Hedy Muysson

1939-2017

In her last hour Hedy made us promise yet again that there would be no ceremony or celebration afterwards, so that's the way it will be. We did say we and her other friends would think of her, and she said that was fine.




Hertha Kirchner

Hedy's mother, Hertha Kirchner, May 11, 1918. She was from Berlin and by age 14 was running her own couturier business.


Hedy Muysson

Hedy was born March 15, 1939, in Voorburg, Netherlands.


Hedy Muysson

Portrait of Hedy taken December 1942 by her father who was a professional photographer in the Netherlands. By this time he was taking photos for the Dutch Resistance to provide forged passports for stranded Allied airmen, while her mother forged the official signatures. Hedy remembers Nazi soldiers searching their house for wanted persons while her parents had one hidden in their house, an offence for which they would have been shot. Warplanes flying over Voortburg formed a lifelong reaction to overhead planes, and the experience of those years was the birthplace of her hatred of war and warmongers. And being Dutch, she loved tulips, but even at the height of the Hunger Winter of 1944-45 she refused to eat a tulip bulb.


Hedy Muysson

Wim and Hedy, c.1943.


Hedy Muysson

Hedy about age 5 or 6.


Hedy Muysson

Hedy with younger brother Wim, and Santa.


Hedy Muysson

A birthday party in Voorburg.


Hedy Muysson

Hedy and her brother Wim.


Hedy Muysson

In May 1951, Hedy's mother, Hertha, emigrated from the Netherlands to Canada, with Hedy and her brothers John and Wim.


Hedy Muysson

Hedy in her woolen bathing suit.

Hedy Muysson

Back is Wim, Hertha Muysson (Hedy's mother), Hedy.
Front is John's girlfriend and John Muysson.

Hedy's oldest brother, Hans, was the first to migrate to Canada, working on a dairy farm in the Guelph area. After their parents divorced Hans convinced his mother to come to Canada with the other children. It was easier on the kids than her mother, who left behind her business and friends. In Guelph, far from the fashion centres of Europe, it was a matter of gathering up what tailoring and other work she could find. When she finally retired she took up painting (a hint at where some of Wim's talent came from). A self-portrait is now owned by the national Museum of Civilization (now Museum of History).


Hedy Muysson

Probably taken in Guelph.


Hedy Muysson

Hedy and Wim, early days, probably in Guelph.


Hedy Muysson

In Guelph. The print is dated June, 1955.


Hedy Muysson

The print is dated September, 1955.


Hedy Muysson

Passport photo, 1971.


Hedy Muysson

In Rotterdam with her grandmother, 1971?.


Hedy Muysson

Early days. Probably Toronto.


Hedy Muysson

Hedy started out as a personal secretary in the office towers of Toronto's Bay St. but eventually this began to seem less than fulfilling. She then worked for the Addiction Research Foundation. Eventually she studied Early Childhood Education at Seneca College and after that worked for years with immigrant children at Welcome House in Toronto.

Her good friend Jutta says: "Hedy started working as a shared secretary for me and others at Addiction Research in early 1970 and at that time she was wearing braids. There was some discussion of whether it really made sense to have a 16-year-old working there but then people found out she wasn't as young as she looked. When she first invited me to her apartment on Lonsdale Road I realized that no one who was not an artist could make their apartment as simple and beautiful as hers. Too bad there are no typing photos extant. Hedy was so fast (also with shorthand, as I imagine you saw) and she bought the IBM selectric when she was still working with the kids, so that she could type U of T essays late into the night and sock away the money to buy a farm somewhere."

It was Jutta who invited Hedy along to her first consciousness-raising group, that mainstay of the Women's Movement of that time and later. Hedy remembered how, with her shyness, she never dared to speak at the group. But also the many books joining the group led her to read and things she began thinking more intensely about.


Hedy Muysson

Welcome House, Toronto.


Hedy Muysson

Welcome House, Toronto.


