CBC's Glorious GloriaThursday, September 05, 2019
From my car radio CBC Radio 1 I have found out that Gloria Macarenko is in Ottawa today receiving her Order of Canada.
I have been hit by a stream of consciousness of fond memories as I have had the good fortune of having photographed her since the late 80s. My first photos were for CBC bus shelter ads. Since then I have had many studio sessions with her.
There is only one other woman who can compare with her for presence (be it TV or radio), intelligence and a supreme radio voice. That other woman, Carole Taylor I first photographed at the CBC.
For me, a person of mixed ancestry, the CBC helped me in many ways to become a Canadian and, most important, a profitable one. In 1975 when I arrived with my family from Mexico, I found out the correct pronunciation for Newfoundland. Radio Canada gave me my first good paying job and I photographed many variety shows as a stills man.
My mother used to say in Spanish (something that Macarenko will understand as she speaks it well), “Hay poca gente fina y educada como nosotros.” It has all to do with the fact that in Spanish educación is more than education, it also means well mannered.
For years every time I photographed Arthur Erickson I used to tell myself that he would have been first on any list as a guest for a reception for the Queen of England. By now you would certainly know that second on that list would be our gracious CBC luminary, Gloria Macarenko.
In my thick file of photographs of her I am hard-pressed to find the ultimate one. There are far too many ultimate ones.
One of my pleasures is to go to the Bodega on Main and run into her where we can converse in Spanish with manager Héctor Medina.
A special memory for me was an invitation by former cameraman Michael Varga to show up, with my then 13 years old granddaughter, at a taping of a Macarenko news program. Watching her in what seemed to be an effortless endeavour makes me believe that she is one of a kind.
Had this woman, who first emerged as talented in Prince Rupert, not have been noticed, I can only surmise that she could have also been a psychiatrist. On her couch I would have revealed all with no compunction. And of course that is why nobody can match her at an interview.
Her Order of Canada is well-deserved.