Sunday, January 31, 2010
A couple of Icelandic Canadians dropped by
Len and Karen, Icelandic Canadians, visited us for 24 hours on their way back from a cruise ( Mexico) and en route to Palm Springs. We enjoyed hearing many stories about their extensive travels.
In 2001 they spent the year in Bosnia working for an International Redevelopment Organization as part of a Canadian team. In early 2002 they did a house exchange with a family whose home was in Bern. They had a very pleasant neighbor with whom they were having a conversation. She asked about where they'd been recently and he started to tell her about Bosnia. They described the bombed out buildings and lines of homeless people. Her mouth was hanging open and she exclaimed that she couldn't believe they hadn't heard about these awful things. Later on Len thought about the exchange and concluded that something misfired in the communication because why wouldn't they have heard about Bosnia. The next time he saw her he told her that he felt that something hadn't been understood and repeated some of the story. Ah, she said BOSNIA - I thought you were talking about BASEL. She said she would immediately have to go and make some phone calls.
We ate pierogis and fake Jeannie's cake (cake was too dry, but the icing was close) for lunch and talked about our wonderful childhoods living in a place where we were free to roam once we were about 10 years old. Tobogganing, playing stretch, hide and go seek with about 100 kids; running around in the neighborhood was like one huge backyard.
And we spent some moments remembering Axel, Len's father and Jill, my mother and their relationship for the last 15 years of their lives - the fun they had together and how much pleasure it gave to us. Following is a link to his eulogy:
Last but not least, we called Miss Perfect up in Canada. She was one of our beloved high school teachers, mostly Math and is now over 90. She and Len have happily kept in touch and I can see why. She sounded totally alert and with it on the phone and we had a few nice words. She had so many students over her long career and she said she could hardly walk down the street without running into a former student. Miss Perfect was tall, lean and had perfect posture. I remember her clothes were always fine and well maintained - spit polish shoes and crisp white blouses. With gun metal grey hair cut very short and always neat, she was a great role model for the girls. You always wanted to do well for her - she engendered that kind of reaction in her students. Actually her name is Mary B. Perfect, the B standing for Beatrice. Karen mentioned that her parents gave her a lot to live up to and she did.