatre company Idle Motion: Shooting with Light

Shooting with Light. Photo by Richard Davenport

Shooting with Light. Photo by Richard Davenport

Our biggest surprise in our recent London theatre binge was a production by an ensemble company called Idle Motion, at a small space called the New Diorama Theatre near Euston Station. The play was Shooting with Light, “devised, written and directed collaboratively by Grace, Sophie, Nathan, Ellie, Juian and Kate” (to quote the program). The company uses dance, theatrical movement and multimedia to tell its stories, and this of course appeals to us. So on a whim, we decided to forego the musical Made in Dagenham (which sounded interesting, but nothing we hadn’t seen before under other names), and seek out something that just might be more surprising. We were quite knocked out. We had hoped for good enough, and got something pretty close to marvellous. The story was compelling, the dance/movement was skillful, the acting was honest and unselfconscious, and the inventiveness just kept happening.

Sophie Cullen as Gerda Taro, photo by Margaret Durow

Sophie Cullen as Gerda Taro, photo by Margaret Durow

Based on Jane Rogoyzka’s book Gerda Taro, Shooting with Light tells the true story of a young woman living in Paris in the 1930s. She hooks up with a disheveled young photojournalist who can’t seem to sell any photos, smartens him up and starts to manage his career; in return, he gives her a camera and teaches her how to use it. They decide to invent a fictitious American photographer, always out of town, called Robert Capa, and the photos start selling. She changes her name to Gerda Taro, and starts to sell her photos, sometimes as Robert Capa and sometimes under her own name. They both go to Spain to cover the Spanish Civil War, where Robert Capa shoots the iconic photo of a Republican soldier in the moment of being shot. Gerda takes more and more risks, and insists on returning to Madrid after the fall of the city. She is killed at the age of 26 by an out-of-control tank. Treated as a martyr to the Republican cause, she has a couple of years of posthumous fame, and then is largely forgotten, her work subsumed into that of Robert Capa and remembered primarily as Robert Capa’s girlfriend.

One reason for this seeming neglect was that most of her negatives, along with many of Capa’s photos of the Spanish Civil War, had been stored in a box that was smuggled to the Mexican embassy and forgotten. Robert’s photographer brother, Cornell Capa (he changed his name as well) devoted years to tracking down this so-called “Mexican suitcase”.

The play opens with Cornell and his assistant June examining rolls of negatives from a compartmented tray. The set is an enlarged version of this tray. They find a roll that contains what they are looking for, and suddenly Gerda (the actor) bursts through the corresponding compartment in the set. It’s a wonderful shock, that sets us up for the transformations to come, through the use of projections and physical rearrangements.

Dance and movement are used to break through the convention of naturalism and propel the story onward. The script alternates between the search for the negatives and the truth about Gerda Taro, and the relationship between the two photographers, as they participate in the invention of the craft of photojournalism. This is a story worth telling, in this age of embedded journalists and manipulated media.


Lullingstone Castle and the World Garden

On a whim, we visited the ancient castle of the Hart Dyke family, with a pedigree going right back to William the Conqueror. Our friend David Hart Dyke, Green Party Candidate for Stoney Creek, would sometimes mention (after I had served him a beer or two) that in England he was a Baronet. “Our castle is in Kent. You should visit my family. They’re lots of fun.” Sure, David. Another Artbeer?

Easter Monday, bank holiday, we take the new Thames Link train service to Eynsford, south east of London, to see Lullingstone, an excavated Roman Villa. It was as interesting as expected, with explanatory material that explained just enough of all the right things.

Lullingstone Castle Gatehouse

Lullingstone Castle Gatehouse

There are two castles in Eynsford, one in the town and the other a little further down the road. Arbitrarily, we chose the second, Lullingstone Castle. The Gatehouse looked magnificent in the distance. Small (compared, say, to Warwick Castle), but beautifully proportioned .

We headed for the refreshment tent (bank holiday, remember?), where they advised us to start with a look at the World Garden. A labour of love by an obsessive “plant hunter”, the World Garden has plants from all the continents of the world in beds shaped like those continents!

