Monday , 6 February 2023
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On the Memory Trail, Stirling Moss or Jackie Stewart

Kathy Renwald

While discussing the death of race car great Stirling Moss over the weekend, I tried to nail down an ancient memory.

   During promotion for the last Formula 1 race held at Mosport in 1977, I was positive I did an interview with Stirling Moss.  It was for CHCH-TV, where I had just been hired as a sports reporter. Or was it a print story for the old, old Hamilton magazine?

  Then my husband suggested it might have been another racing legend Jackie Stewart that I had interviewed. They were both at Mosport for the F1 race.

  What I remember is I was in a driving challenge with either Moss or Stewart in Toronto. A bunch of us had Mini Coopers and we were trying to wring the best mileage possible out of those flea sized cars.

  I’m beginning to think it was Jackie Stewart in the Mini with me. Two things he said I’ll never forget.
“No one should be aware of your driving,” and to get good mileage, “Pretend there’s a glass of water on your dashboard.”  In other words drive smoothly.

  I hoped to solve the mystery by searching the archives.  I looked in filing cabinets, in bookcase storage cubbies. I found a lot of fine memories, but not that article.

  My father kept pretty good scrapbooks of my career. I found a 1980 Hamilton magazine, a special edition on the Tiger-Cats, where I wrote a pity prediction for the football season.

A 1980 Hamilton magazine was all about the Ti-Cats

  The Cats were tremendous fun to cover in those freewheeling days. Players such as Ben Zambiasi, Bernie Ruoff  and Rufus Crawford gave uncensored, and often hilarious interviews, and team owner Harold Ballard was quotable 24 hours a day.

  While pawing through the archives, I unearthed a bunch of Niagara News, the paper published by journalism students at Niagara College.

  How could I have forgotten that in addition to news stories and features, I had a regular astrology column in the 1973 and ‘74 editions of the paper.

   The column was pretty flippant, but obviously some people missed the humour,  judging by an apology issued to a college guidance counsellor who disliked my descriptions of Capricorns as “solemn and melancholy.”

The 1973 Niagara News published by Niagara College Journalism students. Kathy Renwald was trying her hand as an astrology columnist

  Putting out the newspaper at Niagara College was fabulous. We wrote the stories, took photos, sold ads, did the layout and delivered it to the printer.

  One of the best things about journalism, at least so far, is that one can carry on in the business well past a “best before date.”   At least in print, where there is no pressure to look like Kim Kardashian.

  It also opens up the world. For little Hamilton magazine I interviewed architect Frank Gehry before he was fabulously famous, Walter Chronkite and Paul Newman for CHCH-TV,  and Jimmy Connors for CKOC radio.  Now one on one interviews are hard to snag, and the famous people have handlers that through up roadblocks or censor any half interesting conversation.

  Journalism is a hard slog these days, after all anyone has the ability to broadcast their message to the world via social media. Meandering down memory lane is a lovely diversion during this time when we have one of the biggest news stories unfolding faster than we can comprehend.

  But I’ll still keep trying to find out if it was Stirling Moss or Jackie Stewart.

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