Beaches Reform Synagogue: July 4th, 1995:
you grow up on the side of a mountain it can be hard to tell just how far up you
are, or how far down. A few days after my father's death my sister, Julie, told
a reporter from the Montreal Gazette that Ted Allan was a huge man, so his obituary
in Montreal said he was tall. He would have liked that.
things about him I recall which were tall, first, his involvement with the truth.
Ted told the truth in a round about way. He would embellish on it, but he would
come back to it. The self examination and self exposure in his work were remarkable.
"And then his generosity and enthusiasm for
other writers and artists were wonderful to watch. He loved exciting creative
work wherever he found it, and did all that he could to encourage it. He paid
his respects to the greats, revered Shakespeare, Ibsen and Chekhov, but also raved
enthusiastically about any new talent he came upon.
much about Ted was grand. His tenacity for life, his humour, love of knowledge,
truth, people, women, women, women. That was a major a theme in his life: love.
"I see my father singing, almost dancing, "It's
love love love love love love love." He tells me he is quoting Chaplin. He
loved Chaplin. He loved. "It's love love love..." he quotes dancing
like his grandfather on the mountain.
day after Ted's death we were out to dinner, his closest family and a dear friend.
We were talking about some of Ted's foibles - his addiction to sweet foods like
the cookies that we found in the brown paper bag tucked away behind the vitamins
on the top of the fridge; his compulsion to "massage" his age, to shed
five or ten years from its number when he talked to women; and the tenacity of
these behaviours which could be tedious, infuriating, or hilarious. And, as we
recounted this bizarreness, it was wonderful to realise how much everybody around
that table had loved Ted. If what the wizard told Dorothy is true, that it is
how much you are loved that counts, then indeed my father was a huge man.
"He said his grandfather stood like a mountain.
My father was a mountain."
I finished reading my eulogy to my father
and looked around the little synagogue. All these people loved and appreciated
Ted. Yes, it was true that Ted was self-absorbed and sexually obsessed, but he
was also charming, exciting, vibrant, and vulnerable, gentle like a child. And
these friends who had come to honour him, they knew all this of him. He shone.