“Where would we be today if not for stories?”

Lynn MacEachern

 

 

A true friend is like a good book; no matter how much time passes between visits you always pick up where you left off, as if there had been no passage of time at all. This is the best way to describe Paula. The stories shared below will speak to this much better than I could ever possibly verbalize. Please enjoy these very special stories written by friends who loved Paula very much.

 

 

 

Angie and Ron (Friends of Paula's)


I have such a terrible memory of things that, at the time, were "just another night out", or "just another roadtrip/day with friends". That is why I have so many pictures and keep a journal. Ange MacLean usually reminds me of all the things that happened - whether she is making them up or they really happened, I'm never really quite sure. Do you guys have all of Paula's pictures? I always give people copies of mine and she had lots but if you don't have them, I will make you copies for yourselves. We had so many fun times, so many laughs, I miss talking to her so much.
 
I do have really good memories of when Paula came to visit me in Kelowna, BC, in 2001. I was sooooooo excited for her to come. As our relationship went, I was usually trying to talk her into coming/going somewhere and she was trying to put the brakes on it (me) to some extent. But, she was coming and as part of our activities, I booked a hotel in Vancouver. We drove the
3 1/2 hrs from Kelowna to Vancouver for our excursion.
 
At the hotel, we laid out on the roof - it was sunny and warm, I loaned her a T-shirt as she had none, it being March and all. It was beautiful, I have photos.
 
So, we went up to Grouse Mountain on the Gondola to see what we could see.
It was very pretty and snowing lightly up there. There was a sleigh ride in a few minutes that we decided to par-take in. As we sat on the sleigh eagerly awaiting our ride, we were suddenly treated to the lulling sound of a diesel engine Bobcat lacing into the quiet, serine mountain air. As the Bobcat loudly towed off our little sleigh, I realized that my question of "how did they get the horses up here anyway" would not go unanswered. As we thundered through the mountain top, amid skiers, etc, we laughed hysterically at the ridiculousness of it. Later, we went skating on the pond up there, neither of us had been on skates in a while...had a great lunch and descended back down on the Gondola.
 
That night in Gastown we had a great Italian dinner with a very good looking waiter - neither was wasted on us, despite the red wine. We then made our way to "Richards on Richards" where we delightfully discovered it was 80's night! We had a blast observing the craziness of the big city people and dancing to all our favourites, especially, New Moon On Monday - which always
brings me back there. We had so much fun and such a great visit.
 
Thanks Lynn for sending her out.

 

 

 

Tammy Broussard (First cousin of Paula's)
 
At first I thought this was going to be difficult. Since I only saw Paula a few times a year, I fondly remember every time we were together, and every memory is special. So it was difficult to chose just one. Paula was so happy, funny and witty - it was my kind of humor, and I loved it and looked forward to seeing her every time. But after I thought about it, it wasn't difficult to pick one specific moment at all - it was actually quite simple. I just went with the first image that comes to my mind every time I think of Paula: Anna was just a month old, and everyone was coming to my house for supper. I'll never forget Paula when she walked into my door that day with Anna in her car seat. I know every mother loves their child, but I remember thinking, "I have never seen a mother look so proud and happy!". Paula was glowing. And with the light beaming in from the window behind her, she looked like an angel. That is how I'll always remember Paula.

I just had the funniest thought, and I couldn't help but chuckle out loud. I was imaging Paula reading things like this, and some of the funny comments that would be coming out of her mouth. I can just hear her saying, "yeah Tammy - I was glowing. It was sleep deprivation and I was exhausted. Or maybe you were still drunk from the night before".... or something like that! She had a sense of humor that I loved. That is the kind of person Paula was, and how she is remembered. Happy, funny and beautiful.

 

 

Nancy MacConnell-Maxner (Friend of Paula's)


I met Paula in 1988 - her best friend from high school, Coralee Almon was roommates with my best friend from high school, Suzy Jorden – there were lots and lots of parties in at Dal that year and the over the next few and Paula made lots of treks from the Teachers College to Halifax and finally moved there! 

