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19. December 2016 · Comments Off on WHAT WILL THEY SAY ABOUT US WHEN WE ARE GONE? · Categories: General

Actually I had planned to post something “Christmas” like today, but I couldn’t resist the temptation to comment on two deaths that are reported today in our local newspaper The Waterloo Region RECORD.  Let me start with the name that most readers will recognize: Zsa Zsa Gabor, the Hungarian actress died at the age of 99.  Unlike her late sister Eva, Zsa Zsa (whose real name is Sari) was not a prominent actress, but she managed somehow to keep her image and her name in peoples’ view most of her life.  The American Press begins the article about her life and death with this description, “the jet-setting actress who made a career out of multiple marriages, conspicuous wealth and jaded wisdom about the glamorous life.”

Wow. It goes downhill from there – Hillel Italie, who wrote the article can hardly conceal the scorn with comments like, “She was like popcorn for the public and, for sociologists, the seeming fulfilment of the mindless future imagined in Aldous Huxley’s ‘Brave New World’”.

Italie goes on to pick out some of the juicy tidbits  of Gabor’s life such as slapping a police officer when the officer pulled over her Rolls-Royce Corniche convertible on a Beverly Hills street for a traffic violation.  She was convicted of a misdemeanor battery on a police officer driving without a licence, and having an open container of alcohol in the car.  She served three days in jail, performed community service at a woman’s shelter and paid $13,000. USD in fines.  Gabor (I refuse to type that silly first name again) had one child, Francesca Hilton from her marriage to hotelier Conrad Hilton. She alleged at one time that the child was conceived after Hilton raped her).  She also left a legacy of some literary efforts, a tome entitled “How to Catch a man, How to keep a man, how to get rid of a man” and her memoir “One Life Is Not Enough” published in 1991. I haven’t had the time to read it yet.

But on the front page of the paper was a different death of one closer to Waterloo Region community: Walter Hachborn, the co-founder of Home Hardware, died at 95.  You may not recognize Walter’s name, but if you live in Canada chances are pretty good that you’ve been in a Home Hardware store.  There are 1,100 of them across Canada with annual sales of $5.6 billion.  Born in the small village of Conestogo,  Walter spent most of his life in the  village of St. Jacobs, just outside of Waterloo.  In 1938 he started work as a stock-boy in the Hollinger Hardware Store in St. Jacobs. With two other partners he bought the business in 1950.  The store became the first Home Hardware, when the Hollinger Hardware owners convinced 122 other independent hardware store owners to form a dealer-owned co-operative that they named Home Hardware. The organization continued not only to survive, but to thrive in the times of “big-box” retail merchandising.  A present spokesman for the company says that it was the values that were committee to “community” that exists for the common good of participating merchants that “that attracted good people”.  To be honest, I didn’t know much of this nor the other interesting things in the article, even though I’ve been in Home Hardware stores many times, including the convenient location near the cottage.

Later in the paper is Walter  Hachborn’s  obituary.  It says that he will have a church funeral on Saturday, which indicates that he was a person of faith.  And Ms. Gabor? Her write-up says nothing about a funeral, although if there is one it is sure to be as glitzy as her life. It does say that she was “a spiritual matriarch to the Kardashians and other tabloid favourites, the original hall-of-mirrors celebrity, famous for being famous.

Two different people who die at roughly the same age.  Two very different accounts of their life. What will they say about you and about me when it it our turn? Perhaps we might think the less they say about us the better.  But they will say something.  We have little control over what exactly that will be.  Unless we leave footprints behind that others will want to follow.

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