|Deer Park Library|
I mentioned all this to hubs as we watched a few minutes of this old black and white comedy, and he asked "What other famous people did you know?" My rather hasty response was "Oh gee, no one, I don't know any famous people" But he persisted, saying that I didn't have to be best buddies with them, but had I ever had any encounter of any kind with anyone well-known. That got me thinking and I realized that over the years my path had indeed crossed the paths of several famous individuals.
So indulge me this morning and let me list my encounters with celebrities, politicians and other famous people. I'd love to know about yours!
Ovide Mercredi. Ovide was an Aboriginal Canadian politician, very well known in Canada. He travelled far afield, speaking at the United Nations in Geneva and New York. Around 1993/1994 he went to Mexico as head of a Canadian delegation to the troubled Mexican state of Chiapas. I had a chance meeting with him there in Ixtapa. I was on a holiday with my sister and we went to a new restaurant for dinner one night. The staff did not speak English very well. I speak a little Spanish, just enough to get by on, and was enjoying using what Spanish I know with the restaurant staff.
At the table next to us was a distinguished-looking man about our age with a woman. The stranger at the next table was listening and finally he spoke, telling me that the staff thought he was Indian from Mexico and so they insisted on speaking Spanish to him. But he did not understand them, and would I mind translating for him. So I did, and we began chatting. He introduced himself when I told him he looked familiar. It was Ovide Mercredi and he was taking a break from the talks in Chiapas. We had a very pleasant conversation for a few hours as we enjoyed our meals.
Gordon Lightfoot, Canadian songwriter and singer. For many years Gord had a home near Penetanguishene which is a few miles from where I live. He also sailed on Georgian Bay in his sailboat Golden Goose. I also sailed in those days (both for pleasure and competively) as crew on a 30 foot sailboat called Bobby Shaftoe. Georgian Bay is a tricky Bay to sail in with lots of shoals and vast stretches of open water. If you are crossing from Penetanguishene or Midland heading to Tobermory on the other side, you need to watch the weather as strong gales and huge waves can come up suddenly. One beautiful day four of us decided to take a run to Tobermory for a weekend away. I can't recall the year but it was in the 70s.
We had several hours of fighting the storm, wind and waves together as we yelled back and forth to each other. Finally we made Tobermory Bay and we anchored, as did Gord. I immediately pulled out my tape recorder (remember those?) and began playing my Gordon Lightfoot songs at full volume. Gord came out on deck and I yelled out "Hey Gord, do you like my music?" (Now so embarrassing to think about but at the time I thought I was quite clever). His response was a grumbled "It's interfering with my playing!" And he disappeared below deck. I don't think I impressed Gord very much that day.
John Dieffenbaker, 13th Prime Minister of Canada. I happened to pass him in a deserted hallway of the old Pearson Airport in Toronto in the early 1970s. He was within an arm's length from me, surrounded by 3 or 4 staff aka bodyguards. I did something something out of character - smiled and said "Hello Mr. Dieffenbaker!" He looked up and nodded his head, then kept on walking. That counts as a semi-encounter I think.
|Lincoln Alexander & Lorine|
Guy Lombardo, bandleader. I happened to be on an elevator with him in my hotel in Forida in the late 1960s or very early 1970s. I think it was in Fort Lauderdale but it was so long ago I'm not sure. We were the only two on the elevator but I was too shy to speak up.
I couldn't think of anyone else but hubs seemed to think my list was pretty good. He couldn't recall anyone famous with whom he was ever in any kind of encounter, but maybe you have an encounter or two or several that you can share with us? It was a fun exercise and brought up a lot of old memories. I plan to add this blog post to my Genealogy Journal for my children to enjoy reading one day.