That’s when it hit me – my late husband’s birthday , October 17th, was fast approaching – quick calculation; it would have been his 60th today. And I forgot!
So, in honour of Yves Loran….
Yves was a lover of single malt Scotch, judo, horses, jazz, Victoria BC, his kids and me (not necessarily in that order). He grew up just after the Second World War, working class, in a small French village that later went on to become one of Georges Pompidou’s famous “new cities” or “villes nouvelles”.
As was not uncommon for the era, he left school at 14 to work first as a delivery person and then later as an apprentice butcher.
We met because he volunteered at a stable where I took my kids from the group home for therapeutic riding. Back then he rode in Civil War renactments and broke and trained the most obstinate of horses. His passions extended to the local judo dojo where he was completing his first degree black belt.
Married, it soon became evident to us that we did not want to raise a family in a country with very rigid social conventions and norms; a country where working class was always working class, and most definitely, not middle class.
Moving to Vancouver Island , my home, we settled in Victoria. Over the years Yves worked in the hospitality industry, in building maintenance, and finally as the owner of a landscaping business.
Family and community were his two foci – he volunteered as a sensei (teacher) at Victoria Judo Club, at École Victor-Brodeur, with Childrens’ International Summer Villages (CISV), the Saxe Point Residents Association (SPRA), the Upper Room, the Mustard Seed and Francophone Scouts .
He could be counted on for any event involving food – the hot dog barbecue at school, deboning 100s of turkeys for the Mustard Seed Christmas dinner, making crèpes for over 200 at the Scouts’ Maple Sugar Dinner (dîner de sirop d’érable), dishing out salads and cake for our neighbourhood’s July 1st Block Party.
He was proud to continue his progression from 1st degree (nidan) black belt to 3rd degree (sandan) and see his sons join him at the club. As a dad he was involved, long before it became fashionable; we made a great team in so many endeavours. His quiet presence, guarding my back, allowed me wide ranging freedom to explore my own passions.
In life he was at ease among people, whether the Lieutenant Governor of the province, the mayor of our municipality (Esquimalt) or people he served at the soup kitchen – he saw people on an equal footing, and they appreciated him for that.
Injured in a serious vehicle incident as a young man, and confined to a wheelchair for two years, he was told he would always be a “cripple”. Stubborn, he continued to dance with the Breton folkdance troupe, and took up first aikido, then karate, and finally judo. Being so close to death so young, he approached life as a grand adventure. His favourite saying was “every day above ground is a good day”.
Thanks for the constant reminders of a life well lived.
Yves Loran 1949-2001