January 22 at 7:21am ·
Bye Bye Kate
Such a sad Day
My wonderful friend Kate Passed away today.
It was 1964. I was on my way to the Village shop, Across the narrow road from the Village shop a vision bound up through the garden gate and onto the road, hair very short like a Mary Quant, an elegant dress in that sixties style tight at the top and a little flair out from the waist. Hello, she said! as she opened the door to a gleaming Jaguar and sat down next to her future husband Jacques. Kate sped away not to be seen again by me for years. I turned left up the stairs to the Village shop and paused for a moment at the door. The shop was old and had double fronted windows bordering the central shop door. what would I say to the girl inside? I need to impress her. Jacquay was at the back of the shop, I plucked up the courage, 10 Craven A ( cigarettes ) please, For heavens sake I didn’t even smoke, how pathetic.
It did the trick though and later she would become my Wife.
Some years later on a trip down to Penticton from our logging Camp on the Queen Charlottes Islands ( Haida Gwaii ) Jacquay and I stopped in to visit Kate and Jacques. It was the winter of 69/70 It happened to be the coldest winter in the Valley for some time. the Lake was frozen from Penticton north as far as the eye could see. Two tug boats and their large barge of railroad cars were stuck in the ice.
We stayed in there little Cabin on Lower bench Rd, in an Orchard that belongs to the Schwank’s. The Cabin was tiny but Kate had it looking fantastic. That first night the temperatures dropped like a stone. The Cabin walls were paper thin with no insulation, Ice started to build up on the inside of our bedroom wall. we were freezing! we got up and dressed in everything we had and jumped back into bed. The temperature by now had dropped so low, there came a bang like a shot from a gun, going off just outside, then another. It was so cold the Apple trees were exploding and they were being split down the middle with a frightening noise.
O what parties we had in those days when we were young and fit, We danced all night at Phil locks Stone house on the lower bench. At the party’s, we had, I used to flirt a little bit with the ladies, just sometimes. ( ok all the time ) Kate would scold me. and remind me Jacquay was there.
We had dinner parties at some awesome Restaurants, The Nineteen Twelve at Kaledon. The Squire in Naramata, where you had to order your dinner a week in advance. The Queers place on Naramata Rd, In those days we didn’t call them Gay. It was the two Queers, David, and Reggie, wonderful guys that put on the best of food and service in a Great old house.
Kate was a great planner, she had me booked into everything she thought I had to do. Learning cross country skiing in Kaleden, our teacher was a wonderful guy from Norway. In no time, we were learning how to wax our skis, and perfecting our Telemark turns.
Idly watching TV was something Kate abhorred. She was a wonderful cook, we all enjoyed her meals while looking out of the window onto that wonderful lake view. If Kate had a spare moment she would dive into some kind of art or craft work.
One evening in the 70s, just after work she called me. Jacques was away at Mica Dam working his butt off. Hey, David I need you to come and see an old Heritage House up on Middle bench Rd. Tell me what you think?. I pulled into the driveway of the house. . Kate was already there and looking at the view. The moment I got out of the car I was sold! O that view, Wow this had to be the place. The house didn’t let us down either, a beautiful heritage home in need of some repair. I didn’t realize how much at the time.
Jacques came home from Mica Dam and threw himself into renovating the house and turning it into a palace. Everyone benefited from efforts they both made to that amazing house. great parties great food, great swimming in the new swimming pool. Lazy hot nights out under the Stars, a glass of wine in hand looking down on the lights of Penticton reflecting in the Lake.
Sometimes when Kate couldn’t sleep due to the pain, she would message me In England. Just a couple of months ago she was babysitting her grandchildren. Sleep was absent again for her. It was early morning, I was fast asleep but didn’t mind one bit to be woken up. We text back and forth, she reminded me in no uncertain terms, David, the four of us, we should have built that Vineyard, I know I said. We could have done it. Vineyards were just taking off in the seventies, and she knew of a hillside on the East side of the Lake, not far along the Naramata rd that was going cheap. The orchard was shot, old cherry trees I think! and it would make a great Vineyard. Kate was right we should have tried. Hell, I had only just got back from Italy with a container load of Vineyard Equipment. I was in at the forefront of the Vineyard explosion that swept the Valley. I sold loads of equipment up and down the Valley, to Viticulturists. Bugger she was right we should have tried. On lots of things, Kate was ahead of the curve.
Kate never put up with my youthful arrogance, always put me in my place. Many times stopping me, from making a fool of myself.
Although I wasn’t introduced to Kate until 69, Kate, Jacques, Jacquay and myself all came from that same area of England from the same time with the same culture, we knew each other, we didn’t need to speak to know what the other was thinking.
Before Canada, I worked with her Dad Tom and her brother Tom 2 in The little village of Barton Stacey. I went to the same school as Her brother Michael.
My life and that of Kate’s friends will never be the same without her. I will miss you so much my old friend, forgive me for my tears, I am just a little broken.
Love David H
Thank you Dave a fitting tribute to my lovely sister.