It’s funny because I have so many great memories of Paula and I find it hard to narrow it down to just one. Until 1995, I don’t think we even lived in the same city but it didn’t matter – Paula was a kindred spirit. Even after we became close friends, we still only talked once in awhile but we always picked up right where we left off. My sister says, these kind of friends are called “forever friends” people you don't see everyday, or even that regularly, but ones you always know will be there for you and will make you feel happy

Anyway, back to the story…I think the one I will write about shows what kind of person Paula was…I have lots of funny, even wild stories but those are better shared over a glass of wine and she would agree with that! I have so many things in my house that remind me of Paula, the sign she picked out for my kitchen, the “hand me up” clothes she gave me, etc. but I have this one teapot/cup that is my favorite.  

One day, many moons ago, Paula was at my house for a visit. I offered to make her a cup of tea. I then put the tea bags in two tea cups and added the hot water…Paula was horrified…that is not how you make tea you need to make it in a pot! True to form, about a week later she showed up at my house with a tiny teapot and cup set that she bought for me so I could make it properly. Even now it makes me laugh and I love my little teapot and think of her every time I make myself my single cup of tea – never in a cup – always in a pot!

 

 

Michelle Wadden (Friend of Paula and Her Family)


Let me first introduce myself .My name is Michele Wadden . I am Lana‘s best friend. We have been friends since junior high {a very long time ago}.I find this story very difficult to write. Paula has always been the little sister I never had. I have many fond memories of Paula. I still cannot believe she is gone with such a tragic ending. As I sit at the computer and think about what to write I am hearing her infectious laugh in my head and her voice saying just write something Michele. Paula was always a very happy bubblely person .She always made the best of any situation no matter how difficult it was.

I guess one of many memories I have of Paula was her love of playing cards. She would love to have a few drinks and take your money. She always had spare change in the blue lady on her dresser and was ready for a game when Billy and I came to the city for a visit. She loved cards but couldn’t remember all the games we play in poker, so she wrote them on a piece for paper and would always have it close by. When it was her turn to deal she would check her cheat note and say...How much do we put in to start.

On a more serious note I miss Paula very much. She is always in my heart and in my thoughts. I know justice will prevail soon and her murder will be solved. Then maybe she came finally rest in peace with her mom and dad
 
Love and miss you daily my little sis.

 

 

Dawn Gallant Beato (Paula's First Cousin)


My relationship with Paula was very unique.  We were cousins who had a long distance friendship; she lived in Nova Scotia and I lived in Ontario. As children, (our dad's being brothers) would spend time together on our annual trip down east.  As adults it was whatever time we could spend together we tried to squeeze in.  Whether it be at an airport for a couple of hours, an overnighter or a couple of days, Paula and I would try our hardest to spend some time together.  Many late nights and early mornings!

My fondest memory of Paula is when she agreed to be a bridesmaid at my wedding 12 years ago.  She was such a great support and  joy to be around and it has only been since we lost her that I actually know how much it meant to her.  She has such a maturity about her and inspired me with her positive outlook on life.  I will never forget how she embraced me and my family.  We miss her dearly and hold a special place in our hearts for her!!!

 

 

Lori Gallant-Henry (Paula's First Cousin)


Paula, my cousin, used to come to Toronto occasionally for courses or as a layover on vacation. Paula would always make sure there was time to visit my sister and have dinner with all of us.
 
One night, in about 2002, at one of these dinners Paula ended up drawing pictures with my niece, who was about 4 years old at the time. As we all know, at that age when children are enjoying themselves they do not want to stop. And so it went, Paula would draw a picture, Grace would love it and demand another, for at least an hour. By this time, if it was me, I would have already told my niece I needed a break and that we would continue later, but not Paula. She kept going, not annoyed or bored or wanting to hang out with the adults. She gave her full attention to this little girl as if she was the only one in the world.
 
I loved Paula, but that night I came to admire Paula. I miss her.