World Garden

World Garden

A didactic panel at the entrance declared that the idea for the garden was born when its creator was kidnapped and held for ransom while collecting plants in Colombia. The name of the collector was Thomas Hart Dyke. “Look, I said to Judith. Hart Dyke! I wonder…”

In the Manor House, we were greeted warmly by the chatelaine. She asked if we had met Thomas. “Is he here?”, I enquired. “Oh, yes. I believe he’s dressed as a chicken.”

I mentioned a little diffidently that we knew a Hart Dyke in Hamilton, David Hart Dyke. “Oh, yes! David is Thomas’s cousin. He has the title, you know.”

“Should I mention him to Thomas?”, I asked. I wondered if there was some sort of Downton Abbey feud. Was David the black sheep?

Thomas Hart Dyke

Thomas Hart Dyke

“Of course. He’ll be delighted. And you must meet my husband. Guy! This couple know David in Hamilton.” We met Guy Hart Dyke, David’s uncle, who owns the castle, and were formally introduced to Sarah, his wife. And then we did meet Thomas, the eminent and indefatigable plant hunter, dressed indeed as a chicken.

The house is fascinating. Beautifully designed and appointed, it has paintings, carvings and furnishings representative of a history that stretches back to the 1497.

The Church of St. Botolph, also on the grounds, is equally ancient. It serves as the parish church for the town. Inside, there are magnificent memorials to the early Dykes and Harts. (The Hart Dykes represent a merging, by a marriage in the time of Elizabeth I, of two families both going back to the Norman Conquest.) Another reason to vote Green! Right, David?

Lullingstone Castle Manor House

Lullingstone Castle Manor House

Church of St Botolph

Church of St Botolph

Neo-nazis on the tube

We had a chilling experience last night on the London Tube Circle Line. A noisy, drunken crowd of men, and one women, piled on the train, singing and shouting. They had extreme east-end accents, so that even my relatively well-tuned Canadian ear could hardly make out anything that they were saying. I assumed that they were rugby louts, and watched and listened, though everyone else in the car (an Indian family, a young man of colour) looked elsewhere.
Finally, Judith whispered in my ear “they’re white supremacists. They’re singing about raping Moslem women”. I listened even more closely. She was right.
The Indian family and the young man got off at the next stop. The louts looked in my direction in a friendly manner, having noticed my interest. I didn’t want them to think that I was sympathetic, so I nodded to Judith and we moved away down the train.
It felt like something from the 1930s, Nazis singing the Horst Wessel song. What was particularly upsetting was that these yahoos were not really bad people, just not terribly bright and without much going for them, who were out for a good time. Going home, some of them, to wives and children. They were having fun singing together and enjoying companionship. They could have been sing bawdy songs (offensive enough, but not racist). Instead, they were shouting out these virulent hate-filled songs and cheers.
They hadn’t made the songs up themselves. They weren’t songwriters. Someone else had written the songs and taught them to the louts. Got them drunk, got them singing, and sent them out to get on the tube to terrorize women and children. Who is writing these songs?
I learned today that the Harper government has just passed a bill removing hate speech from the Canadian Human Rights Act. I guess Canada’s hate-song writers will breathe a little easier.

Arcola Theatre: Shrapnel

Arcola studio 1

Arcola studio 1

Arcola exterior

Arcola exterior

Our first night in London this visit: we’ve slept off our red-eye flight jet lag, and it’s time to get out! Why not go to our favorite alternative theatre, the Arcola, in wonderful, multicultural Dalston? Dinner first at the Mangal Turkish restaurant, lamb spare ribs (yum) and then a short walk to the theatre.

The play is Shrapnel, subtitled 34 Fragments of a Massacre, by Anders Lustgarten. It’s a sombre piece based on an incident that took place on the border between Turkey and Iraq in December 2011, called the Roboski massacre. Video from an American drone captures images of a band of men in the mountains making their way with mules across the border. The Turks know who they are: impoverished peasants who make a precarious living smuggling diesel fuel. Pentagon officials insist that they are terrorists, and send in the drones.

Anders Lustgarten operates in the great British tradition of activist-playwright, using the resources of the stage to expose political and social issues to scrutiny. His bio mentions that “he has taught on Death Row, been arrested by the Turkish secret police and holds a PhD in Chinese politics from the University of California. He is the winner of the inaugural Harold Pinter award”. The Arcola’s artistic director, Mehmet Ergen, who directed this play, is also committed to an engaged, activist theatre, with a particular interest in Turkish affairs.

