Tuesday, November 27, 2012

From Silvana Vazquez and Mike Kelso

Sil and I remember the times we shared with Roger and Lorraine in Istanbul very well indeed. The weekends at Ortakoy have stayed with us unlike any other memories we can think of and are among the happiest and best memories we took away from Turkey. There is a Merçan Dede CD which we woke up to on the floor of their apartment a few times. It instantly takes us back to that moment, every time we play it. Happy days because of our own developing relationship, and because of the quality and warmth of their company. The lack of bullshit, Lorraine’s unpredictable sense of humour, and the piles of fresh börek that Roger brought back for breakfast every Sunday morning. Roger was always so present, so aware. He was hilarious too, although he hid his humour behind the façade of a calm, measured, serious, semi-retired white guy. You could see it in his eyes though, if he thought you weren’t looking.

We loved the way Roger made Lorraine the centre of his universe – although it was hard to really work out who revolved around who, at times.

We have talked about you both so many times. We can’t tell you how much we missed your company after leaving Turkey. We tried to think of a reason or a date when we could fly to Canada to see you – but it has, sadly, been too difficult. The chats on Skype have been great though and we remember fondly the last chat Roger had with our 3 year old-Finn- making comments about the train engines that Finn was showing him through the webcam.

Respect, Roger, for being the man you were.
Lorraine - Kia Kaha (stand strong).

Much love,
Silvana and Mike

Sunday, November 18, 2012

From Chris Field

Early Memories with Roger

As I reflect on life without my brother Roger, I realize that I am now the person who has known Roger the longest. Roger had a wonderful memory and would often say, ``Chris, do you remember...''. He would have a clear recollection of something from our childhood which I hadn't thought about in years. I felt I wanted to write down some of my memories of Roger up to and through our teenage years.

In the beginning, he was conceived in the summer of 1944 when I was about 15 months old and we were living in Liphook near Portsmouth. I think this would have been just before Dad's ship headed for the South Pacific. In January of 1945, a very pregnant Mum set out with me across he stormy North Atlantic in a small tank landing ship. The U-Boat's were again becoming very active and Mum was sure that our ship would be torpedoed or break up in a storm. We did however make it to New York with no obvious way to get to Bermuda and I suspect not much money. Mum managed to get us to Miami and then we flew by a PanAm Clipper to Bermuda where Roger was born on March 2nd, 1945. I'm told our return trip to England a few months later was very rough and Roger was terribly seasick and developed a dislike of milk which persisted as we grew up. Roger's beginnings both in vitro and early life had some dramatic sea journeys which sandwiched a tranquil few months at San Isidro with Granny.

My earliest memories are of living in Shoreham by the Sea in 1946 and early 1947. The beach across from our house had been mined during the war and had barbed war along the top of the beach. We were told some child had managed to get onto the beach and had been blown up. Needless to say Roger and I were both terrified to go near the beach. Fortunately it did not deter from our love of beaches and the water later as we grew up.

In  March 1947, a very pregnant Mum set out for Halifax with Roger and me in steerage on RMS Aquitania. Apparently Roger and both had come down with whooping cough just before embarcation but Mum managed to stifle our coughs until we set sail. The plus side was that we ended up with much better accommodation in the sickbay for the voyage. Not sure how Dad managed to get Mum to agree that he could travel over on his own.

In mid-October of this year while visiting him, Roger said he like to read me a poem he had just written which was probably only meaningful to me. When we were living at the cottage in Purcell's Cove, we would walk with Mum through the woods to our Aunt Monnie's cottage. There were some nasty dogs which always barked at us and made us rather fearful of dogs. We also passed a small dump where would pick up tin cans to play with on the beach. Roger recalls Carnation cans as being the best. We'd fill them with water and have cans of cold, warm and hot water (not quite sure how hot we could get the water in the sunlight). The poem described this experience and Roger said it was probably his earliest memory. He would have been 3 at the time.

After moving to Sydney in 1949, Mum suffered from some culture shock and Dad agreed that she could take we three boys to Bermuda in the spring of 1950 to stay with Granny at San Isidro. We met and played with our Brooke-Smith cousins, Phillipa (my age), Bruce (Roger's age) and Robin (Nick's age). The next door neighbours in San Isidro had a pet monkey which got loose one day and jumped on Roger and scratched him quite a bit. It was certainly very traumatic and he had to get some shots at the hospital across the road. I celebrated my 7th birthday in San Isidro and Michael Douglas came since his Mum was a good friend of Mum's. For some reason, I threw a temper tantrum while Roger enjoyed playing with Michael and the other children. Even at this young age I never recall Roger throwing a tantrum while I apparently did it quite regularly according to Roger.