 

 

Angela Maclean-Stroud (Paula's Friend)
 

My memories of Paula: 
- dressing up as Dalmatians for Halloween and being mistaken for a herd of cows.
- going to on a big road trip to Toronto to see the Eagles and skipping the opening act to go shopping because we never heard of her before - Sheryl Crow.
- secretly trying to get Lynn's stereo cover fixed because Paula had a party at her house while she was away and somebody broke it.
- driving to Dunvegan to go camping on July 1st weekend with all the windows down because Jimmy had been diving in the harbour (for work) and smelled really bad.
- camping in Dunvegan in sub zero weather.
- going to mass at the Cathedral on Sunday nights because that's when the cute boys went.
- Paula visiting New Glasgow and bar hopping, then returning home having lost her Visa. After I called every place she had been, she opened her purse, and guess what she found?
- Biff, her little black car.
- Car pooling together when I was subbing in Halifax
- Dragging her to Brandy's.
- Meeting up in Halifax on Conference day.
- Too many more to count

 

 

Pat McCormack (Friend of Paula and Her Family)
 
Dear Anna:
One sunny day I was out walking with my little girl in her stroller. I walked down a street called Hillside Avenue and then up another street called Coady Street. As I was walking up Coady St. I noticed another lady walking towards me with a little girl in a stroller. We stopped and chatted and showed off our two girls and then I discovered this lady was the same person I had met several nights earlier at a neighbor's baby shower.
 
The lady was your grandmother Dianne and the little girl in the stroller was your Mom, Paula.
 
That day your grandmother and I chatted up a storm and decided that we should continue over coffee. That was the beginning of a wonderful friendship. Your Gramma and I became best friends and your Mom and my daughter, Susanne became best friends.
 
 
Paula spent many afternoons at our house playing "Barbies" with Susanne. One day Paula got cross with her Mom and decided to run away. She packed up her little suitcase with all the essentials, "Barbies" and ran away to our house.
 
Later that afternoon I guess she wondered what was for supper so she called her Mom. Whatever Dianne was having sounded better than what we were having so she gathered up all her dolls and doll clothes and trotted off home. I watched her walk through the field and made sure she got home safe and sound and then Dianne and I had a great laugh on the phone.
 
Your Grandfather Paul and Susanne's dad Joe also became good friends and often went hunting and fishing together.

Your Mom was a special little girl and a wonderful young lady. She will always hold that special place in our hearts that's reserved for her Mom and Dad.

Love and Kisses.

 

 

Mary Stone (Colleague and Friend of Paula's)

Dear Anna:

I would like to tell you a story about a little girl named Sarah who was in one of your Mommy’s grade primary classes.
Your Mommy told us this in the staff room one day and we all thought it was so funny that we used to tell it to anyone who had not heard it.

Sarah was a very bubbly blonde haired girl who loved to chat and have fun (just like your Mommy). Sometimes she was a bit mischievous.
One day the children were lining up in the classroom ready to go to gym class. They loved going to gym class.
Sarah suddenly said, “Oh, Ms Gallant, I need to change into my new gym clothes.”
So Ms Gallant (your mommy) said, “Okay Sarah, go into the washroom and change. We’ll wait for you.”
So while the class waited in the lineup, Sarah pulled out her shorts and top from her school bag and hurried into the washroom. They were very lucky to have a washroom attached to their classroom so Sarah didn’t have to go across the hall to change. The children and Ms Gallant (your Mommy) waited patiently in the lineup. After a while Ms Gallant (your Mommy) called out “Sarah are you okay in there?”
And Sarah called back “I’m almost ready.”
Then suddenly the bathroom door opened and out came Sarah with NO clothes on. The children gasped as Sarah skipped over to her desk.
Ms Gallant (your Mommy) was SO surprised and she said, “Sarah, what are you doing?”
Sarah replied in a singsongy voice while covering her chest with her hands, “It’s okay Ms Gallant, I’m just getting my gym shoes.”
And she picked up her shoes and skipped happily, bare-naked, back into the bathroom to finish getting ready for gym class!

 

 

Lynn MacEachern (Friend of Paula and Her Family)

This little anecdote took place when Paula would have been perhaps 15 years of age. While babysitting she decided to make a cake so she put the cake in the oven and set the oven but nothing happened. One hour later she removed her cake but it had not baked. What to do???? My husband, Alan and her dad, Paul happened to come home just shortly thereafter and Paula proceeded to tell them the oven was broken. Well, the two Mr. Fix It's decided they would take the oven apart - why bother paying the Maytag repair man? When I arrived home, perhaps another hour later, I walked in the back door to see knobs, nuts, bolts, screws, nails...and an instruction manual... all randomly placed around the floor. I asked what was going on and Paula explained that the oven is broken so Alan and Paul were fixing it. Long story short, when Alan and Paul had finished their little repair job, there were a few "left over" pieces on the floor. I asked Paul why they had all of these extra parts lying about; he told me "ah, you don't need them anyway." We all had quite the little chuckle over that but it seems the problem was not with the mechanics of the oven, it was all in the timer. Paula had set the clock on the timer, hence the reason the oven would not work.

