Thursday, September 22, 2011


Gone But Not Forgotten
My world has been full of interesting people - the people close to me and those who were strangers. Working with my family at Metropolitan News Agency at The Crossroads of the Nation in Montreal for decades, I was gifted with strangers who came to me from all over the world, and from around the corner, I have written about some of them here on this blog, and the reader can find my memoirs about some of them at  -
But I want to write about so many more. I want to write about my meetings with Lorne Greene, Maurice Chevalier, The Shriners, Mike Mazurki, Frank Sinatra, Queen Elizabeth's chauffeur, Rene Levesque, Joey Smallwood, The Gazette's Fitz Fitzgerald, Marc Pilon, Rollin Van Smythe, the cops on the beat - Kenny Law and Kenny Campbell; Mr. "Curly" (Coyle?) who was the official in charge of the pier at Atlantic City; the three very black men who appeared in our store late one dark afternoon in the middle of winter wearing identical black suits - and no coats or boots; the tall, lean, Swedish man who operated the furnaces in the Dominion Square Building; the woman who was the telephone operator at the Queen's Hotel for decades; Justice of the Peace, Harry (?) Traverse : My father called him "Bicycles" because he had been in that business in the past; Maynard Ferguson's mother, the railway porters, the handsome Metrakos brothers of Diana Grill, Spiro and the rest. And all the newsies and Runyonesque characters - Jockey Flemming, Duchie, Louis Apple, Kid Obley. Any celebrity or government official who came to town came into Metro News. And my father collected their autographs for me until I learned to ask for them myself..
I want to write about so many fascinating people who came in and out of my life, some for a few minutes, some repeatedly through the days and years, and influenced me in small and huge ways.
Today, I have been thinking about Ronnie McKelvie and "Little Helen". Mr. McKelvie was a gentleman, probably in his sixties back in the late 1940's - early 1950's. He was a regular customer. I have no idea what he did for a living. He usually came in on a Saturday, if I remember correctly. But what I do remember clearly was how mild mannered and pleasant he was. And I remember that he often brought me - a young girl of fourteen or so at the time - a flower - a rose, a carnation.
One day, Ronnie gave me a pale black and white - almost sepia - photograph of a young girl - about twelve - standing outdoors in a rural setting with a young deer very close by. It looks like late winter. Perhaps March of the year this treasured picture was taken. The girl is wearing a skirt and sweater. This was perhaps his niece - or a friend's child. I can't recall without access to my many diaries and journals. But she was a young girl he adored. He called her "Little Helen". Perhaps it was because of his love for this little girl that Ronnie McKelvie favoured me.
That photograph is among my many albums and I long to be able to look at it again, but due to my illness and financial limitations, I live in a very small apartment and it is nearly impossible to get into my files and albums.
So, today, I commit these memories from my youth to my blog and offer this tiny gem of warm feelings to my readers around the world.
Ronnie McKelvie is gone. I know almost nothing about him apart from what I have just imparted, but he is not forgotten. He is much appreciated by this older woman who is still a girl in her heart. I can still hold his flowers in my mind.


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