Lauren & Rosemary's Benetton Sweater
Friday, February 12, 2021
|Lauren Elizabeth Stewart - 12 February 2021
Today was a day I waited with pleasant anticipation. Lauren
was going to come in the morning to pose for her Valentine’s Day portrait. I
had previously purchased two little frames so she can give one of them to her boyfriend
Because of the wonders of technology of this century we took just a few pictures. Lauren picked the one she liked and we printed two.
I will further write about this photograph in a blog on
Sunday explaining the significance of the jewellery displayed in it. The
Benetton sweater was my Rosemary’s. She had good taste for everything including
the clothes she wore. I believe Lauren is taking the same path.
Without Her on Our 52nd
Monday, February 08, 2021
|February 8, 2021. On Rosemary's wedding dress
Wedding Anniversary Blog 1
Wedding Anniversary Blog 2
Wedding Anniversary Blog 3
Two days after Wedding Anniversary
Eve of Wedding Anniversary at La Bodega
Today is my Rosemary’s and my wedding anniversary. It was
not to be that it would have been the 52nd that we would spend
There is one single positive fact about today’s anniversary
as it has forced me to face the task of writing this blog after weeks of
melancholic doldrums, feeling sorry for myself and for my cats Niño and Niña.
I look at many of my friends, some live alone, some have
been divorced more than once and I cannot fathom their situation. It has hit
hard for me that I have spent ¾ of my life with Rosemary and this separation
and the gloom will not leave me. This is particularly the case as I lie on my
bed (formerly our) with my two cats at night and look to the side of the bed
that was hers and I try to think of what it means that a presence, a once
palpable presence, is gone.
Perhaps the pandemic makes it all worse. I see few people. I
am lucky to have two daughters. While one of them, Ale, lives far in Lillooet
the other, Hilary, lives in Burnaby so I manage to see her twice a week.
With the weather improving I have been walking Niño around
the block. Many of my neighbours ask me about my wife as she was the one who
did the Niño walking. Explaining saddens what is almost a pleasant little
journey with my Niño. A couple of days
ago, Benji (a dog on a leash) approached Niño. Niño stood his ground. Benji
licked his face and Niño responded by walking around him and showing his
delight at making a new friend.
Is this the solution, to make new friends?
I am not too sure that Niño and Niño miss Rosemary. I
believe that they used to share with two humans. The presence of only one makes
them compete for attention so they are like chicle
(chewing gum) and they stick to me and follow me everywhere.
Anybody checking the date on our marriage certificate might
with some memory figure out that if Ale was born on August 27 of the same year
of our marriage that there is something off.
There is an explanation.
It took us a couple of months to get married once we knew
that Rosemary was pregnant in 1967. After repeated attempts of being told by
judges that they could not marry us without government permission as neither of
us were Mexican, I bribed the fourth judge with a good bottle of cognac. By
then my mother who was living in Veracruz was not present at the ceremony. Of
the ceremony I can state here that we were married in the then and now
fashionable (and historic) Coyoacán neighbourhood. I can also pretty well
confirm that in one of the trips that Rosemary and I made to Veracruz (nine
months before August 27, 1968) I made sure to oil the hinges in our separate
room doors. That Ale was conceived in that lovely and warm city of Veracruz, as I write
this, a bit of my melancholy of loss dissipates.
Rosemary and I had many adventures. Our life wasn’t always easy
but Rosemary’s ability to see ahead made it possible for our daughters and this
appreciative widower to not have to worry for what is left of my life. Our
daughters will manage.
And I will have to manage without her.
We dreamt together - together we woke up
Sunday, February 07, 2021
Blog in English follows the poem in Spanish.
Intimidad – Mario Benedetti
tiempo hace o deshace
importan tu sueño
que no cae
que es eterno
batalla es nuestra
detalle una ráfaga
abrirse y cerrarse
muerte la esconde
que me relates
que te callas
parte te ofrezco
puede la soledad
It is a pity that there is no translation into English of
Uruguayan poet Mario Benedetti's passionat poem. He never
pulled punches in writing about women, not so the standoffish Jorge Luís Borges who it is said was nagged by his
Some may wonder why there is a photograph of my foot that
I took in the first few days of February 2021.
