My Aunt..Isobel Pitkethly has passed. The Grand Duchess of Lockhart has gone....gone but not forgotten. She is most fondly remembered by all of us here, and by everyone who met her.
The old rhyme says that “Friday's is loving and giving”...and Isobel was a Friday child.....in spades.
The themes that resonate with remembrances of Isobel are her Grace, her Spirituality, her Joy of Life and her wonderful sense of humour.
She departed on Sunday with these qualities firmly intact, and when she passed, she left them for us to remember her by.
She herself, after 101 years had a lot of memories:
She saw the funeral procession for Wilfred Laurier...and remembered how somber everyone was, all dressed in black and the decoration of the black horses in the funeral cortege
She remembered the Armistice Day( Nov 11, 1918)....But when she got up to the sound of the Church bells ringing which would have been 11 am Greenwich Meant time she was sent back to bed because it was too early.....at a more civilized hour she and my grandparents went uptown for the local celebrations...and she had cinnamon toast for the first time......I think the toast made a stronger impact on her than the Armistice..
Throughout her life, there were other notable food discoveries, some of them quite later on....It was in her nineties she discovered Tim Horton's, and the modern miracle of “to the door” delivery.
Being able to have Pizza or Chinese Food brought right to your door, re-enabled her to host the parties she so loved, and we had many a jolly family gathering at her home at Northwest One.
I hold dear a personal event in Isobel's food adventures, again it was in her nineties that I introduced her to the wonderful concoction that results from adding a drop of Drambuie to a cup of cocoa....”Where have you been all my life?” she asked, when she first tried this nectar of the chocolate gods.
Isobel was very athletic, notably a wonderful swimmer, but also a basketball and track standout...in fact in 1929 at Lisgar Collegiate, she was awarded the first ever trophy “Awarded for General Proficiency in Girls Athletics”....I suppose today we would call it “Female Athlete of the Year”
I fondly remember summers at the cottages on Lockhart Avenue where lunch was Lipton Chicken Noodle Soup and peanut butter and brown sugar sandwiches, followed by the mandatory hour of separated quiet time before we could go swimming again.
It was there that the Pitkethly's had their adventure with the resident skunk family..I'll say no more....
There were more summer visits by my sister Anne and I with John and Cathy and Jim and Isobel at their cottage at the Boulders ..lots of good memories there including the ongoing battle with the raccoons over the garbage, and Isobel's ingenious devices constructed to thwart the pesky critters...as anyone who has tried to thwart raccoons knows full well, these devices were alas, usually futile.
Isobel had a strong an abiding faith and spirituality and has inspired many many others. It served her well through the difficult times in her own life, and the lives of those with whom she shared it.
Nobody enjoyed a good joke or story more than Isobel, she had so many of her own, and was always entertained by someone else's. She could also deliver a line as well as any TV sitcom star...indeed, one night she asked Jim to please take out the garbage....when he demurred “because it was raining” she calmly replied: “Well carry your 9 Iron with you and you won't notice the rain”..
As I said earlier, Isobel left this world in firm possession of her wits, her spirituality, her joy of life and her sense of humour. She will be missed, but more importantly, she will be long remembered. I don't think anyone can think of Isobel Pitkethly without smiling over a fond memory of her.
There used to be a TV interview show, and as a conclusion, the host would ask his Actor guests a set series of questions, the last of which was “When you get to the Pearly Gates, what would you like to hear?” I know that last Sunday Isobel was told “Welcome Isobel... Jim, Cathy, Harriet, and your parents are waiting for you at the beach.”