In London, alongside theatre as mass entertainment, is a healthy parallel strand for people who love an opportunity to learn, think, and join in a dialogue about what is going on around them. One might call it (if the term were not already misappropriated) “adult entertainment”.

Shrapnel has a no-nonsense, just-the-facts approach. The cast of six share multiple roles, switching from villagers to Pentagon commanders  to smugglers to Turkish officers to two low-level interrogators. A powerful element is the use of footage from the actual drone video projected behind the action.

There are two elements that distract from what is, overall, a powerful and effective piece of theatre. The vignettes jump back and forth in time, sometimes bewilderingly, though there does not seem any particular reason not to be chronological. The other is the use of accents, and this is a tricky problem. The villagers have strong Turkish accents (there are a couple of Turkish actors), the Americans speak Ammurican, but there are scenes in which the accent is British. These, it turns out, are the Turkish officers, and it took a while before I cottoned on. Was the British army deployed there too? To Londoners, presumably, a standard BBC accent is neutral, but not to us Canadians. It is, as I said, a vexed question in ensemble work, and relates also to ethnicity. When is casting colour blind, and when are we supposed to notice?

Apart from the head-scratchers above, this was a fine start to our London theatre holiday.

(Note: usually the photographs I post are my own, but I forgot my camera, so I’m posting a couple from the Arcola web site:

Learie Mc Nicolls in Transformation at Artword Artbar

Learie McNicolls in Transformation at Artword Artbar

Learie McNicolls in Transformation at Artword Artbar

Learie Mc Nicolls confronts the demons of poverty, violence and fear in his powerful new work, Transformation: a Journey of the Soul’s Healing, at Artword Artbar, March 25 and 26, 2015, at 9:00 pm. An Artword Theatre production, directed by Ronald Weihs, Transformation combines dance, spoken word, soundscape and visual images, to present one man’s struggle to come to terms with his troubled Trinidad childhood and redeem the forgotten child inside him. The live musical soundscape is by Dale Morningstar, founder of the experimental blues-rock band, The Dinner is Ruined. Visual design is by Judith Sandiford.

Learie Mc Nicolls in Transformation at Artword Artbar

Learie Mc Nicolls in Transformation at Artword Artbar

Learie Mc Nicolls has been a key figure in the contemporary dance scene in Toronto since the 1980s. He has danced with Toronto Dance Theatre, Desrosiers Dance Theatre, Dancemakers, the National Ballet of Cuba, and his own company, Mythmakers. As a solo dancer, he has been exploring the combination of dance with spoken word, to create a powerful new form of theatrical presentation. His Toronto production, Armour, took two Dora awards for Outstanding Choreography and Outstanding Performance.
A year ago, he moved to Hamilton, where he is devoting himself to help build the contemporary dance scene here. In May, 2014, he performed Resurrection at the Pearl Company, and choreographed the dances in Artword Theatre’s second production of James Street. He has created an ongoing series of showcase dance productions at Artword Artbar called Big Dance Little Stage, featuring dancers from Hamilton and Toronto over two nights. There have been four BDLS productions, June, September and November 2014, and February 2015. He has recently opened a dance studio downstairs at Artword Artbar.

