By Joe Barkovich, Scribbler-at-large
Ivy Riddell was always elegantly coiffed. I recall saying to her, “Ivy, you didn’t have to get your hair styled just because I was coming over for a visit.” She said, kind of matter-of-factly, “I didn’t.” Talk about being quick on her feet! In my book, Ivy’s pride of appearance made her a lasting image.
She enjoyed having us for company a few times a year: Mary Jane Keenan, her long-time hair stylist, and me. Yes, she loved having us over. This started when Ivy was a resident of Wesley-Robbins Retirement Village on First Avenue a few years before the pandemic. She had a lovely apartment, one that was sun splashed especially on summer and fall afternoons, and she was very happy there.
Ivy, who died Tuesday, May 10, aged 94, was generous with libations, providing wine if we wanted it and snacks. Mary Jane often brought munchies as well. I brought myself. Most popular were Ivy’s red candy-coated peanuts which were waiting for us in crystal bowls, one apiece on tables adjacent to where we sat. We gobbled them up – Mary Jane and I – shamelessly, by the dozen during those story swapping, memories sharing, Blue Jays bantering afternoons. Ivy was a great fan of the Jays. She could rhyme off names, batting averages and won-loss records of top pitchers. She’d followed the Jays for years.
After Wesley-Robbins, she moved to Seasons on First Avenue and the get-togethers continued, though not quite as frequent. At the time, Seasons was like a meeting place for retired city officials. Former mayor Allan Pietz lived there, and Ann Gono, the retired deputy clerk and Fred Turner, retired city treasurer. Then the pandemic came and our visits ended. I recall we reconvened there, once, before Ivy moved to Port Colborne and a room with a truly majestic view, in Northland Pointe.
She enjoyed looking out the large window on the busy marina below with its myriad small craft, and watching the lakers that seemed to glide effortlessly and silently out of view. I could see why: it was mesmerizing. Our last visit was late fall last year. There was some talk of a Christmas gathering, but for one reason or another it didn’t materialize. Now, that is regrettable.
Never a shrinking violet, Ivy enjoyed political discourse. She could hold her own when it came to local and national issues largely because she was such a news junkie. Earlier in life she was a member of Welland city council and Niagara regional council. There were a few volunteer affiliations but the one she was most proud of was her involvement in South Niagara Rowing Club’s formative years. She loved attending the Captain’s Dinners that were held to celebrate the end of a rowing season and present awards to the athletes.
Although Mary Jane and I thanked Ivy for putting out those red candy-coated peanuts they had to be acknowledged one last time, they’d become another lasting image. I bought a bag. I chomped on them, one after another, while writing this, enjoying the ‘crunch’ and savouring the taste but even more, much more, the memories of times we spent with our friend.
Ivy’s visitation and funeral is on Friday, June 3 at H.L. Cudney Funeral Home, Welland. For complete death notice and funeral information follow the link: Ivy Lilllian Riddell Obituary – Visitation & Funeral Information (cudneyfuneralhome.com)
(Lasting Image is a recurring feature on the blog. Some others in the series:
Alirio Rodriguez, He Spent His Life Serving The Lord, May 25, 2021; Caesar Hajdu, Never One To Miss A Game, October 21, 2020; Fred Turner, Forever A First-Class Guy, March 29, 2020; Gerry Berkhout, He Shone His Light On Others, January 4, 2019; Frank Sernak, A Great Voice For Radio, December 8, 2018; Deacon Demers, Devoted to his Faith, August 3, 2018; Ivan Zecchini, His Countenance Glowed From Wide-Eyed Appreciation, July 18, 2018; Keith Hornibrook, Opening Doors to Addictions Recovery In Dignity, July 11, 2018; Augusto Macoritto, Gifted Lensman, August 21, 2018; Steve Krar, Neighbourhood Nostalgia Buff, Visionary Leader, July 11, 2018; Mother Alba Puglia, Tireless Trailblazer, June 18, 2018; Michael Santone, A Barber Of King Street, January 23, 2018; Marjorie Hannah, July23, 2015; Rosie Smith, June 26, 2014; Bob Fralick, May 7, 2014; Frank Addario, February 24, 2014.)