Genealogy

Great Danes and Convertibles

The only way that Caneel, Kay’s first Great Dane, could fit in her 1964 candy-red Mustang convertible was to sit facing forward in the middle of the back seat with her paws extending through the gap between the front bucket seats. This meant that she knocked the gear shift from Drive to Neutral from time to time.

Kay thought her first dog was a mixed breed called a “dirty dalmation”. Imagine her surprise when she realized that the dog was in fact a great dane and would grow to be the size of a small pony.

She was passionate about animals, but her first love was horses. As a girl, Kay owned her own: “Kitty,” whom she rescued from the proverbial glue factory. Ironically, “Kitty” was the name by which her mother called her. Kitty boarded in rural Dorval. Kay taught her to jump. She was particularly fond of jumping the grave markers in the cemetery where the Dorval airport now stands.

Kay and Kitty
Kay and her first horse Kitty (rescued horse)

My Aunt, Katharin (Kay) Gertrude Lindsay was born on June 14, 1930, in Montreal, the fourth and last child of my grandparents, Millicent Granny-Lin and Sydenham Lindsay The Priest. According to her eldest sister, Mary Kerr, their mother taught her to introduce herself as “one too many” when company visited.

Like her sisters, Mary My Formidable Tante Marie  and Ann The Courtship of Ann and Tommy – Part 1, she spent the summers as a young teen at Camp Ouareau in St-Donat. But unlike her sisters who were very good at drama and the arts, Kay was quite the tomboy. Perhaps this was where she first developed her love of horses. During her seven years at McGill studying first for her Arts Degree and then her Physical and Occupational Therapy Diploma, she was an active member in the Riding, Swimming and Volleyball Clubs. She graduated in 1954.

My favourite photo of her has her posing in her first convertible, a 1955 Ford Fairlane Sunliner. She was 25 years old. She drove my parents, Ann and Tom, to Provincetown, Massachusetts, for a holiday. Her McGill Yearbook quote was “Live! Above all things live! Don’t simply exist!” and so she did.

1955-07 Kay convertible Provincetown (3)
Kay in her first convertible, Provincetown – July 1955

Kay married a fellow McGill student, an American named Gene Armour Welch, on May 31, 1956, after he graduated in Medicine. To pay off his medical school bills, he volunteered for a “hardship post” as a captain in the US Airforce at a Strategic Air Command base in Turkey. Their first son was born there. Two years later, in August 1959, Kay and Gene and their young son settled in Ithaca, New York, where he worked as a Doctor. Two more sons followed in 1960 and 1963.

They separated sometime during the late 60’s. Gene was working at Cornell University Health Services when he died suddenly in December 1969.

Kay moved her three sons back to Canada in 1971. They settled in Ottawa—close to her family, but safely clear of the sovereigntist upheavals then afflicting Quebec. Two more Great Danes followed: Chico and Mandy. So did one more Mustang Convertible. And she took up horseback riding once again.

This story is dedicated to my Aunt Kay who passed away February 19, 2018.

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