Tribute to LOU

From Catharine McKenty, Jan 15, 2015
“I have so many special memories of LOU, beginning from the time Lydia and I were three years old. Didn’t those twins, Lou and Bob, (age nine) arrive at Donlands Farm, Toronto.
Next thing you knew a tinkertoy castle commandeered the centre of a very staid living room. Doorbells started going off in the middle of the night, and a Christmas tree shone with magical lighting, Lou’s first experiment.
Never mind that a huge sleigh was hauled out of the big barn and eight small cousins were sent hurtling down a steep hill, legs sticking out in all directions. The sleigh shot through a narrow opening in the barbed wire fence and came to an abrupt halt, its cargo breathing a collective sigh of relief.
Well do I remember the time those same twins decided to maroon their nine-year old cousin, me, on a raft out in Lake Simcoe’s rippling waters. (Our grandmother’s cottage was at the edge of the lake, about an hour’s drive north of Toronto.) As the canoe shot out from the shore, I could see Lydia’s Granny Bentley jumping up and down, clutching her green umbrella and shouting, “You dreadful boys, you dreadful boys, bring her back immediately!”
Neither she nor the twins realized that, once I was safely ensconced on the raft, I was blissfully happy, imagining myself to be Huckleberry Finn, sailing down the Mississippi, well out of reach of interfering grown-ups (until a rescue rowboat arrived with peremptory orders to disembark immediately.
Later, much later, my husband Neil and I spent many happy days and nights at 14 Stafford Place, our home away from home we’re told, with Val’s scrumptious meals hauled up the steep stairs by Lou.
One of my favourite pictures of Neil was taken by Lou. There’s Neil, sitting serenely in the big living-room armchair, reading a British newspaper to his heart’s content, oblivious to everything going on around him.
When we went off to see the Queen on horseback reviewing her troops, Lou firmly loaned Neil a respectable dress jacket, its sleeves several inches too long, but highly appreciated by me.
In a very real sense, Lou and Bob became brothers to both Neil and myself. In recent years I would cheekily begin phone calls with, “Hello there, “Little Lou”, much to his amusement, with Anita cheering us on, herself a welcoming voice.
What will Lou be up to, I wonder, in the next life, free of all living constraints? Once I myself get settled in that marvellous life beyond this one, I’m determined to find out. So watch out, “little Lou!”

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