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Skye McDonald... a bit of a tribute...

I don't want to start off morbidly, but here goes... This is the day my mom passed away, April 26, 2003.  14 years ago today. Her name was Skye McDonald. She was a beautiful, talented, energetic and, frankly, amazing woman. 

I think this is a picture of her in the hospital after she had me (she would have been 20 here). My father took this photo--one of the many photos he took of my mom...So I thought I'd write a blog entry as a bit of a tribute to her... a blog--it's really ironic, she was a self-professed Luddite! I thought I would post spots where we spent time together... or places that remind me of her. There were so many, but this is a few....

This one is the most significant to me... it's my childhood home. So many memories held behind this beautiful door... incidentally, this was the first time someone "caught" me taking a picture of their home! A lady poked her head out the window--"Hey! Why are you taking a picture of my house?!", so I told her... and she said ok! She invited me to have a look in the garden... I declined--I secretly wanted to go inside the house! She invited me to come back when the garden looked nicer. How sweet. 

This was the house we lived in while I was in high school. I remember her quilts all over the walls. I remember watching Life Goes On while lying on the living room floor covered in blankets and pillows singing the opening song at top volume! I remember spending a lot of time on the porch watching the world go by... chatting, snacking, reading. 

So many memories here, but my most vivid was discussing my travels after high school with her... how I would take my bike and travel what would be for almost 4 years... needless to say, tears were shed, many, many tears. I think about how I will feel when my daughter and I have a similar discussion...

This is now a lovely coffee shop, Locomotive Espresso. It was once Helen's Variety. It was owned by the sweetest Greek couple ever, Helen, of course, and Gus. Boy, were they the masters of patience! We spent a lot of time in that store! I honestly don't remember them ever kicking us out!! I remember buying licorice with the change from buying bags of "Homo"(ginized!) milk... I remember running to the store to get butter... my mom showing up at the store looking for us if we were ever missing in action (kids could wander the streets with their friends all those millions of years ago!). The giveaway would be all of the bicycles piled up in front of the store. 

The walks along the tracks on warm summer's nights. So many family walks... and bike rides... something we do with our children now. The streets and these tracks are filled with memories. 

More walks, bike rides and rollerblading excursions. I remember my mom learning to rollerblade--so proud of herself! We crossed this bridge so many times together, the wind whipping through our hair, our cheeks red from the sun and exhaustion... 

We spent a lot of our childhood downtown... we walked everywhere and we biked too.  We always did our errands downtown, shopping at the old Covent Garden Market. We'd always get cookies from Mrs. Havaris. We'd go to the market pet shop and say hello to Mac (the giant Mackaw!).  We'd stare longingly at the tiny, fluffy kittens and wonderously at the miniscule neon fish. 

The downtown is filled with old memories and now new ones with my own family. 

I've mentioned before, my mom had a studio in this building. She was a master calligrapher. Some of her work is still at City Hall and at Western. I remember watching her trace out her own lettering on beautiful sheaths of precious paper... or delicately painting... we marvelled at her talent. 

This was her view from her apartment behind city hall... we spent many days looking out over the park... she was at her most ill while she lived here. The sun would pour through the window and light up her whole apartment in a bright glow. Her quilts and calligraphy adorned all the walls. She was cocooned in warmth and beauty... family, art and quilts...

Colborne Street United Church. So many wonderful friends were made here. This was a great community. My mom loved to sing in the choir here. 

I could post a million more pictures I'm sure, but these are key spots. She also loved Gibbons Park. We spent a lot of time wandering... something, as most people know, I do an awful lot of now. 14 years since you've been gone, Skye McDonald... we live out your legacy every day... we walk the streets you walked... we do wish you were still here, if only for a moment, to join us on one of those golden, sunny evening walks we so enjoy... 

Gone... but never, for a minute, forgotten... 

Another generation of wanderers...


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