Hedy Muysson

North of Westport, probably 1989, a year after she moved from Toronto. Here she homesteaded on what used to be a sheep farm -- raising goats, chickens, turkeys, tending beehives, selling vegetables from her huge back garden and raising flowers in a second garden to sell as dried flower arrangements and wreaths. Here also she spun and dyed wool and knitted her famous Hedy Hats. Part of her pasture was let out to local farmers to put cattle on, so it was a toss-up who got the apples from her trees -- cows, goats, or Hedy.


Hedy Muysson

Veggies for Jutta's CSA-type food delivery setup in Toronto, summer of 1990. To supplement her income for years she transcribed radio interviews for Eleanor Wachtel and Writers & Company, and for the CBC's Ideas program. The latter an agony for her as she wrestled with interpreting the heavy accents of various foreign philosophers and poobahs.


Hedy Muysson

With her half-brother, Pim, who was visiting from Holland, summer of 1990.


Hedy Muysson

A great photo of Hedy taken by her friend Val.


Hedy Muysson

Hedy's place, 1991.


Hedy Muysson

In her flower garden where she grew flowers to dry for wreaths. Wim may have taken this photo.


Hedy Muysson

Emma (Goldman) was boss of the herd and Hedy's favourite, but she did bully Agnes (Macphail). 1991. A local animal dealer had heard Hedy was considering goats and one day he drove up in his pickup truck as Hedy and Peter and Charlie were standing around. In the back of the truck were five goats, including Emma. We consulted together and the three of us went in on buying all five, with Hedy the goat herd, and Peter and Charlie goat god-parents.


Hedy Muysson

Turkeys, 1991. They liked to follow you around, and to jump up on your car for a crap and a better look at you.


Hedy Muysson

More goats, 1991. And years of twin and triplet births, scampering kids who didn't know which way their legs were going to make them jump as they ran in the fields. Hedy added cheesemaking to her many talents.


Hedy Muysson

Hedy's bee hives were protected by straw bales, winter of 1990 or 1991. A fearsome sight was Hedy in a beekeeper's protective suit, waving a smoker to calm the bees as she gathered combs to spin in her hand-powered honey extractor.


Hedy Muysson

Hedy with her brother Wim, the person she loved most in the world, at Peter's and Charlie's new farm gate, 1993. Wim couldn't be convinced to buy the place, though he is as excellent a carpenter, renovator and gardener as he is an artist. So we bought it.


Hedy Muysson

With Basil. March/April, 1994.


Hedy Muysson

Another photo opportunity for Charlie and his camera, in the days when Hedy was less resistant to having her picture taken. June, 2004.


Hedy Muysson

With Elizabeth and Jules at the Treefrog Gallery, McDonalds Corners, summer of 2004 or 2005.


Hedy Muysson

With Mona at the Treefrog Gallery/Molly Hill Market, McDonalds Corners, summer of 2004 or 2005.


Hedy Muysson

September, 2004. Part of Hedy's adventures in carding, dyeing, spinning, knitting.


Hedy Muysson

Mona, Hedy, Jayne, and Janet at anti-George Bush demo in Ottawa. November, 2004. Hedy sent a donation to the War Resisters Support Campaign in Toronto, where Janet volunteered. Janet, originally from Westport, happened to be helping process donations and saw Hedy's Westport address. "Hmm, that's interesting, maybe I'll write her a little note!" And in that serendipitous way another lifelong Hedy friendship was born.


Hedy Muysson

August 2005 with Sage. When we arrived home in Elphin one afternoon there was a strange German Shepherd guarding our house from us. The nerve! We chased her away and across a field. The next morning she was still there peeking out from the edge of the woods. What could you do? So we called to her and she came running. She had no collar, looked like she'd recently had pups, and must have been dumped at the end of our road by someone who no longer wanted her. We did rue the day we taught her to chase sticks but she was the perfect, good-natured, dog -- for Hedy! She even had been trained to heel, which we discovered one day when one of us jokingly said "Heel". We kept her for two years, waiting for Olive, the truly miserable dog Hedy had had dumped on her, to reach her end. And when she finally did, Sage and Hedy became inseparable, a true replacement for Basil.


Hedy Muysson

April, 2006. One of the many seedlings Hedy planted that grew into 20- and 30-foot trees while she lived here.