Back in Sydney, we lived at 160 Whitney Avenue and had a nice long gravel driveway leading up to the garage. Roger, Nick and I spent many happy hours creating roads through the gravel for our collection of dinkies. The back alley which ran behind the house provided a great environment for hide and seek. I remember one back yard was quite overgrown and had many daddy longlegs. An older boy told us that these insects would sew up our mouths. We certainly believed this for quite a while and were very fearful of this overgrown lot.

In December of 1954, we boarded the RMS Saxonia and travelled to England for Christmas. There were now four boys and we were shown off to our grandparents in Birmingham. Dad's bother Michael worked at the Cadbury factory and our visit there was a child's delight along with visits to the ultimate toy store, Hamlyn's on Oxford  Street. When we were staying in North London at Woodford Green, there was a snowfall and being Canadian boys Roger and I went out to make snowballs and throw them at passing motorists. We hit one car whose heavy set and well dressed driver stopped, puffed up and shouted some rather unflattering comments about young hooligans in our direction. I don't recall either of us being too intimidated.

Around this time, Dad and Mum purchased to farmhouse at Northside East Bay overlooking the sandbar. The attic was a treasure trove (in retrospect probably an antique picker's delight) which contained a marvellous canvas kayak. We spent many hours in the water tipping over the canoe and kayak and coming up underneath. A rite of passage was to swim to the sandbar. Roger always seemed to be a better swimmer than me but we did our initial sandbar swim together. I think we were true water
rats. The local Indians had a ceremonial site across the Bay from us and I remember, Roger and others of us exploring this site by daylight after hearing loud dancing and singing wafting through the night
air. It took all our courage to walk into the woods half expecting to find Indian bodies.

As we reached early puberty, we were introduced to the intricacies of the female anatomy by our precocious neighbour Ann at East Bay. Not having sisters and being pretty naive, Roger and I were intrigued. Roger seemed to be a better student than me and I recall Mum lecturing Roger about the influence two Harrison Avenue girls were having on him. At about the same time, Roger and I were in the changing room of the YMCA and we were all fooling around when Roger cut his groin on the locker handle. I remember hushed conversations between Mum and Dad hoping he hadn't damaged his ability to have children. As we know, he hadn't.

I cannot recall Roger and I having a serious fight as we grew up and it was not because I was easy-going. As an early teenager I continued to throw temper tantrums and I was only cured of it by having Roger and Nick laugh at me as I stormed on about some injustice I felt I had endured. Even as an early teen Roger was showing the qualities which made him such a excellent family man and educator.

I will truly miss Roger. We were able to talk easily about things past, present and future and he brought a quiet wisdom to all our conversations. I will always treasure my memories of Roger both distant and recent.

From Ann Wilson

I first met Roger when he became the head of the K-12 English department at the Koc School in Istanbul where I worked at that time as the coordinator of the K-5 group.

I have to admit that my first thought on learning there was a new head of department was - I hope he has the sense to let me get on with doing what I know works well and doesn’t interfere! So I was quite apprehensive when I had my first meeting with Roger as I had no idea what he was like. Needless to say I was pleasantly surprised because my first impression was that he most certainly had the sense and insight not to interfere with what was working well!  I often joked with him about that concern I had before meeting him! 

Roger was a man who actually listened and cared. I remember telling the teachers in my department that all was well. We had a very calm and strong gentleman as our new head of department. I was impressed! We all grew to love Roger. His calmness and kindness affected everyone and he was always joyful, positive and cared for everyone equally. He really was a true gentleman.

I not only respected Roger as my boss but I also came to love him as a very dear friend. I also admired the strong love and devotion he had for his family. He was a great man. We met weekly and he would come over for our meeting and we had coffee and talked of many things. The conversations I had with Roger over the years were great. They are little treasures that I will always remember. Even after Roger left, he stayed in touch and whenever he and Lorraine visited Turkey he always made the time to come over for a coffee and meeting as he had in the past! The last time I saw Roger was on such an occasion last April. I had no idea that this was to be my last meeting with Roger.  I will greatly miss my conversations with him but I will continue to talk to him because I am sure he is not far away and is seeing and hearing everything. Strangely, about 2 months after Roger visited my computer at home crashed and all my files disappeared except for one; the file of Roger’s poems that he had sent me over time.  I will miss Roger dearly and I feel  privileged to have known him, and to be able to call him my very good friend.

Here is a picture of Roger at one of our meetings.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

From Annie Ozsarac

November 7, 2012 by annieozsarac

For Roger. By his example he inspired me to be a purposeful teacher. Through his kind words he gave me the courage to figure it out by myself. From his musings on teaching he cultivated in me the idea that students are where it’s at.

