STRANGERS AND STRANGE ANNIVERSARIES

DSCN05531-001Two somewhat strange Bernardo/Homolka related things have happened to me since New Years.

To fully understand how unusual the first occurrence was you have to appreciate that I live in virtual seclusion on a rockscrabble farm about 90 miles northwest of Toronto. Connecticut is a similar distance from New York but North Wellington is no Connecticut. Originally settled by poor Irish escaping the Potato Famine, the land in this area was the last to be apportioned because of its poor quality. A good deal of gravel and sand mixed with arable soil, it doesn’t stop the Mennonites or descendants of the original settlers. There are still more farmers than urban refugees and it has an authentic bucolic charm .The house is a two-storey built with yellow bricks that were fired more than 100 years ago and even though it sits on a hilltop you cannot see it from the road because of dense forest that surrounds the pasture and gardens. Many of our friends still don’t know exactly where we live and cannot find their way here without comprehensive directions. The last unexpected visitors we had were the police when they “raided” the old farm house at 6 AM on Sunday morning, May 11, 2003 and arrested me – at gun point – for the alleged offence of breaching court orders on my website to do with the recent publication of “Karla: A Pact with the Devil.” May 11, 2003: Very soon to be 10 years ago.

Police deliberately develop a heavy knock. This knock was similar. The 10 years vanished and we were back in that early May morning kitchen.

When I reluctantly approached the door, I could hear some commotion on the other side. I was wearing a long terrycloth bathrobe and flimsy black pajama pants and an old T-shirt so I gathered the robe together and partially opened the door. There stood a petite dark-haired women and a man with a television camera. She exclaimed “OUI ALLO’ Stephan, c’est moi, Marina Ladous, documentary director, I am here! From France!”

For the first thirty seconds I was clueless and speechless. Didn’t matter. She was in full flight and given her heavy French ellipses, somewhat difficult to understand: “Remember you phone me. I join you a resume of the producer’s documentary movie. As I explain to you, my purpose is not to make numerous movies, about the Homolka-Bernardo files but to study the facts as they occurred. I want to depict the fact one by one. Try to understand how can I. I’m just like you. Like Truman Kaput! To be a journalist in these circumstances is also something I want to show. In the documentary I want to follow Karla Homolka and Paul Bernardo’s criminal courses. I also imagine that there are questions without answer in this case; I come in.”

It was a cold winter day in late January and overnight snow had filled the laneway. The pair – both distinctly un-Parisan and underdressed – had walked the quarter mile from the concession road.

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