Hedy Muysson

April, 2006.


Hedy Muysson

July, 2006. Pixelated Hedy (1).


Hedy Muysson

With Sage, summer, 2006.


Hedy Muysson

With Hilary, Mona, and Ankaret at Treefrog Gallery, McDonalds Corners. August, 2006.


Hedy Muysson

Treefrog Gallery, McDonalds Corners. August, 2006.


Hedy Muysson

With Charlie and Scott at Treefrog Gallery, McDonalds Corners. August, 2006.


Hedy Muysson

September, 2006. Pixelated Hedy (2).


Hedy Muysson

October, 2006.


Hedy Muysson

March, 2007.


Hedy Muysson

April, 2007. Jules and Hedy in her "Tea House", a porch that Wim built onto the back of her trailer.


Hedy Muysson

April, 2007.


Hedy Muysson

Peter, Hedy, Hugh, Elizabeth, at Sharbot Lake, July, 2007.


Hedy Muysson

Sharbot Lake, July, 2007.


Hedy Muysson

With Hugh, Sharbot Lake, July, 2007. There eventually came a point where, because of her bad ankle, Hedy could no longer get out and give 'em hell.


Hedy Muysson

Treefrog Gallery, McDonalds Corners, July, 2007.


Hedy Muysson

With Elizabeth and Torch at the Molly Hill Market, McDonalds Corners, August, 2007.


Hedy Muysson

With Mary at Treefrog Gallery, McDonalds Corners, September, 2007.


Hedy Muysson

February, 2008. In Peter and Charlie's once-upon-a-time kitchen, the sherry glass of Bailey's and the tea with an extra shot of Bailey's now finished. Over the years Hedy developed a taste for cream liquers. This was the beginning . . .

Possibly she'd been making a delivery of Zatoun Fair Trade Extra Virgin Olive Oil From Palestine, the Palestinian conflict becoming more and more central to her way of judging the world. Zatoun wondered who was this Hedy person selling all this Palestinian olive oil in the backwoods of Eastern Ontario?


Hedy Muysson

February, 2008.


Hedy Muysson

February, 2008.


Hedy Muysson

February, 2008. Hedy in a Rembrandt mood.


Hedy Muysson

June, 2008.


Hedy Muysson

Hedy and Peter. July, 2008.


Hedy Muysson

August, 2008. Hedy could make anything grow, everything flower. Her mother had a jade plant for years that Hedy inherited and kept for another forty years. In her last year she decided that like her, it had had it's turn at life.


Hedy Muysson

September, 2008.


Hedy Muysson

September, 2008.


Hedy Muysson

November, 2008. In a back field that had been reserved for goats, though they always managed to find a way elsewhere.


Hedy Muysson

January, 2009.


Hedy Muysson

January, 2009. Another Hedy creation -- the colours always had to be just the right colour. Wool would be dyed and re-dyed or discarded, knitted and ripped out and re-knitted, different kinds of wool rovings experimented with, combined ad infinitum. It was all done inch by inch and the effects considered. Like everything she did in life, things required the proper gestation period. It could be frustrating to an onlooker who was not familiar with the Hedy-way. But of course if you lived on as little as Hedy did, life was full of risks and you had to be sure of all the angles before moving forward. Many with more resources, a larger income, fell by the wayside while Hedy kept on going.


Hedy Muysson

January, 2009.


Hedy Muysson

March, 2009. Part of the by then fallow vegetable garden behind the barn. It was irrigated by a pump which drew water from the pond.


Hedy Muysson

April, 2009. By the woodstove in Hedy's living/dining room, where many a political discussion, livened with bottles of wine, lasted late into the night.


Hedy Muysson

Hedy's pond, October, 2010.


