the Life of
Having arrived in Ottawa in summer 1963 coming from Toronto with my young family and knowing no-one in this government "town," it was very pleasing to be introduced to Roy and Sylvia at the First Unitarian Congregation church on Elgin Street at Lewis.
Their concerns and interests mirrored my own so we shared many struggles, some not very different from those of today - for example the struggle for simple justice in the United States south where Jim Crow laws kept black people from voting, and from having decent schools and enjoying the fruits of their labours. Another struggle we are still concerned about is for peace in the world, free from the threat of nuclear war.
One mark of how different were those first years of our friendship is the story of a discussion group at the Unitarian church. It was known as the "Unitarian Men's Club" where one evening a month we would share a meal and then have a speaker on a topic of interest and engage in discussion. The women's movement was growing in importance so the name of this little group was changed to reflect new awareness -- to -- get this "The Unitarian Men' Club, Ladies Welcome." I wince whenever I recall being part of that decision.
We walked together in the outdoors with our children in spring summer fall and winter, sang together at social gatherings, and got to know one another quite well.
We were both elected to the board of the church in 1970 when the minister for quite some years was unable, as an American, to bring himself to be critical of the terrible role of the US in its war on Vietnam.
The 70s and 80s passed in a blur but our paths crossed repeatedly at many a protest demonstration, but fewer social gatherings until, well into retirement, we spent more time together, enabling me to recognize many more of Roy's characteristics and capacities.
I came to see Roy as friendly, smart, sensitive, competent, strong, a man with social concerns, a peacenik, a worker, a romantic, a cook, an electrician, a builder, a grower, a sailor, a paddler, a tennis player, a ping pong player, a bridge player. For me he was always a tall, handsome, husband, father, grandfather. He loved limericks, was fond of singing, open minded, generous, a bit gullible (better to say trusting), helpful, considerate, kind. As a physicist he was curious about the the earth and the cosmos. He had a passion for fairness and justice and was prepared to put much effort into changing the world for the betterment of all.
I will remember Roy
Sanders with a very fond respect.