Dr. Foth's Former Mistress Weighs In After a Beer in Whistler
Saturday, December 14, 2019
|Allan Fotheringham and Anne, Bowen Island - 1995|
Vancouver has a poor
memory for its history, even its recent one. How many younger than 40 would remember Allan Fotheringham? How many would know what good journalism was as there is very little of it now?
In 1995 I traveled to Bowen Island to photograph writer and
newspaper columnist Allan Fotheringham for an article in Toronto Life Magazine.
While there I was introduced to a friend. This is what
happened as written to me a couple of days ago by the friend in question:
Hello Alex: I just read your comments [this blog] on
AllanFotheringham and how the last time you saw him was on Bowen Island to photograph him for Toronto Life. You mention the nude mistress behind him . That was ME!!! I roared with laughter when I read this. What fun it was posing in that photograph. We have been married coming up 22 years and still love each other to bits. Allan is
now and no longer writes but we get comments all the time from people wishing he did, with Trump in office and the nature of the rest of the world. Thank you for a good laugh. It is my favorite photo. Wishing you and yours a very Merry, Merry and a Happy, Happy! Anne and Dr. Foth.
I secured Anne's permission to include her communication in this blog. To it she added:
I remember the day you came to Bowen. Julian Porter, the liable lawyer,
was staying with us and he went out on the deck while the photo shoot
occurred indoors. It was my idea to sit in the background giving the
illusion of being nude. I actually had a jumpsuit partially on. So not
totally nude but your talent gave that impression.
I have one more story to tell her about Fotheringham and alas! I have not picture to show. I lost the slide (I do not do this often). The story began in the Socred Party Nomination Convention in Whistler in 1986 (Vander Zalm won
). I was assigned by the Vancouver business magazine Equity
to photograph the event. On the first day, early in the morning (it may have been 8:30) I spotted Fotheringham walking up the stairs to his desk with a large brown paper bag. I waited and pulled out my camera. Fotheringham sat down and pulled a can a beer from the bag that contained a six-pack. The photograph was perfect but then...
An Agave attenuata to Warm My Heart
Friday, December 13, 2019
|Rebecca & the Agave|
Today is December 13, 2019 and it is damp and cold outside. It
is dark. Melancholy has set in and a nostalgia for hotter climes beckons. Because I am 77 I am not
interested in sitting under an umbrella at a sandy, Mexican beach sipping a
I want the heat of a warm Mexican city, one far from the
distraction of a beach. I want to be in my native Buenos Aires where it is hot
and humid at this moment. I want a long Argentine summer day.
I could escape to a place that I lived when I was 16.
Nueva Rosita, Coahuila. It was a small and very hot (but bitterly cold and dry
in the winter) mining town where my mother taught in the American School that
was there for the children of the engineers of American Smelting and Refining
Company. Just a km from where we lived (the American Hotel) it was desert with
agaves (not blue ones) and giant saguaros.
|Lauren & the Agave|
But there is a spot here in Vancouver that could be an
escape. It would take me with a little imagination to a Mexican desert in
Jalisco where the blue agaves grow.
This is the Macmillan Observatory at the top of Queen
Elizabeth Park. This little tropical oasis of Vancouver has one very blue
agave, Agave attenuata. It was there by that agave that I took the pictures you
see here of my granddaughter Rebecca Stewart and her sister Lauren who are both no longer little girls.
Perhaps sometimes after Christmas I might persuade them to pose by it again.
I would certainly not complain of the heat.
But I must amend my statement that I do not miss a beach. I
miss the port of Veracruz, Mexico. Its beaches do not have waves (the Gulf of Mexico)
and the sand is not very white. But it was there in my mother’s house on Pinzón
Street that Rosemary and I finally fell in love. We walked the Malecón on hot
evenings savouring the smells of the sea mixed with cargo ship bunker oil and
fish stalls. We walked hand in hand not saying much. Our eldest daughter
Alexandra was most probably conceived there.
|Rebecca with nopales in Morelia, Mexico|
Mil Gracias Brother Anton Mattingly, C.S.C.
Thursday, December 12, 2019
While in St. Ed’s High School between 1956 and 1961 one’s
native language was a problem if one wanted to fit in. The Latinos congregated
as a group and those who were not Latinos (white guys?) were in a majority. One
of the few ambivalent exceptions were the white Peruvians, Mexicans and this
Argentine who spoke recognizable English. And out of all those groups was
Richard Mosby, an Austin day student who was black.
