First Words

In the early days of Watershed, Meg Botha, our art director lived just around the corner from me.

I was a familiar face at Meg’s place – so familiar that her twins called me “Just Jane” because when I knocked at the door, Meg would say to them, “Don’t worry, it’s just Jane.”

We often kept working after the twins came home from school so Meg would send them to their grandparents who also lived nearby. Off they would go – Megan and Matt – through the forest, over the dam at Totten’s Pond to Oma and Opa’s. Meg and I would follow when we finished our work. John and Yoka would be waiting with a “tootje” (Dutch for a drink). We would relax, unwind and I was often invited for dinner. Another chair was pulled up to the kitchen table, an extra glass of wine poured and Just Jane was embraced as part of the family.

Not only was John the after-school babysitter while Meg and I worked on Watershed, he was also our proof reader. We would leave the printed pages behind for him to read and next day they would be on Meg’s desk, meticulously marked up with his comments in the borders – a measure of his attention to detail. Attention to detail was important in his life. After all, he had been the head engineer for the CNR in Ontario and he had built many of the railway bridges that trains continue to use across Canada today.

John Jeronimus carried on proofreading Watershed until he was 95, in fact he proofread the summer issue. But he took a fall recently and didn’t recover.

We remember a father, a grandfather, a friend – a fine man with a moral compass that never wavered.