Learie Mc Nicolls

Learie Mc Nicolls

Transformation takes the dance/spoken word paradigm to a new level. Ronald Weihs as director, and Judith Sandiford as designer, pushed Learie to incorporate methods based on their approach to theatre. Together, the three of them analyzed Learie’s poems from a theatrical point of view, finding characters and situations that needed to be brought to life. Learie was fine with this, because he is also an actor.
The three collaborators also drew on their experience with Big Dance Little Stage, where Judith Sandiford improvises with projected images and musicians create soundscapes to interact with dancers. It was through BDLS that they became acquainted with Dale Morningstar, who provides improvised music for his wife, dancer Megan English. In addition to his work as a musician, Dale is perhaps best-known as co-founder of The Gas Station Recording Studio, “the hub of the Canadian indie rock sound”, now located at Gibraltar Point on Toronto Island. He and Megan now live in Hamilton.
Transformation: A Journey of the Soul’s Healing will be Artword Theatre’s contribution to the Hamilton Fringe, July 2015, with Artword Artbar as a Bring Your Own Venue.
The Artword team, Ronald Weihs and Judith Sandiford, created and ran Artword Theatre in downtown Toronto for twelve years before coming to Hamilton in 2007. Weihs and Sandiford have had long experience with one-person plays, including three by Charlie Chiarelli, Cu’Fu, Mangiacake and Sunamabeach, Allan Merovitz’s If Cows Could Fly, and Donald Carr’s The Full Nelson. Judith Sandiford has designed and lit dance productions with Meiko Ando, Michael Du Maresq, Leanne Dixon, Hedy Minten, Daryll Tracy, Bonnie Kim and Donald Carr. Artword Theatre’s original multi-cast productions in Hamilton include You Are What You Do, Langston Hughes vs Joe McCarthy, Rascals and Numskulls, Tobacco Troubadour, James Street and Scroogissimo. They own and manage the popular Artword Artbar, featuring music of all varieties, theatre, poetry and spoken word four nights a week, Wednesday to Saturday.
Transformation: A Journey of the Soul’s Healing
An Artword Theatre production
written by Learie Mc Nicolls
choreographed and performed by Learie Mc Nicolls
directed by Ronald Weihs
original music performed by Dale Morningstar
visuals by Judith Sandiford
produced and designed by Judith Sandiford
Performances at Artword Artbar, 15 Colbourne Street
Wednesday and Thursday, March 25 and 26, 2015, at 9:00 pm.
Tickets: $10

Alice’s obituary

SONY DSC WEIHS, Alice Elizabeth (nee Fritsch)
Passed away peacefully on February 18, 2015, at the age of 93, cared for by her son Ronald Weihs and his partner Judith Sandiford at their home in Hamilton, ON. Her son Frederick Weihs and her sister Rosemarie Herrell were of great support during her final months.

Alice was born on August 27, 1921 in Bačka Palanka. Alice’s sister Madeleine was born a year later. Her mother Rosina (Eich) and her father Louis Fritsch were part of the Donauschwaben community in Yugoslavia (now Serbia). Louis was a miller on a floating flour mill on the Danube River.

The family emigrated to Toronto during the Great Depression, where siblings Joseph and Rosemarie were born. Alice went to St. Patrick’s School and Jarvis Collegiate in Toronto. The family became active in the movement for social and economic justice. Alice, still in her teens, was a shop-floor organizer for the United Electrical Workers Union.

In 1944, Alice married Harry Weihs. The family lived in Scarborough and Don Mills, and were active in the Don Heights Unitarian Church, where Alice directed the Sunday School. She worked as a preschool teacher and directed nursery schools.

The marriage ended in 1970. In 1976, Alice went to London, England, where she joined a group of activists in the East End that turned an abandoned Council Estate, Matilda House, into a co-op. In the mid-1980s, Alice began spending part of each year in Toronto, living with Ron and Judith.

In 1986 she travelled with her son Fred and his wife Kowyeesa Owpaluk (now deceased) to Southampton Island in Hudson Bay to go spring camping and goose hunting with her Inuit in-laws. Alice was a frequent traveler on the bus from Toronto to Ottawa, where she lovingly assisted with raising her two grandchildren, Rosina and Leah.

In September 1995, Alice moved into the Performing Arts Lodge (PAL) at 110 The Esplanade. Thanks to the supportive environment at PAL and a wonderful neighbourhood, she was able to live independently. Her sister Rosemarie was a frequent companion, marching with her in the Labour Day parade, and putting up anti-apartheid posters. Alice celebrated her 90th birthday in the PAL Green Room, with many friends from PAL, Older Women’s Network, and the Unitarian Church.

On October 27, 2014, she suffered a hip fracture. She moved to Hamilton in the care of Ron and Judith. She was doing well at her rehab exercises, but her ongoing congestive heart condition took over in January, 2015 and she began to decline. Ron and Judith were grateful that they could help her through this final phase of her remarkable life.

