According to St.Luke the Physician it is Good for the Soul
Saturday, October 22, 2022
|Rosa 'Westerland' 22 October 2022|
|Rosa 'Ebb Tide' 22 October 2022|
King James Bible
And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave
unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in
remembrance of me.
I never inject my religious beliefs into my blogs. But I
often mention this citation from St. Luke which to me “Do this in
remembrance of me,” is one of the finest bits of writing anywhere. It does not
make a difference if you are a believer or not, to do some action, even
an ordinary one, and to dedicate it to the memory of someone you love (or loved
if dead) has no parallel.
My Rosemary died on December 9 2020 and there is not one day
(day or night) that I do not remember her and the life we shared for 52 years.
I have a friend who is married but says he is happy to live in
solitude. Unlike me he has been married before and had children with that first
wife. He has lived in two cities in the US with these two women. I am unable to
understand his contentment.
In my case I shared Mexico City, Burnaby, Vancouver and many
trips to Mexico, the US, Argentina, Uruguay, Spain, France, England and Italy
with her. We shared a large garden, two granddaughters and two daughters. We
shared a love for dance, theatre, music and art. We loved to travel.
Having to live alone (ameliorated by the fact I have two generously
affectionate cats, Niño and Niña, brother and sister), forces me into an
unwanted but inescapable isolation. Luckily I can count my blessings of having
lived a lifetime with Rosemary.
Today when I scanned a droopy Rosa ‘Westerland’(cut it
yesterday but it did not like to wait until today to be scanned) and a dark red
Rosa ‘Ebb Tide’, I did not have to think far to figure out that the two roses
were all about Rosemary and that to scan them was an action of remembrance of
In Spanish “to share” is “compartir”. It is a beautiful word
that has not been ruined by the social media kind of sharing. It literally
means to part with (as in break with) and its origins may be from St. Luke and
of Christ breaking bread to share with His apostles.
The orange rose was a rose that finally made Rosemary
realize that a bright colour could be a nice one in a garden even if it was not
blue or white (her favourite garden colours). We shared a love for this
prolific and very healthy rose to which I always made Rosemary smile when I
reminded her that it had the scent of synthetic apricot jam. And even in its droopy state it is lovely in what may be its last gasp until next year.
The second rose, a much more recent acquisition that
Rosemary was able to see before she died, is a dark red colour that ages almost
to black. She loved it elegance and its perfectly symmetrical petal layout.
While I scan, I try not to think as people are constantly
telling me, “She would have liked that you are scanning these two roses.”
It is enough for me that the scanning of them, and
many other plants, which now are near 3000, since I started in 2001; will probably disappear when I go to my own
But while I am alive it is a personal remembrance. A
remembrance that St. Luke the physician would say is good for the soul.
Monday, October 17, 2022
|Rebecca Stewart & Brother Edwin Reggio,C.S. C. - Austin, Texas 2010|
Afew days ago I sent the paragraph below to my eldest
granddaughter Rebecca who is now 25.
& I are in an extraordinary occurrence. I first met my Manila born Tía
Fermina in Buenos Aires when I was 8. You met her in Houston when you were 11.
I met Inecita,my godmother and first cousin when I was 8 at my birthday party
(I don't remember her from my baptism!) & you met her when you were 7. I
had Brother Edwin, C.S.C. as a teacher
in 1958 & I was 16. You were 10 when you stayed at St. Joseph's Hall. Also
statistically nice, Abi [my wife Rosemary] not only met and we lived with my
mother but also my grandmother. And of course she knew Inecita and Brother Edwin.
Abi and I watched my mother die. You and I watched Abi die. You even met my
half brother. You and I cannot escape this bond. It is a wonder.
That is quite
incredible. Never thought of it until now.
In my life there are multiple instances on the whims of why
things happen. In an open letter, in my desk that I have never read written by
my mother’s paramour when she was in Manila I know that in the contents he
confesses that he is gay. My mother, sister, brother and widowed mother
immediately moved to Buenos Aires. Which is why I was born there some years later.
In 1977 I participated in a coup (with 1906 Mauser in hand)
against the then president of Argentina, Arturo Illía. He went home in a cab.
In 1972 he gave a lecture at the Universidad Iberoamericana in Mexico City
where I was teaching. After his lecture I told him about our connection. He gave
me a big hug.
When I left Buenos Aires after my two year conscription in
the Argentine Navy I was able to get on an ELMA (Empresa Líneas Marítimas
Argentinas) Victory Ship called Río Aguapey that took me to my mother’s home in
Veracruz. Only 10 years ago I found out it had been built in the Burrard
Shipyards in North Vancouver.
At the end of 1967 after a short trip to San Francisco I had
my hear, hippie style to my shoulders. I was laying around in a Veracruz beacn
not knowing what to do with my life. I moved to Mexico City and my friend Raúl
Guerrero Montemayor instructed me on the Berlitz method for teaching a language
and he put me into a school where we were sent out to teach the executives and
secretaries of American companies. It was there where I first set eyes on
Rosemary. We were married the next year. I was 25 and Rosemary was 23.
While working washing cars at Tilden-Rent-a-Car on Alberni
Street in 1977 I was taking stroke improvement classes at the YMCA. A lovely
woman from Montreal in my class found out I was a photographer. She asked me to
photograph her. I did not know that she worked in the gift department of Holt
Renfrew and that she placed my portraits of her in frames there. That led the
whole Army & Navy Cohen family to hire me for portraits which ultimately
took me from Vancouver Magazine fashion editor Gabriel Levy to art director
Rick Staehling and editor Malcolm Parry. My magazine photography career began
The coincidences thanks to Vancouver Magazine, the
Georgia Straight and the Globe and Mail have placed me facing with my camera
many of the local (and foreign) politicians, celebrities, actors, persons of
ill repute, etc, so that my files and my blogs are an extensive history of the events of our city, a city
with a poor memory for its past.
