Monday, 15 June 2015

School days gone by, memories of Mary Ann

Many of you out there will no doubt recognize this lovely and neat home sitting proudly at 633 Hurontario Street, and many of you will most definitely remember the lovely young woman who once called it home.  I had done this pen & ink sketch long ago with the intent to follow it up with a watercolour as a present to my friend Mary Ann and her husband Paul.  Circumstances were to take a sad twist, and unfortunately my plan was to fall to the wayside.

Mary Ann Lougheed (nee Norton) was a dear childhood friend of mine from way way back.  Her wonderful and kind parents, Joan & Les were dear friends of my grandparents Neil and Reba.  In addition to sharing the label of being somewhat spoiled "only children", Mary Ann and I shared several traits, a love of music, a love of laughter, and a devoted obsession to our cars.  I'm quite certain many will recall her tooling around town in her beloved Camaro Z-28, a gift from Joan and Les when she got her driver's permit.  She kept that car seemingly forever, much like me and my beloved Jeep.

From our early days laughing our heads off in the school library at Connaught (much to the chagrin of the librarian), to our days standing out chatting in front of her Feminine Touch storefront on Hurontario Street, we were always eager to share a laugh or two.  I remember well one occasion when we were standing by the Bank of Montreal at the beginning of one of the earliest Elvis Festivals.  As we chatted, a Greyhound bus was dropping off its charges across the way, and as it departed, we were left with the sight of a dude dressed in full Elvis regalia and a tiny silver suitcase sitting on the sidewalk beside him that reminded me of a hooker's make-up case. We laughed our heads off, and somewhere in musical heaven I believe Elvis lobbed a half eaten pork chop down at us!

I remember her wedding to Paul as if it were yesterday.  Held at historic St. George's Church in Clarksburg on the 19th of February, 1994. As her mother Joan had passed away, Mary Ann was supported by her dad Les and her grandma Ida Gibson.  It was an unusually warm February day, and it seemed like the sun was blessing all in attendance.

Even after I moved away from town, we continued to stay in touch.  I remember well the week we found out she was sick. I dropped in to see her and she said "All was well, the doctor's were just running tests.  All would be fine." A week later, my mom called me saying that Mary Ann had gotten bad news. I called her immediately, and I will never forget the smallness and the sadness in her voice.  It reminded me so much of the little girl I had first met so very long ago.

Mary Ann passed away on Tuesday February 22nd, 2005, slightly more than a week after my dear grandma Reba.  Life and fate is never carved in stone, and sometimes one never knows when the sands of our time here on earth will run out.  However, if we hold the memories of those friends and family members no longer with us deep in our heart, a part of them will stay with us forever!


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