Monday, February 07, 2005

Robert and I

Robert Fulford and I have corresponded for 40 years. I've never met Bob. This is the story of our relationship.

At the age of 14, I was a keen reader of Bob's column in the Toronto Star. It featured, among other things, critiques of current books. Not being a reader of current books, I still found the columns an adventure in themselves. His vivid decriptions made me feel part of the "current scene". I clipped all his columns and saved them. His column was not limited to literature; he wrote about the Toronto art scene in the 60's. This part I did follow up. As a teen, I would regularly walk up to the QEW (an Ontario highway) and hitchhike to Toronto. I would get a plate of "fries + coffee" (cheap) and "do" the galleries. Harold Town, Dennis Burton, William Ronald, Micheal Snow, Graham Couhtgry; these are the names that come to mind from those days.
Bob would often write about these artists.

In 1965 my parents decided that our "immigation" experiment had failed (we emmigrated from Sweden in 1959). My mother and I were sent "ahead". The plan was that my father would join us after "wrapping things up" .

While living in Sweden that winter, I decided to write letters to all the people I had had to leave behind. One of these was Bob Fulford. I was thrilled that he responded. We had one more exchange of letters and that was that.

In 1998 I moved to Toronto. I decided to email Bob about our letters in the 60's. He was interested and asked me for copies. I dropped them off at his house and followed up with an email. He responded. Since that day we have continued to correspond by email.

I find this amazing. Beginning with a "fan letter" 40 year ago, we now have a regular exchange of letters . Robert is a Canadian icon and I feel privileged to be able to exchange views with him.


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