Serendipity indeed


Editor, Glebe Report


Re: “The Joys of used-book discoveries,” by Daniel Miranda, Glebe Report, April 2023.

Patrick Scott, the formidable Globe and Mail editor featured in Daniel Miranda’s April 14 story, would have, when he was slot man in his earlier Globe career, likely sent home the rim person who breached your apparent headline style by capitalizing the second word.

The used book, Canadian Newspapers: The Inside Story, (which I haven’t read) was, as Mr. Miranda noted, marked as a gift to Patrick Scott’s wife, Maggie. The likely reason it ended up in an Ottawa used-book store was because Maggie spent her last years in an Ottawa old age home, using a wheelchair. The book was likely among her few remaining possessions.

My former wife, Maxine, who met Maggie when they both worked at the Toronto Star in the 60s, visited Maggie a couple of times in the Ottawa old age home. I don’t know when Maggie, a sharp-tongued, tough-minded Brit totally devoted to her husband, died.

When the Scotts had fallen on leaner times in the latter part of the 70s, after Patrick’s acrimonious parting from the Star, Maxine and I for three years had them out to our house for Christmas dinner. I would pick them up and deliver them home.

As Globe city editor, Patrick may have raised the eyebrows and concerns of some, among them the esteemed Michael Enright, for the dictatorial style of management he brought to the formerly easy-going Globe newsroom.

As a Globe reporter at the time, covering courts and coming into the newsroom only to file my stories, I didn’t have any issues with Patrick. He had done some good things for me, starting when I was just a 24-year-old rookie reporter on my first big front-page story, and he was on the national desk. I figured Patrick just wanted his staff to perform at the high level he expected.

(He once called me into his office to inform me solemnly that 1,000 of my words were worth a picture, a comment that left me puzzled and speechless as I nodded and retreated, figuring nothing more was going to be said. And it wasn’t.)

But being absent from the newsroom and from the gossip that percolated there, I likely missed what Michael, who was a very good friend of mine, observed about Patrick’s behaviour.

Michael is friendly and easily likeable. Patrick’s reserve (he didn’t smile easily) did not mark him as friendly or easily likeable. But I liked them both.

After Patrick quit the Globe in a huff and was quickly recruited by the Toronto Star as its new city editor, I moved to the Star in early 1973, and, like Patrick, revelled in beating the Globe.

I moved into the Glebe in late 2021, a few blocks away from my daughter. Truly serendipitous for me finding a story in the Glebe Report, of all places, about Patrick’s notations on Michael’s criticisms in Maggie’s book that ended up in a used-book store.


Farrell Crook

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