Ever the teacher, quite often while babysitting at our house (and it was a lot as Lynn and Lana can attest) Paula would engage the kids in crafts. It was nothing new to have a story hanging on my refrigerator which reflected the theme for the day. Her main resource was the Sears Catalogue. She and my daughter, Andrea would sit for hours and cut figures from the catalogue, each figure representing a member of the family or a character from the story they were portraying. The problem arose each time I wanted to order something from the catalogue; I would have to go back through the various stories and match the cut out area from the catalogue with the shape on the story board.

When Andrea was just a little girl Paula used to tell her that Dianne had pills to keep you small. Andrea called Dianne one day to ask her if she would give her the pills to keep her small. Paula was thoroughly entertained with this.

I remember snippits of Paula – Paula giving her green ballet suit to my daughter, Andrea (the suit which Paula is so proudly wearing in the picture on her website photo gallery) and teaching her how to do ballet. Andrea was old enough to dress herself at this point (or at least she thought she was) and every other morning began with the green ballet suit....I remember Paula coming here on various Sunday afternoons to take the kids to the movies (she got a ticket during one of the drives for the car still had winter tires – God love her, she was so concerned when she came home that day. And we were equally as upset because we had caused her the upset. I remember her tying knots in Andrea’s hair with strips of cloth to make curls (Paula would always chuckle the next day for the curls never stayed); I have pictures of the kids that Paula took during afternoon trips to Wentworth Park to feed the ducks; I remember summer days when Paula would stand for hours and squirt the hose at the multitudes who seemed to congregate in our yard; I remember drives to the Tasty Treat for ice cream and calling Paula the day I got my microwave (wow, we were both excited). She came down immediately and we took it from the box to ooh and ahh over it - we couldn't do anything else with it however, for it weighed a tonne. But one of the things I remember about Paula and which will forever be ingrained in my memory and heart is the little girl with freckles and the wide beaming smile who grew into a beautiful and loving young mother whose outward beauty was only surpassed by her beauty within.

 

 

Brenda (McMahon) Malone (Paula's First Cousin)
 
I don't think I have one specific story about Paula. Growing up we were a constant in each others lives. Our parents spent much time together, so we were at each others birthday parties, family events, Christmas celebrations and weekend sleepovers. I remember spending much time on Coady Street , playing with Paula and her friends who lived nearby. I even enjoyed when I would get some of her hand-me-down clothes. She was 2 1/2 years older than me, I looked up to her.
It's always sad to me how life's circumstances and geography cause people to grow apart.
The last time I saw Paula in person was at my brother Dan's wedding in August 2003. We spent most of that evening together laughing, dancing and catching up on each other's lives. It was like time had stood still and we were back on Coady Street again. Someone even came up to us who knew me but didn't know Paula and asked if we were related, he thought we resembled each other. We were both so tickled by this because I don't think any of our relatives would say we look alike. Since that time we had kept in touch via email, I enjoyed receiving updates and pictures of her and Anna.

She is sadly missed.

 

 

Kathy Inman (Paula's First Cousin)

 

I can remember when we would come over to visit you guys on holidays, Paula and I would always go down stairs "in Lynn's space" and swing on the wicker swing that hung from the ceiling.

I also remember you guys had a basketball net. We thought that was so cool.
We always played basketball in the driveway for hours, since we weren't to come in. Our parents thought we should be outside, that gave them their space and they could take privately without children in the room.
I also remember walking up to the store at the end of the street and buying candy.
I tried to think of some amazing thing, but I can just remember enjoying our time together and having fun as kids.

 

 

Kim Gallant (Paula's First Cousin)

 

I have so many memories of Paula always being there, whenever we were in Nova Scotia we both made the effort to meet up. I remember her sitting with us at the Halifax airport during a three hour stop over and her driving to my aunts house in Port Hawkesbury for a day visit.