Hedy Muysson

The driveway approaching Hedy's place, October, 2010. Drive carefully, watch for turtles and snakes and low-flying heron. In earlier years hundreds of swallows used to perch and twitter and dive from those overhead wires, arriving in spring and departing in late summer on predictable dates, nesting in the big barn where Hedy stored hay and where local farmers kept some of their haying machines. Hedy lamented how few swallows now arrive. (*)


Hedy Muysson

Her "Tea House", October, 2010. (*)


Hedy Muysson

March, 2011. (*)


Hedy Muysson

May, 2011. We met Hedy almost 3 decades ago. Looking at some acreage for sale across the main road we saw a For Sale sign at the end of her driveway, which turned out to be the hunting property across her pond. We turned in and drove and drove and drove until finally we ended up in front of her cabin. There she was in a pink version of the T-shirt she wears in this photo. She was working in the front vegetable garden that rose up towards the cabin and put down her spade to come see who we were. And of course five minutes with Hedy and you became lifelong friends. From that date on we got together at least once a week, sometimes more. And in between we talked on the telephone. To which was added emailing once Hedy overcame her disdain for computers and became an internet junkie.


Hedy Muysson

May, 2011.


Hedy Muysson

With Allan at the McDonald's Corners farmers' market, June, 2011. Hedy met Sue and Allan while they were all living in Toronto in the late 1980's and she sold them her car. When she moved to the Westport property she discovered them living up the road, north of HIghway 7.


Hedy Muysson

With Allan at the McDonald's Corners farmers' market, June, 2011. Hedy liked her coffee and liked it strong, and please do you have any cream? If it were tea, well, leave it to brew until the teabags decided it was too much and climbed out of the teapot themselves.


Hedy Muysson

Hedy was camera-shy, although you wouldn't know it from the rest of these photos. Probably summer of 2011. If you wanted to wear a necklace, then let it be a beaded one that you strung together yourself so that the colours were just the right shade, order and balance. (*)


Hedy Muysson

Hedy's pond, July, 2011. (*)


Hedy Muysson

McDonald's Corners farmers' market, August, 2011.


Hedy Muysson

Sadie, July, 2011. Sadie, the replacement for Sage, had been used by her previous owners as a guard dog for a motor home sales yard that was surrounded by chain link fencing. It wasn't in her nature and she was an unhappy and nervous dog when she came to Hedy. But of course life with Hedy was dog nirvana, so she soon settled in and the two became happily attached. (*)


Hedy Muysson

With Sadie, August, 2011.


Hedy Muysson

Hedy's pond, August, 2011. Near where Hedy wants her ashes scattered.


Hedy Muysson

June, 2012.


Hedy Muysson

Aleksandra (holding Juniper), Dawn, Hedy and Janice at the McDonald's Corners farmers' market, June, 2012. With one of Dawn's iron-riveted bowls on the table.


Hedy Muysson

With John and Aleksandra at the McDonald's Corners farmers' market, September, 2012. (Not a Peter cup).


Hedy Muysson

McDonald's Corners farmers' market, September, 2012.


Hedy Muysson

With Sadie, September, 2012. (*)


Hedy Muysson

With Janet at the McDonald's Corners farmers' market, June, 2014.


Hedy Muysson

July, 2014.


Hedy Muysson

July, 2014. (*)


Hedy Muysson

July, 2014. Val and Hedy at The Pilot in Kingston, waiting for fish and chips.


Hedy Muysson

McDonald's Corners farmers' market, August, 2014.


Hedy Muysson

Hedy and her pond. October, 2014. Photo by Miriam.
See Ulli Diemer's website: Hedy and Her Place.


Hedy Muysson

Code's Mill in Perth, January, 2015.


Hedy Muysson

May, 2015. Charlie, Hedy, Peter, at the checkout counter at Foodsmiths in Perth. The photographer, always present through these years, finally gets someone else to take the picture.


Hedy Muysson

Through the screen in her "Tea House". August, 2015. (*)


Hedy Muysson

With Janice and Judy, and a couple of Peter's cups, as Aleksandra (holding blue cup) gets help preparing for her citizenship test. September, 2015.


Hedy Muysson

Hedy's pond. December, 2015. (*)


Hedy Muysson

Wearing a world-famous Hedy Hat. December, 2015. (*)


Hedy Muysson

NO MORE!!


See also: Spreading Hedy's Ashes.


Many thanks to Brian Woods for the photos marked (*)

Corrections? Please email Charlie Dobie.

Back to top.