Saturday, 5 May 2007

The First Man in My Life ....

.... was my father, Michael Leopold Levy. (I've borrowed the heading for this post from Sandra Martin, whom I heard read from her new book, The First Man in My Life: daughters write about their fathers, published by Viking, 2007).

This is a picture of my parents and myself, at 5 Holborn Road, probably taken shortly after they had moved there. I remember as a child that my father would carry me around on his shoulders and sing to me in a high sweet tenor voice such oldies as "Silver Threads Among the Gold" or "I'll Take You Home Again, Kathleen". He would also sing opera arias ... this may be where I got my love of opera. I definitely remember him singing "M'appari" from the opera, Marta. And he would tell me stories ... he made up a whole series of tales about two little dogs, Blackie and Whitey, who just happened to exist on the label for Black & White Whiskey.My father was the breadwinner of the family .... my mother had worked as a teacher before she married but didn't work after marriage. As I mentioned in a previous post, they lived across the street from each other in Kingston. My father worked in the Jamaica Civil Service in the Administrator-General's Department which he joined in 1908, at the age of 19. He had attended St. George's College, on North Street in Kingston, a Catholic boy's high school, which had been founded by the Jesuits in 1850.

This photo of St. George's College is from the website of the St. George's College Old Boys Association, Ontario Chapter.

My father eventually rose to First Class Clerk and by 1948 was promoted to Trustee in Bankruptcy. I remember that as long as I knew him his hair was perfectly white. My mother said it had been like this from his youth, though it does not look quite like that in their wedding picture. This is a copy of the photograph which appeared in The Gleaner when they were married on April 27, 1926 at the Kingston Parish Church.

My Dad was the most easy-going guy I ever knew. Although he had been brought up Catholic and had gone to a Catholic school, he went along with my mother who was adamant about remaining Anglican (and high-church Anglican at that) and so they were married in the Kingston Parish Church, after being engaged for seven years, as my mother told me ... but that's another story.


patricia said...

I never knew about the Blackie and Whitey stories – that's very sweet! And I didn't even know about that brand of whiskey, either. Was that something sold through Desnoes & Geddes?

Can't wait to hear more!

Judy said...

Dorothy, maybe when you get more time off, you'll share the odd Blackie and Whitey stories ;-)

Arras Memorial

Arras Memorial

Trooper Victor Dey Smedmore

Trooper Victor Dey Smedmore
My uncle Victor