Monica Levy
From: Patrick Taylor <>
Subject: Remembering Monica

Patrick Taylor, Beverley Davis, Evelyn Davis, Monica Levy, Harold Davis

Italy won the World Cup in 1982. I went to Milan that year in search of some material for my PhD dissertation, and I met Monica Levy at a research centre I was visiting. Seeing that I was a stranger from Canada with nowhere to go for supper, she invited me over to meet Roberto and subsequently some other family members. I was completely taken aback by her generosity to me, someone who had simply appeared unannounced. One remembers the little things that can be so meaningful: the fresh tomato salad that was part of the supper she made; the discussion of why North Americans have to have butter on their bread! And then there were the more serious lessons. Monica took me on a tour of Milan, and what I remember most were her comments about architecture, particularly the remnants of fascist architecture in that city.

My wife Beverley and I were very pleased when Monica and Roberto came to Canada not long after and visited us in Toronto. They would come twice, as part of their work preparing travel guides. The photo of Monica with our daughter Shira was taken at the Toronto Science Centre on the first visit. On their second visit in 1994 Monica and Roberto went with us to Toronto’s Cherry Beach, where the second photo was taken. Monica is standing between Harold and Evelyn Davis, Beverley’s parents, who live in Nova Scotia, accompanied by Beverley and me. That trip, Monica and Roberto shared with our family what has become one of our funniest restaurant stories. We call it the “chicken ball story.” Our children David and Shira, their grandparents, Harold and Evelyn, Beverley and I, we were all there with Monica and Roberto. Whenever we go to a Chinese restaurant, we remember those special chicken balls. We usually laugh about it, but now there will be a tinge of sadness as well.

Monica and Roberto encouraged us to visit Milan, and even sent us a copy of one of their lovely guidebooks to the city. Although we were never been able to go, Shira did find her way there as a young adult for a short visit. Monica and Roberto very kindly hosted her, even though we had not seen each other for many years.

We had heard that Monica was not well but had hoped for a full recovery. It was with very sad hearts that we found out about her passing. We will always remember her kindness, warmth and thoughtfulness and we value the brief times we shared together.

Patrick Taylor
Chair, Division of Humanities
York University

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