The Universe

Down the steps, students pad silently behind, me feeling all too serious, I turn and am poked in the heart with an umbrella by a boy whose name means hope. Shock and horror turns to giggles and apologies. The universe is funny that way.

We make our way through the school, noticing things we maybe hadn’t noticed before, or jotting down things that make us feel something nice, or good.  I see Obama on the muted TV screen.  I scribble in my notebook.

Through the hallways where they first met the fate of these next five years, students are reflective of who they have become in such a short time.  I see a broken arm propped on a desk and smile.  This too goes in my notebook.

Out the door we go, into the finally crisp November air.  Down these steps I walked in autumn twelve years ago.  I reflect on the person who stood there then and the one standing here now.
“Do you want to see something weird?”

Feeling now like the pied piper, curious teenagers follow me.  Out at the storage area, they spy a discarded toilet and snicker,  laugh and point.  The universe again.

Then they notice those really big shoes, smile and take pictures, pondering why these strange things are placed here, in a big cage. It is a nice moment.

We walk back, I spy mushrooms growing out of construction debris and roses blooming in November and I remember a poem also about Istanbul roses blooming in November.  And I smile.  The universe is like that sometimes.

Reflection from Mel MacKeen

Roger was my principal, friend, confidant, and support while I taught with him at Uniacke School. Though I was an oldie in the profession at the time, I learned so much about being a human being from him. His calm demeanour, understanding and genuine compassion for others was remarkable. One little anecdote, if I may – I was was absent with emotional ill health and he called me at my home one evening just to be a friend. I cannot, of course, remember the whole conversation, but I will always remember two things -  what he said to me and how I felt when he said it. He told me that he just wanted to hear my voice. In just one sentence he validated and uplifted me. I cannot remember my response but I hope he knew that hearing his voice was the best therapy I could have gotten. And now, simply spoken from my heart...one of the finest human beings I have known.

From Jon Eben

It is with great pleasure that I announce the birth of Shane Roger Maitland Field. He arrived this morning at 6:32am weighing 7 lbs and 12.9 oz. He is a healthy and happy baby who is already feeding well. S. has done a tremendous amount of work and is a beaming proud mother already deeply in love with her baby boy. The small fish in the first picture was made by Shane's proud big sister, Miriam, for the moment when he was born.

Here is why we chose his name:
Shane (Irish meaning gift from god and it sounds pretty darn cool)
Roger (for my recently deceased father)
Maitland (for the village in rural Nova Scotia where I grew up)

We are both thrilled and tired after a long night. We want to thank everyone who has supported us nutritionally, physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually through these days.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

From Ian Malczewski

For Rog

It was warm for late October, the moon bright and heavy. From coast to coast, reports burst from beaches transformed into levees by fast-moving backhoes. Photos of empty subway platforms, fortressed storefronts, and slickening sidewalks filled click-hungry feeds. Leave now, they said. This could be The Big One.

But that night, in a home facing the still-placid waters, the chattering screens were dim. If there was wind, it was the gentle breeze of an autumn night. If there was dampness, it was the dew caressing the harbour. It was then, in that unseasonably peaceful place, surrounded by love, that he passed.

It was a moment only he could have chosen. Always able to find the calm in a storm, always able to craft moments of fragile, perfect beauty. I knew him briefly. Only a glimpse, really. But from that glimpse I met a rare being that held the world with soft strength, an egg in granite hands.

Born and nurtured by the north Atlantic, he loved its vastness, its primal power. He understood that loving the ocean meant accepting its occasional tumult, refusing to howl when its roiling stirred the waters beneath him. That same life-force also brought unmatched beauty, adventure, joy.

It was this acceptance that characterized his writing, smothering jagged shards with pillowy softness. His last letters reflected the person I remembered: a man of strength, dignity, and elegance. He maintained these qualities even in the face of serious illness, the greatest storm he’d ever seen. The Big One.

In a world where noise too often overwhelms signal, his voice was a spike of clean clarity. Don’t shout at the storm, and don’t to try to contain it in a cup. That salty sting is just the ocean being the ocean. Instead, set sail, accept the waves when they come, and enjoy the endless expanse of infinite horizon.

I picture him out there now, sitting in a boat, bouncing across playful waves. A pink sunset inspires his pen to move, and with sweet soft words, he stirs the scene into a warm fog. Finished, he closes his eyes, smiles, and breathes in the sea. Finally at rest, at peace.

