When I was 18 years old, I left home for the first time to spend a semester studying at the Ontario Science Centre in Toronto. I needed a place to live, and my mother’s friend Heather Elliott, with children of her own just off to university, opened the home she shared with her husband Don to me, and I lived on the top floor of their place near Mount Pleasant and Eglington for five months.
Don and Heather — our family quickly applied the collective noun HeatherDon to them — were extremely nice to me, giving me free reign of their home, and letting me unfurl my adult wings for the first time.
As I wrote Heather when Don died, my late-night conversations with him over tomato soup in their dining room were among my first conversations with a real live adult who wasn’t one of parents or teachers. He was a good man, and Heather’s words reveal much about him that I never knew.