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Debbie Ridpath Ohi reads, writes and illustrates for young people. Every few weeks, she shares new art, writing and resources; subscribe below. Browse the archives here.

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surprise toronto visit

So Jeff and I drove down to Toronto yesterday. I couldn't Blather about our visit because I didn't want my dad-in-law finding out. The reason for our brief Toronto visit in the middle of our cottage stay: my dad-in-law, John Ridpath, gave his very last lecture at York University this morning (he's retiring after a 34-year teaching career at York), and the family wanted to surprise him by attending the class. Case and Debbie drove in from Windsor, Ginny & Larkin & Rick came in from Orangeville, Karen and Lindsay drove in from Toronto. Jeff actually called his Dad last night from our apartment, pretending we were still at the cottage, to wish him luck on his last lecture...I insisted on leaving the room; I was worried that I'd say or do something that would give things away (like playing my harp, which JBR knows is NOT at the cottage :-)).

We arrived about 15 minutes before JBR's economics class began...and got some curious looks from other students (one year old Garrison looked a bit young for this course, I guess). I drew a "CONGRATULATIONS ON A GREAT CAREER" across the front blackboard and also a quick sketch of my dad-in-law. When I finished the sketch, the whole class applauded. :-)

A few minutes later, JBR entered the classroom (through the doorway at the top of the stairs in the picture below):

He didn't notice us right away. He handed out some papers to students as he came down the stairs, walked right past us up to the front of the room, gave a doubletake when he saw my drawing on the blackboard (he said later he recognized my drawing style right away, but it took his brain a few confused seconds to integrate the info). Then he turned and saw us in the front two rows and did another doubletake. As the realization sunk in, he got all choked up, and his students clapped as Olivia and Brittany ran up to the front (totally unprompted) and gave his knees a big hug.

It was a special moment, and well worth the drive from up north. :-) :-)

Congratulations, JBR!

Today's Blatherpics:

- My dad-in-law, giving his very last York University lecture at 9:30 a.m. this morning.

- Waiting to surprise my dad-in-law. From left to right, from the back row: cousin Karen, Jeff, me, first row: my sis-in-law Debbie, Jeff's brother Case holding Garrison, Rick holding Olivia (Olivia is Debbie's and Case's daughter), Jeff's sister Larkin holding Brittany, and mom-in-law Ginny.

- Standing ovation at the end of the class.


Do you still have dreams about school?

Reader Comments (1)

That is just so touching! He is so blessed not only with a great career, but with a loving family! You all are very lucky.
Will Lamkes
Toronto Apartment Rentals

October 21, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterWill Lamkes

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