The topic in question is all about the intimacies I
shared with my Rosemary during our almost 52 years together.
Since we were products of that last century our early
intimacies in my mother’s house in Veracruz (1967), in which I made sure our
adjoining rooms had well-oiled hinges, were what you would call groping in the
Soon after (even before we finally married on February 8
1968) Rosemary paraded her lovely body in her “paños menores”. This was an expression coined by my Manila-born
Spanish grandmother that translates to “minor underthings”.
I have no idea how Rosemary, who lived her early years in
a very small Ontario town, New Dublin, became such a fabulous exhibitionist.
My Rosemary was hermetic about her past life. When we met
she was 23 years old and she had brought a group of Canadian students to Mexico
City for a program that was called Program for International Living. Because she graduated from Queen’s in 1966 my
eldest daughter Ale has pointed out that Rosemary probably had little
experience or time for romance until she met this Argentine rake.
My Rosemary was a cool lover (not too much – just right)
except for a memorable evening in Mexico City sometime in April of 1971. Our
Hilary was born on December 17, 1971 so counting back nine months I would calculate
she was conceived in the beginning or mid-April of that year. How do I know?
Rosemary had gone to visit her mother and she might have
told her that we were having a rough time. Her mother, Marjorie, must have told
her, “Go back to Mexico City and make sure you have another child.”
I went to pick up Rosemary at the Benito Juárez Airport
and she was wearing this tight orange-yellow print dress which I was familiar with.
But I did not recollect it being that short.
Since this is a blog that expresses finesse I can only
report that I was subjected to a most passionate assault on my body.
Whenever our daughters were in school Rosemary and I
sometimes indulged in that Mexican bulwark called the lazy, afternoon siesta.
Luckily no further children were born.
While Rosemary always had a lovely face and she was
moderately endowed with a lovely chest it was just looking at her legs (only my
mother had such nice legs and unlike Borges’s mother she never really nagged me)
that raised the temperature even in those cold Mexico City nights.
Because we had a live-in housekeeper this meant that
Rosemary and I experienced quite a few weekends in lovely Mexican towns where we could imagine that we were not
yet married and groping was allowed.
Once in Vancouver, sometime in the mid 80s this man came
down with mumps. Our family doctor had
never had a full grown male come down with that malady. But he did tell me that
my child bearing days were over. That did not seem to affect my Rosemary much.
It was about then when we started to take tub baths together. Once we moved to
our Kerrisdale home which had a lovely tub our tub baths increased in
frequency. They persisted in our Kitsilano home. The tub was smaller. Feet got in the way.
That brings me to the photograph illustrating this blog.
In all our years we always slept in the same bed. We read in the same bed, had
snacks in the same bed, breakfasted in the same bed. The only time I was really banned from being on it
was when Rosemary tutored, Hilary and later our two granddaughters Rebecca and
Rosemary had a penchant for nice towels and nice sheets.
This is probably the reason why it is only now that I will probably snip in two
our Hudson’s Bay card. Our bed was always well made and those sheets were
pristine and were always changed on Mondays.
On those few really hot August evenings we both slept on
the bed with no covers and our paños
menores were reduced to none. This was a luxury we loved. Lucky for me,
Rosemary wore lovely white or light blue silk nighties.
My choice for many years was the male nightgown. It does not have to be removed, when necessary
(unlike pyjama pants). So stuff
happened with frequency until Rosemary became sick halfway through 2020.
Anybody who has been patient enough to get to here will
now understand the presence of my foot.
Rosemary complained when I did not cut
my toenails and I would scratch her with my preliminary attempts at playing
footsies in bed.
I really do not need to snip my toenails (socks last
longer if you do), but I did so in honour of her memory. I did cry even if it
did not physically hurt.