Sunday, March 4, 2012

Good-bye Mrs. Champion

Off today to the city to pay my respects to Mrs. Champion.

She had a first name, Mary, as well as a colourful, well-lived life with many friends, a loving family and worldly adventures, but she will always be Mrs. Champion to me.

I got dressed this morning, not wanting to be too funereal so decided on a plain black skirt and a purple blouse, and I put on some make-up, the first I have worn any since my cataract operations. As I did, I marvelled sadly at the lines on my face. It has shrunk, in these past few months, falling in on itself in a web of tired lines. I am not worried about this, per se, but I do notice it with a certain amount of resignation mixed with the realization that I'm not a kid anymore.

When I was a kid, I lived across the road from Mr. and Mrs. Champion and their houseful of kids. Their house was much like our own, being a cookie-cutter suburban bungalow built when subdivisions were the new love child of the 1960s and the world was everyone's oyster.

Mrs. Champion, though, she was a rare and exotic flower in my eyes. Known to enjoy a glass of wine on occasion, she could be found in her well-appointed living room that had actual paintings on the walls and a copy of her own book on the coffee table. She always reminded me of author Margaret Atwood, in looks and personality. Even her voice was similar. I imagined they were sisters, both authors, both with regal aquiline noses and austere wit and throaty chuckles. Her handsome husband, dear sweet Joe, always held her in the highest regard. After a lifetime together they still had a sparkle that danced between them. Their son, my friend Mark, used to say that sometimes he would look all over the house for his parents, only to discover them giggling in their bed under the sheets in the middle of the afternoon.

Joe, who used to take his evening cigarette on the front stoop watching the suburbanized world go by, has been gone so many years that I can't count. His sweetheart, the girl of his afternoons, soldiered on by herself for all this time, standing up to a multitude of health issues with her trademark stoicism and, I'm sure, a glass of wine from time to time.

Today I go to the city to remember her, but I will also recall the great love of her life and the indelible sweetness of their long romance.

My best wishes to all their children and their grandchildren and those who loved them most.


  1. A beautiful tribute Cathy, peace and love to you and to Mrs. Champion, I hope she and Joe are back giggling under the sheets somewhere.

  2. Beautiful, Cathy. Hugs to you, her family and friends on this hard day.

  3. Wonderful tribute - she sounds very special. And I echo Hillary's thoughts about her and Joe!

  4. She sounds like a very special lady.

  5. I want to grow old like Mrs. Champion. Thank you for the lovely reminisence.

  6. Love your line "face fallen in on itself in a web of fine lines." Beautiful. Excellent post.

  7. In just a few deft strokes, you paint a lovely, particular picture of Mrs. Champion--and the accompanying photograph is tremendous. I grew up in a suburban neighborhood as well, and know just what you mean about the rare and exotic flower. Here's to those rare and wonderful Mrs. Champions everywhere.

  8. This is a truly lovely tribute to a woman who made an imprint on your soul. Thank you for sharing a little of her with us. My best wishes to you and her family.

  9. Another alumni of Windridge Drive gone. I wonder if Mrs. Champion, Joe, Mr & Mrs Wilkins, Mr & Mrs Harret, Mrs Robinson, Jane and so many others will have a little reunion? Maybe they will eat Laura Secord candy that Mr Wilkins picked up on his way home.

    All lovely people from happy childhood memories.

  10. Farewell Mrs. Champion, stars ☆ like you burn brightly and one only has to look skyward to see your light!

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