So why am I sharing this? Because a friend, a dear friend of my parents, is gone. But the loss is significant here because this person sparked my fascination with lettering. Oh, so long ago.
I guess I was 10 years old. We’d moved to Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan and as we looked out the back window of our new house to the neighbour’s, we saw the largest cage we had *ever* seen. It never took my mother long to solve a puzzle. That was how we met John Stolarski and his family. John was an RCMP Dogmaster. And he loved Italic lettering. He shared nibs and ink with me and an instruction book that I cannot remember the name of. He took my parents to an RCMP Ball in Regina. He took me out on the bald prairie one weekend, asked for my scarf and told me to go hide. Then he laughed at my saucer-eyed expression when his huge German Shepherd suddenly found my scent and came roaring over a little rise towards me. And when we had our first son many years later, he and Mildred brought the gift of a wonderful stuffed bunny with bendy ears. I remember sitting beside John watching him give that bunny life and character by rearranging his ears, chuckling the whole time. "Mr. B" still sits on the shelf behind my chair. His ears are pretty worn out now, though!
John passed away a few weeks ago and it feels like I’ve lost my parents all over again.
Our paths weave in and out and lives tangle and stray and often come back together. I haven’t seen the Stolarskis in years. But the memories are still vivid and never forgotten.
John never stopped addressing Christmas cards in his jet black, strong Italic hand. Watch for the next black cloud in the sky. Perhaps John has spilled his bottle of ink.
My deepest sympathy to Mildred and Shawnee for their loss. And my apologies to John that this quote, lettered many years ago, isn't even Italic!