Ken "Terrific" Sim
Sunday, October 16, 2022
|Mayor Jack Volrich -1980|
Tonight 15 October 2022 I could not sleep (I am writing this
16 October) thinking about the significance, to this rank amateur in all things
politics, of the win for Vancouver Mayor of Ken Sim.
In spite of my above statement my life has revolved on a few
men of politics.
The first one was on 26 June 1966. I was a conscript of the
Argentine Navy. I was handed a 1906 Mauser and told to report to the troops
surrounding the Casa Rosada, on Plaza de Mayo in Buenos Aires. Through a
loudspeaker President Dr. Arturo Illía (a simple country doctor) was given 60
minutes to vacate the building. Forty five minutes later he went home in a
taxi. The coup ushered in many years of repressive military regimes. In 1972 Illía
gave a talk on the discrepancy between huge American company budgets and the small ones of
Latin American countries at the Jesuit Universidad Iberoamericana. I was a
professor there. I met him and told him of my role in his unseating as
Argentine president. With a big smile he gave me a big abrazo.
My second political experience happened when I was a
beginning and inexperienced magazine photographer in Vancouver. Vancouver
Magazine Editor Malcolm Parry and Art Director Rick Staehling dispatched me to
City Hall in 1980 to a council meeting and told to take an unflattering portrait of
Mayor Jack Volrich. My photograph became, I believe, my second Vancouver
My next venture into city politics involved two men. One was
the Southam mediafortune scion Harvey Southam and his Equity Magazine Editor Mike
Campbell (brother of future Vancouver mayor and premier Gordon Campbell). One
day I walked into Southam’s office and told him that I had had a very pleasant
lunch with Alderman (what they were called then) Bill Yee and that he could be
Vancouver's first ethnic mayor." Southam looked at me, and with a smile on
his face he replied, "Not while we
Rick Staehling who by that time, 1987, was working at Equity
in the presence of Editor Mike Campbell, told me to photograph Alderman Harry
Ranking with a green filter (to make him look older, etc). Ranking was running
for mayor against Campbell’s brother Gordon. To my complete surprise my photograph
was a two-page spread with a huge banner headline Quietly Communist. The
article was written by the right-wing Vancouver Sun columnist Doug Collins.
After that, with the increased influence of magazines in
Vancouver, I photographed all the mayors except for the incumbent who just lost.
I visited Mayor Sam Sullivan at his City Hall office many times as we were
I was unaware of the power of city hall in their relation
with developers until I met architect Ned Pratt. He accompanied me on a tour of
my Kerrisdale neighbourhood that was systematically being torn down and
so-called monster house were replacing what had been there. He told me, “I am sure that the folks at City Hall are
I know next to nothing about Ken Sim except that people I speak
with all tell me (where do they get their facts?), “Sim is in bed with developers.”
An influential woman, elderly now, but still powerful, Nini Baird,
has the theory that the increasing density of Vancouver is due to the isolation
of the towns and cities of the interiors. With little future, with no railroads
or buses, the folks there come to Vancouver for what they think will be a
better life.My daughter who lives in Lillooet can only come to Vancouver in her car and for medical services she has to drive to Kamloops.
It was Premier Gordon Campbell who sold BC Rain to CN and then
CN folded it. I believe that there are many spots between North Vancouver and
Squamish where short double tracking would make it possible for trains going in
one direction to wait while another was going into the opposite direction. The
lovely Pemberton train station is now a café and the other lovely Lillooet
station is empty.
Anywhere else, in developed countries, the isolation of
Vancouver’s interior would be a scandal. Whistler can be reached by a bus but you must take it at the airport.
I remember well, at a lecture, that former Premier Mike
Harcourt gave at the downtown campus of Simon Fraser University. He said, “To solve homelessness we have to build
homes.” Will Premier-in-waiting David Eby and Mayor Ken Sim get together
(do Vancouver Mayors and BC Premiers ever get together?) and build homes?
I have lived in two big cities, Buenos Aires, Mexico City,
two smaller ones, Austin and Veracruz and I can state that Vancouver has become
a pot-hole city with few rivals. Streets are rarely re-paved. Patches are
placed on patches. Construction on Marine drive around Main has been going on
for so long that the Egyptians could have done a quicker job. Buenos Aires I
define as controlled chaos. Vancouver has to be uncontrolled chaos.
But then Vancouver, unlike Buenos Aires (in spite of its now
83% inflation the trains and the subways run on time and the streets are
smooth), is a city where lack of foresight gave us a three lane Lions Gate
Bridge and a four lane tunnel in Richmond.
We in Vancouver have to re-define the meaning of a ghetto.
Folks who lived in our Chinatown lived there because they could not afford to
live anywhere else. The immigrants who come in do not want to live there.
They can afford to live where they want. Chinatown will become a museum and like our other museums, the Vancouver Museum
and the Maritime Museum made irrelevant and forgotten.
A ghetto, now. is not one place. It is the surrounding outer
areas of Vancouver or the Gulf Islands where people think they are able to purchase less
Vancouver in its day had City Planner Ray Spaxman. He had a vision for our city. Can Sim find someone like him to give our city a positive future? Architecture and political writer Sean Rossiter brought depth to reporting for Vancouver Magazine and the Georgia Straight. What publication or radio station will pick up where Rossiter left off?
Before Kennedy Stewart was involved in this election, months
ago I would ask passers-by or people in restaurants if they could name our
mayor. Few could.
Perhaps Ken Sim might become Ken "Terrific" Sim. My only
advice to him is to study the accomplishments of a former mayor, Mayor Arthur
And I am sure that Bill Yee must be quietly smiling.