From Greg Denton

Hi Roger,

I've been thinking for some time that I should write you a long long letter, a real hand-written one, stuffed into an envelope, stamped, the whole deal. I haven't because I think what I've wanted to write seems so epic in my imagination. Even now, trying to write a brief paragraph here I don't know where to start, and all I really want to say is thank you. It's a big thank you - for your friendship, which in itself is an epic thing, and impossible to do justice to in a few words. I was barely 21 when we met, and overwhelmed with the hospitality that you and Lolly offered me in Maitland.

I remember sitting there reading a stack of your poetry top to bottom and being in awe of your book collection and stunned that you would entrust some precious, rare, and fragile publications to my care. "Journal For The Protection Of All Beings" - exactly!. It meant a lot to me, a confused kid looking for a portal out of the limits that were set before me, looking for a way to get into a world. You gave me an alliance, and mentorship, at that moment that were invaluable. And the example of your kindness, nurture, balance, soul, humour, and intelligence have shone a light for me since, piloted my boat, and always will. The list of things I owe you gratitude for are long. And I know I'm not the only one who feels this way. They say you can't choose your family, and true as that may be, I've always felt that I was offered the possibility of doing that. Certainly, I've always felt that if I could choose a family, the one you made, were making, had, was one I wanted to be a part of. 

You've been my "other" family. 

You guys have always given me the palpable sense of love, welcome, and belonging that let me really believe that.

So, I guess I'll let this suffice for now, Roger. Just a small thanks to you, and to all that emanates out from you. And a wish that you know the love all comes back. And a wish that I could get to see you soon and share a laugh.

Love and thanks from a Denthead, and a great friend,


From Lorraine

Rog loved the water. I am hoping he is floating somewhere in warm and balmy water.

Memories from Morgan


I've been thinking about you a lot over the past few months... and as a result some memories have floated in that I want to share...

I remember when you lived in the birth place of Hockey...Windsor NS...it was so cold and you lived in an attic, I believe, maybe before the days before Maitland………………Maitland is a beautiful place, long grass sheltering the mudflats, the chocolate inlet of salt water and big green yard with a grand house full of character sitting square and proudly facing the street...family gatherings.....a photograph of the bearded brothers all gathered in the yard, smiling faces on a sunny day. Seemed like there was a never ending pile of wood that needed stacking or splitting. The giant printing press in the mudroom...so many pieces...it was a contraption from another time. Tea...so much tea...I really only drank tea with Nanny and your family...We were all sitting in your library room, the one to the left at the bottom of the stairs, sipping evening tea...it warmed my belly and the rest of my body...I found it sooo soothing to drink...that made you giggle. However of all my Maitland memories the one that stands out and one that I'm not sure I've ever shared with you? It happened on the ride home from a visit with you guys. I was 5ish and through the death of our dog Loakie was coming to terms with mortality...On the drive I asked my parents who would look after us in the case they both died? Pam said "who do you want to live with?" That was easy...without a doubt in my mind I wanted to live with you guys...to hear Pam confirm that she felt like she could arrange it ended my concerns...it was a Big relief.

Cross country skiing, introducing me to Bobby D, Running out of gas on our drive home from Wentworth, swimming at the Pond, walking through cow patties to get to the swimming hole, there are so many memories...the other memory that I want to share has to do with you reading a poem at Lindsay and my wedding reception. It was late summer or early Fall of 1996 and you were just moving into the house in Ferguson's cove...the subaru, brimming with housewares, was parked in front the moving truck which had it's ramp leading to the base of the side kitchen door.  I had just come to know Lindsay that summer and she was special to me... she was there helping with the move. You were in good spirits, probably because you now lived with a view of the ocean. Load after load made it's way into the house...on one occasion Lindsay walked out of the truck with a box and you walked in while I collected my load...as I left the truck you said to me..."She's got a sparkle in her eye...she's a keeper"...and I smiled in agreement...Appreciative that someone I respected and loved saw what i saw.

I am thinking of you from out here in Portland...wishing I was closer but sending positive vibration from across the continent. I Love you very much.


Friend from Bahrain

Roger visited me in Bahrain few years ago. I am glad to have met him. He left in me most remarkable memories. He touched me with his kindness and goodness of heart.
During his short stay with Loraine, we had wonderful moments during which I shared with them the beauty of the island.

I was hoping to see Roger again when I return to Halifax. Unfortunately this will not happen, and for that I am truly sorry.

