2014 01 28 Article "I remember" on the Obit page of the Globe and Mail Print E-mail
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.


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