In which I have lost a member of my village

The Commander’s wonderful friend Ginny died last night. I was told she died peacefully in her sleep. She was 94.

The Comm and Ginny met when they moved to Sault Ste. Siberia with their husbands after WWII. My dad and his siblings were friends with the Boult boys growing up and mom and Ginny turned out to be fast friends. As it turned out, Ginny’s youngest daughter was my age and we also grew up as friends. I spent a lot of time over at that house (which was only a couple blocks from my grandparents’). I always felt welcome there and many many good times were had.

I can’t even begin to describe Ginny or the many accomplishments she made in her life. Like the popular “science room” she ran at Finlayson School, this woman who hadn’t even completed a college degree. And she didn’t learn to drive until much later in life than most people do. The Boult house was right next to the A&P grokkery store and close to downtown and it was possible in those days to live in Sault Ste. Siberia without driving a car. Mr. Boult and the kids drove but Ginny didn’t drive when I was a child. Many times, The Comm would pick up Ginny for various expotitions, sometimes with Helen and I, other times not. But always fun times. Trips to the woundrous Textile Shop over on Queen Street in Canada and whatever. Ginny did eventually learn to drive and continued to do so with aplomb until a botched hip surgery left her unable to get around at all except via a motorized chair. Sigh.

My memories from all of those good years are unorganized tonight. Ginny was one of FV’s first residents and, when The Comm got to the point where it was unsafe for her to live alone in her house, I hoped that living in the same place as one of her best friends would make it all okay. While I think it helped that Ginny was there, The Comm never did get accustomed to living away from her home and her beloved vee-hickle. When The Comm’s health rather unexpectedly took a turn for the worse, I’ll never forget Ginny telling me she wanted my mom to get better and how much she would miss my mom if she died. Mom and I were on a tortuous journey together at that point and I wanted so much to provide some reassuring words but I really didn’t have them…

I have kind of a love / hate relationship with that whole “it takes a village” saying. It was annoying when the beach urchins were young and the school tried to shove that down our throats. I put in a lot of time as a parent volunteer and couldn’t help but notice all the kids who had [seemingly] absolutely no support whatsoever outside of school. I often thought something like, “We cannot do it all! What about the parents?” But it *does* take a village. I was one of the fortunate ones with engaged parents, two sets of doting grandparents, and wonderful aunts, uncles, and cousins on both sides of my family. And I had people like Ginny who welcomed me into her home and family as I grew up alongside her daughter.

I am not all that sad about this. 94 years is a long time to live and I am going to guess that Ginny was ready to go. I’m glad that she went peacefully without having to endure multiple emergency trips to the damn hoosegow. My condolences go to her surviving children. I know how much they will miss her.

2 Responses to “In which I have lost a member of my village”

  1. Margaret Says:

    Living to that age and dying in one’s sleep would be nice, in my opinion. Losing a member of one’s “village” is never easy though. My parents’ best friends have all died and I grew up with them–hung out with their kids and in their houses. It seems strange to me still that they’re gone.

  2. Pooh Says:

    So, Ginny Boult and Jean (Cam) Boult were sisters-in-laws? It gets confusing when half the people have nicknames and married names and maiden names. At least they are not Russian names. I was sure there were twice or thrice as many people in “Dr. Zhivago”, because I couldn’t figure out which names went to the same person.