REREADING Mrs. Renée Vautelet's page 18 article, "A Quebecker Speaks Out," we've just reminded ourselves that dealing with lady writers is often much simpler than dealing with men writers. Lady writers nearly always deliver their copy well ahead of their deadlines — a natural enough thing, we also reminded ourselves, in view of the relatively easy, uncrowded nature of a lady's working day.
Take Mrs. Vautelet.
Much of the thinking that went into “A Quebecker Speaks Out” was done between the years 1939 and 1945, when the author’s husband, Lieutenant-Colonel H. E. Vautelet, was attending the war. During this period, Mrs. Vautelet had nothing to occupy her time except looking after (singlehanded) her husband’s insurance brokerage business, their 12-room house (maidless) in Montreal, and their two debutante daughters, and serving as vice - president of Women’s Voluntary Services; president of the Block Plan of Montreal; official of the Provincial Red Cross; a founder of the French Children’s Library; a founder and co-chairman of the Bilingual Children’s Library; campaign chairman and board member of the French - Canadian Community Chest; a feminine representative on the National War Savings Committee at Ottawa; vice-president of the League for Women’s Rights; member of the Quebec Provincial Wartime Finance Committee; and member of the Economic Advisory Board of the Province of Quebec.
#Since things have quietened down Mrs. Vautelet’s only extradomestic jobs have been (just hand us those smelling salts again, will you, brother?): secretary of
the National Women’s Liberal Federation; executive member of the National (Men’s) Liberal Federation; vice-president of the Bureau d’Assistance aux Families; a director of the Quebec Cancer Society; member of the Citizens Veterans Committee of Montreal;
Honorary Councilor of the Montreal Council of Women; and a director of the Federation Nationale St. Jean Baptiste (“This,” she says firmly, “is not the Société St. J.B. If it were the meetings might be stormy.”)
Naturally, a woman with idle hours to fill develops hobbies. Mrs. Vautelet’s include, or have included, mountain climbing in Switzerland, fly fishing, canoeing, hiking in the north woods, painting (she used to exhibit and sell) and writing science-fiction serials (which she also used to sell). She hopes to resume these when life becomes “as static and leisurely as it once was.”
®Mrs. Vautelet, who describes herself as “fair, fat and fortynine,” comes from a long line of what used to be called, with good reason, “The Makers of Canada.” Her great-grandfather, Sir. A. A. Dorion, was briefly Prime Minister of Canada before Confederation, and later Minister of Justice in Laurier’s first cabinet. Her grandfather, C. A. Geoffrion, was Minister Without Portfolio under Laurier. She herself was named a Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 1942. As a fervent but always good-natured disciple of bilingualism she reports: “The C.B.E. is a great help when I speak to certain Orange sections of Ontario.”
#John Davidson Ketchum (“The Prude is Father to the Pervert,” page 9) is associate professor of psychology at the University of Toronto. In a biographical memo he says he’s a red in politics and a backslider in religion, and considers Varsity too big to teach in and Toronto too big to live in. Tut, tut, professor, you can’t shock us.
Later on the memo says—hey, what’s this!—he never reads Maclean’s Magazine. Now, how did we ever happen to start doing business with a crackpot like that?
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