One salient exception to all (as he did not give a damn and
made it known gently) was Michael East
who spoke both languages perfectly and
dressed like the cowboy he was and is to this day.
Some like me were quietly ignored. We did not make it as the
local whites and the Latinos shunned us for not being totally Latino. There
were a few Texas-native Latinos who spoke perfect English and also (very
important) Spanish. One of them was in my class and he did not utter a word of
Spanish until a few days before we graduated in 1961.
In spite of being a proto-nerd I did manage to secure a
couple of dates with the lovely and short Judy Reyes. She pronounced her name “rays”
to hide the Mexican heritage of her name.
In those days a few of us had little cash to spare so we
would go to barber college on 6th Street. We were warned to be
careful as we could be rolled by a spic.
And so life at St. Eds had this happening in a hidden background.
When I had to make an option for a language to study, Lee
(Buddy) Lytton III told me I was chicken to take Brother Anton Mattingly’s
Spanish over Latin. I wanted to keep my grades high and I thought Spanish would
be a cinch for me.
This was not the case. Brother Anton had no problem in
having me in his class and being able to have a bigger vocabulary than he had.
On every other count I was wrong and Lytton in the end acknowledged that
perhaps Spanish was more useful than Latin.
Brother Anton (who was also our 11th Grade floor prefect)
taught me good Spanish Grammar which was something I had not had since the 6th
Grade. If anything he taught me to write correctly and gave me many of those
logical rules for accents and punctuation. He taught me the why of my native
Because he had a Pentacon-F camera with an F-2 Zeiss Biotar
I was able to buy a camera like his with an inferior F-2.8 Tessar
with funds I
earned by cleaning Brother Edwin’s band room and my job in Brother Hubert’s
shop and cleaning the wooden basketball floor in the gym. The camera came via
from Olden Cameras for $100. I
must point out that it still works perfectly.
I spent many moments in Brother Anton’s prefect room
discussing Spanish Lit and photography. I never asked but I did notice that his
door was always left open.
In 1991 I read in Esquire that Peruvian writer Mario VargasLlosa
was running for president of that country. I convinced Books in Canada to
send me there to interview and photograph him. I took it upon myself to read
all of Vargas Llosa’s output in Spanish before I went to Lima. At first it was
tough but soon it was an easy going. I can only assert that I must thank
Brother Anton for that.
|Don Tirso de Irureta Goyena|
My maternal grandfather, Don Tirso de Irureta Goyena, a
Manila born Basque man did his best to keep Spanish the official language of
the Philippines after the Spanish American War. He lost. But he became the only
Philippine member of the Real Academia Española. My grandmother would have been
proud of the fact that I now read as much in English as in Spanish.
And that is just one more reason why I believe that St. Ed’s
gave me an education to this day keeps me in competition.
Yesterday Was Five Minutes Ago
Wednesday, December 11, 2019
|My birthday, Buenos Aires 1950|
When financial problems are of no consequence, paradoxically
stress happens because of the lack of it.
I remember many years ago going into the ramp of the
Granville Street Bridge with John Armstrong on the passenger seat of my Maserati. I told him,
“When this car runs it does so well.” And borrowing from my friend Sean
Rossiter I stepped the gas to the floor “to clean the sparkplugs”. Five blocks
later I began to hear transmission noises.
I call this Roman Catholic Guilt. When things are going well
something is going to go wrong to show you what the real face of life is.
And so these days with the annoying pattern of people of my
age rapidly disappearing from the act of pumping blood into their body, I have a virtually stress-free existence. Time zips by and my favourite expression to
Rosemary around 6 PM when we are about to watch Rachel Maddow is, “It seems
that five minutes ago it was yesterday.” There is no Robert
Heinlein The Day After Tomorrow in this. It seems visceral and to use that 20th
century term, “existential”.
|Alexandra's birthday - Arboledas, Mexico 1973 - Bottom row fifth from right.|
It is Christmas time. The days are dark and rainy and I tend
to want to stay in bed with my cats and with Rosemary. I reflect on the past
year and of all my friends who are gone or disappeared when they junked their
land line. But most of all I think of my family and when I see my daughters and
granddaughters I see them as they were then, that rosy past that is my bygone in my
|Alexandra and sister Hilary|