I don’t know much at all about blogs, but your insightful and delightfully warm remembrance of our former colleague and friend Rob Eikenaar was first class. It was heartening to see so many teachers, students, parents and friends in attendance, and I for one thought Rob’s memorial service was the most touching send off I have ever attended. In no small way that was thanks to you and Kim along with Rob’s family for providing those in attendance with a clear reminder of what type of man Rob was and celebrating his passing in a thoughtful and dignified way.
I am a granddaughter of Florie Johnston’s younger sister Mabel Taylor. Her full name was Florence Bessie Taylor. My father, John Henry Taylor, was Mary’s first cousin. He was always very fond of her although saw relatively little of her during the latter half of his life as we emigrated to Australia with his family in 1957. I knew her a little myself in her old age when I returned to the UK to live.
Since my retirement and my parents’ deaths, I have been researching their families. I came across Lukin Johnston some time ago and was immediately intrigued by his story. I was delighted to discover your book recently, keen to learn more about Florie and Mary’s lives in the Johnston family as well as to discover more about Lukin and his very untimely death.
I was immediately caught up in the story you tell about Rufus; you bring him and the Britain and Canada he experienced in his relatively short life, so vividly to life. As you point out in your final commentary, his family circumstances, upbringing and the times he lived in, along with his own genetic make up, forged a truly extraordinary individual. As a bonus I was able to fill in some gaps about Florie and about Mary, who was also – in her own way – a rather exceptional individual. An observation she would have firmly rejected, I imagine! I am so glad you wrote this book. My thanks and best wishes to you and to Val, who is a sort of half-cousin by marriage I suppose.
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