I’m crushed. Reverend Mrs. Lynn Grimes died. She was my church youth director from the time I was 7 till I was graduated… and then later when she had become a pastor, she married me and the love of my life, Brian Hefferan.
I did see her at her retirement celebration. I wrote her a letter of deep gratitude. In particular, the fact that she took us to big cities made a huge impact on my life, and my inner self. If you’ve followed me much at all, you know this is true. My 2 week living stint in Montreal last summer, had its first inkling of life in the 70s, in trips with my youth groups.
She took us in 6th grade, to Detroit where she grew up. We met people at her Methodist Church in downtown Detroit, where more people had dark skin than light. She loved the grand and beautiful church (with a full pipe organ and gorgeous windows), and the people there.
Since my middle school had 5 black kids total out of about 650 kids, she did us a favor to let us know that the world wasn’t all just like our suburban lives. My community was made up of professors and their families (European and Asian, mostly) and not much else. No fast food, no mall until 1972, not much commerce other than a few family-owned stores: pharmacy, hardware, two groceries.
My Biggest Gratitude
In 1975, 1.5 years after my father died, Lynn and husband Kip took 15 children that were not their own… without any other chaperones… to Toronto, Canada. I remember that they were building the CN Tower at the time.
My life turned around on a dime during that trip. I fell in love with the skyscrapers, the subway, the art museums and the bustle. The fashions were different, too. And the food… Lynn & Kip took us to a Hungarian place, a Chinese place where they actually spoke Chinese, and the Kensington market.
(An aside… in the neighborhood called Kensington Market, a fruit vendor who was perhaps Greek or Arabic, figured out how green and gullible we were. He told us he would sell us his son for “a good price.” We were horrified!)
I would NOT be the person I am today if Lynn Grimes had not been in my life. I’m deeply, deeply sad for her loss. Thank you for allowing me to share.
Photos: Toronto modern hotel next to gorgeous old church. Kensington Market neighborhood. Toronto subway/trolley riders.