Alice is predeceased by brother Joe Fritsch and sister Madeleine Joseph (Philip). She will be greatly missed by sister Rosemarie Herrell (Edgar), sons Ronald (Judith Sandiford) and Frederick (Darlene Pearson), grandchildren Rosina and Leah Weihs, and Robert Allison (grandson by choice), great grandchildren Angelika, Ralph and Jasmine, nieces and nephews Jill, Owen, Marie, Anita (Herrell), and Stephen and Nicola Joseph, and numerous grand and great-grand nieces and nephews.

Cremation has taken place. There will be a celebration of Alice’s life at Performing Arts Lodge, 110 The Esplanade, Toronto, on Sunday, April 26, 2-5 pm. In lieu of flowers, please donate to the Council of Canadians (

The Circle Unbroken

Alice Weihs at her 90th birthday party at PAL. Taken by Alla Palagina.

Alice Weihs at her 90th birthday party at PAL. Taken by Alla Palagina.

My mother Alice died last Wednesday (February 18, 2015) in the early morning. She was in my house in Hamilton, where Judith and I had been looking after her since last November. She was born on August 27, 1921, and had a full life, which she enjoyed with great gusto up to her last day.

In the last few years, she had an ongoing heart condition, aortic stenosis, which had been causing shortness of breath and dizziness. However, it didn’t prevent her from venturing forth with her walker from her apartment at Performing Arts Lodge (PAL) on The Esplanade in Toronto to the St. Lawrence Market, where many of the shop owners would greet her warmly. She lived at PAL since 1995, and was much loved by her fellow residents. Dr. Robison was two blocks away at the St. Lawrence Health Centre, and monitored her medical condition with great dedication.  Her grandson (by choice) Robert Allison visited her every week, usually for a pizza dinner.

On October 27, 2014, at 10:30 pm, she set out with her walker to get herself a hamburger. Somehow, we’re not quite sure how, she fell and broke her right hip. I got a call from St. Michael’s hospital the next morning, informing us that they were taking her to the operating room to apply a single compression hip screw. The operation was successful. She spent a week at St. Michael’s (where she received excellent care). After 10 days, she was transferred to a rehab hospital, where she was not happy. I intervened and arranged to have her brought back to St. Michael’s because the congestive heart condition had re-emerged. My brother Fred came down from Ottawa and visited her every day and encouraged her to do her leg exercises every hour.  After a week, Fred and I persuaded St. Mike’s to discharge her into my care in Hamilton, rather than back to the rehab hospital. Judith and I brought her to our house on December 1.

Alice sitting by the flowers sent by her friends at Performing Arts Lodge.

Alice sitting by the flowers sent by her friends at Performing Arts Lodge.

With the help of a physiotherapist from Community Care Access Centre (CCAC), she exercised diligently, and was making very good progress. On January 15, we took her for x-rays to St. Mike’s, and stopped in at PAL for Kaffeeklatsch,  where she was greeted with cheers. The bone was healing very well. In February, another visit to the Fracture Clinic showed the bone completely healed.

Starting the following day, however, her energy started to decline. On January 29, her cardiologist told us that the end would come soon.

We looked after her in our home, making her comfortable. CCAC provided a gentle and sympathetic nurse, who helped us understand what we were going through. Alice was sleeping more and more, but when she was awake we still had good times, singing the old union songs with her from the People’s Song Book.

Having my mother with us, and being with her during this time, was very rewarding. It wasn’t easy, but it felt very right and very rich. Judith had a special way with Alice that I loved to see. She also worked hard keeping Artword Artbar going, with the help of Tom Dusome, while I stayed home with Alice. My brother Fred and Alice’s sister Rosemarie visited and helped out.

The night she died, I held her hand and stroked her head, comforting her when she called out. At about 3:00 am, she became quiet and fell asleep. I went to bed. I thought we were near the end, but expected her to be awake the next day. Judith woke up at six with a feeling that a great quiet had descended. Alice had passed. Judith roused me and I went into the room. Yes, she was gone. She looked very beautiful.

I have included two photos in this post. The first was taken at Alice’s 90th birthday party at PAL. The second shows her on January 2, sitting in our living room beside the flowers sent by her PAL Kaffeeklatsch friends.

We’ll be having a celebration of her life at Performing Arts Lodge (PAL), 110 the Esplanade in Toronto, April 26 from 2 to 5 pm to share memories and songs.