Tuesday, March 17, 2009

A Message of Love From Renate Fuchs-Hodgins

This past Sunday my husband, Richard, woke me with the devastating news that our dear family friend, Henny Scherer, had passed away. It didn’t seem possible that this vivacious, kind, extraordinary and totally lovable person that was Henny could be gone.

My brother Trevor has written so beautifully of his memories of Henny and now I’d like to share a few of my own.

My family met Henny and Karl back in the 60’s when we were neighbours in a small apartment building on Don Mills Road. There was a communal feeling in the building, doors were propped open and, through my child’s eyes, it seemed that everyone moved freely between each other's homes. In those days mothers stayed at home and Henny was always dropping by, usually dressed in leotards and a turtleneck which made her appear very exotic to me.

It was during this time that Henny and Karl became family to our family. As new immigrants, we formed a strong connection and since our family had no blood relatives living in Canada, the Scherers became extended family. Henny and my Mom became fast friends then and this friendship would withstand the test of time. Henny became my mother’s best and most beloved friend.

I can’t remember which family moved first, but we were excited to move to our own house with a garden on Tremont Crescent and the Scherers moved just one street over, still within walking distance of each other. One of my funny memories of Henny was in our above ground pool at Tremont. Henny didn’t swim and, as I recall, was naturally a bit afraid of the water. My girlfriend and I convinced Henny that we could teach her to swim.

We began the lesson by trying to teach her to float. With me on one side of Henny and my friend, Gabby, on the other, we held her on her back and told her to flutter her feet and hands. She fluttered and fluttered but, when we let her go, she sank like a stone. We continued trying, all of us laughing hysterically, but looking back at it now, I realize she just wasn’t committed. Because anyone who knows Henny knows that if she were committed to something, she’d master it.

Over the next 40+ years, Henny and Karl were part of every milestone event in our lives – marriages, housewarmings, and baby showers. There were summer pool parties and the Christmas season usually included a visit as well. Whenever I had to chance to see Henny, she and I would chat and she would always have me rolling with laughter, often so hard that there were tears streaming down my face. She had such a natural wit and wonderful sharp perspective on life. I also loved and shared her profound love of animals.

Our thoughts and prayers are with Karl, Peter, LeeAnne, Robert, Kelly and the grandchildren during this unbelievably sad time. We share your grief and will miss Henny forever. She loved you all so very much.

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