Camille Zakharia

New Canadian immigrant

Dear Roger's family,

I really want to pass my deep condolence.  He was a real councilor and good friend for me at a time when I was in a difficult situation.  I was shocked to hear this news.  I left Halifax after 3 months and I believe I met him not long before I moved to Ontario.  I am an Ethiopian women who Roger wrote about in his blog in February 2011.  It was my early weeks in Canada to decide to live here with out any support.  It was a very difficult and sad moment in my life when I met Roger. He was an incredible adviser and friend for me. I just heard about his death  and wanted to pass my deep condolences even though you do not know me your father was a supporter for immigrants all over the world who have no place to go at the beginning of their life start in Canada. He helped me believe that the "DARK DAYS BEING LIGHT".

May my Lord give you strength during this difficult season.

Thank you,

Friends from Koc School

Hi everyone there...I would like to share with you that day on the boat on my birthday in June the 1st and Roger's message on the next day in the year 2007!!!! when he and Lorraine were here with us,  at Koc School in Istanbul/ Turkey.

It was my birthday celebration and my friend Tumay organized it for me without letting me know at all!!! Lorraine will tell this story...Roger talked about the full bright moon all the time, in a poetical way ofcourse as you see below...he was a man of poetry, a man of kindness, no doubt...a real gentlemen...he passed through our lives and left his light behind...the Koc school will never forget him...you can share the picture in his blog if you want.

Regards to all his family.

Aysen Gökyılmaz and Tümay Yasım
His friends at Koc

From: FIELD Roger
Sent: Saturday, June 02, 2007 8:51 AM
To: YASIM Tümay
Subject: Thank you so much!

Dear Tumay,

Thank you so much for having such a wonderful idea!
Thank you so much for inviting us to share last night with Aysen and friends!
Thank you so much for choosing such a good boat with such good food and drink!
Thank you for arranging such a beautiful evening, making sure the sun set beautifully and the wind dropped at exactly the right time!
Thank you for arranging to have the moon come up for Aysen from behind the hill to light up the night (and thank you for making it a full moon, like your own name)!
Thank you for organizing the beautiful light display on the first bridge on our way back!
Thank you for the great cakes and looking after the lovely gift, the little book, the card, etc. etc.!
And thank you for your wonderful happy presence!

Koray says you are a great organizer - he's right - so thank you again for everything!

Roger (and Lorraine, still snoozing)

From the Halifax Refugee Clinic

Roger Field, our long time volunteer, friend, supporter and Board member passed away in his sleep Saturday night, after battling cancer.

Roger, you are a precious soul and you will be much missed. Thank you.

Thank you for your kindness and your words of encouragement.

Thank you for your commitment to human rights and cultural 

Thank you for opening your heart and your home to so many of us.

Thank you for your steadfast presence, never needing recognition, always ready to help out in any way.

Thank you for being so humble yet so worldly.

Thank you for your generous, luminous, gentle presence.

Thank you for always having that twinkle in your baby blues!

You were one of a kind. You touched so many people’s lives and made this world a better place.

We miss you, dear Roger.

Roger serving pancakes at the Refugee Clinic.

Thursday, November 1, 2012


This is Ellen, Roger's daughter.

My dad passed away at home on Sunday, October 28th with family at his side.  It was a warm beautiful moonlit night before Hurricane Sandy brought winds and rain the following morning.  Thank you for all your well wishes. It is clear how many people my dad's loving and calm demeanour touched over the years. His obituary was published in the Chronicle Herald yesterday.  

There will be a celebration of Roger's life in late November. If you would like to attend, please contact me (ellenfield@gmail.com).  We are asking people who would like to share memories or stories of Roger to send them in an email to Jon Eben Field (jefield@gmail.com) and he will post them to this blog. Please include your full name.

If you are inclined, you can read the poem that he read to all of us on Friday with Ian Bent's accompaniment on piano.  It was his last exertion of energy and will be on Allison Angelo's upcoming album. In many ways, the end of his life was as poetic as the words he carefully composed in his poetry. 


Come up come up come up
lift your round yellow head
oh moon
above the furrow of cloud
emerge in your roundness
and shine

Come up come up
pull yourself clear
as the earth tilts away
and shine across the town
your face fully round
and yellow and free

The sky above is cold
and clear
Are you looking for me
your old yellow face
now floating
as I have been looking for you --

I am here but I am gone
I am on my way
with the wind behind
flying down the straight
road to find her
my darling
who waits & watches

Shine high shine whiter
old moon
shine on me as I fly
keep that road bright
as I swerve round the big rigs
keeping my eyes straight
mind clear as the sky

Old moon you have watched us
lovers these dozen years

Keep watch tonight
keep me safe on my way
and by your light
old moon

help me fly
help me home
to my love

Waxing moon in Ferguson's Cove days before Rog's passing

Rog's view
Sunset in Ferguson's Cove - days before Rog passed.