2014 01 28 Article "I remember" on the Obit page of the Globe and Mail Print
Written by Andrew Stevenson   

click here for online piece "I remember" on William Stevenson

Today's Globe and Mail published a piece in the "I remember" column of the Obits section. The following was taken from a letter I wrote to my father and gave to him two years ago. It was a chance to say what we feel about the people we love. Dad had a remarkable life, or lives, for he seemed to live so many adventures, and he achieved a huge amount, but what I remember him most for was his dedication to his family.

William Stevenson


January 28, 2014

Bermuda -- As I fulfill my role as a father to two daughters, I only become more aware of the challenges of being a good parent while meeting life's other challenges. My father, William Stevenson, managed to do both.

I remember him as being loving and fun-loving throughout my childhood.

In Hong Kong, I remember sailing in our junk, and having my own little sailboat pulled behind. I remember going for long walks along the water conduits for the dams that supplied Hong Kong's water.

I remember all through my childhood having pets - including a boa constrictor and an iguana. I remember learning how to ride horses and water-ski before I was eight years old. I remember his sense of humour. I remember a powered model airplane we assembled and tried to fly, unsuccessfully. I remember swim lessons and French lessons after school (most of which I sneaked out of).

In India, at age eight, I remember weeks spent during holidays with him and my brother Kevin in Kashmir and horse-riding and fishing for trout in Himalayan streams, and paddling among the floating gardens of the lake where we lived in a houseboat.

In Canada, at age 10, I remember the summer spent at a cottage in Muskoka.

In Kenya, I remember going on safari with Nick Carter, darting and moving rhinos from one area to another. I remember Little Owl, the orphaned rhino, and riding on its back and feeding it milk from a bottle. I remember our rustic cottage at Vipingo, insects buzzing around the noisy pressure lantern at night while my father told us stories, exploring the beach and reefs on foot. I remember driving in our Peugeot station wagon through Nairobi National Park and later going to the drive-in cinema on the way home. My father instilled in me a sense of exploration and adventure, a love of nature and animals.

In Malaysia, I remember living in a trailer on the beach at Port Dickson where we water-skied, explored and caught dogfish. I remember exploring the jungle trails in the Cameron Highlands, and chilly, misty evenings and mornings spent sitting around a fire listening to his stories.

Through these travels, he provided us with a sense of wonder, a desire to do more than simply find a steady career and work until retirement. How he managed to accomplish so much in his life and still be a good and fun-loving dad is a remarkable achievement.

Back in Canada, he somehow enrolled me at UTS, the best school I ever attended. I remember the sound of the click-clacking of his typewriter. I remember how hard he worked in the evenings after a full day of work at the CBC, with clotheslines criss-crossing his office and clothes pegs holding up sheets of manuscript. I cannot fathom how he managed to write and edit books like that without a computer. I remember staying with him at the Algonquin Hotel in New York as he wrote Ninety Minutes at Entebbe, and how he shared these heady experiences with me. I remember Christmases sitting around a fire in the living room as he told us stories such asHerbert the Dragon. I remember him coming up to the third floor of our home and kissing me goodnight and the feel of his prickly beard and the smell of him, a smell I still recall though he is no longer here.

I miss our long walks, our conversations, e-mails and the constant sense of validation he gave me for the choices I have made in my life. For all he did to make me what I am, I am thankful.