BC: "We all have to search for that special niche where we feel we really belong." | "The existential moment (Jean Paul Sartre) is the best one, oops, it's gone. but now here is another. Life could not be better." -November 2008
FC: Stephanie Anne Janssen | June 22, 1966 - May 22, 2011
1: Born June 22, 1966 to Inge Janssen (nee Toerring) and Frank Janssen, Toronto
2: Stephanie, 9 mos., with brother Neil, sister Christine, and Oma Toerring, March 1967, Toronto, just after Inge's death | In Jan. 1968, Frank married Ella Felso in Toronto. "Steffie" was 17 mos.
3: Steffie and siblings with their new mother, late '60s
4: Neil, 9, Christine, 11, and Steffie, 3 | From an early age, Stephanie loved all animals, especially bunnies and cats
5: Oct.26, 2008 "Isabella was in a fight with a squirrel who died but managed to give Bella a fat lip. I will tranquillize her, explore the wound and flush it out etc."
6: Stephanie, 3 1/2, with family, Christmas 1969. At far right: Annie Felso ("Nagymama") | Above: Stephanie, 5, with Christine, Eva and friend. Below: Stephanie, 6, with Eva
7: Eva and Stephanie, Centre Island, Toronto, Summer '72 | Christine, 14, Stephanie, 6, Eva 2 1/2 | One of only a few photos of the whole family. At centre: the newest member, Lilly Anne, born Aug. 16, 1972.
8: Summer holidays at Cherokee cottage in Minden, Ontario, 1973-76
10: Stephanie attended Royal Orchard Public School in Thornhill, Ontario, 1973-1980 ... | "She always had a smile and kind word for everyone." -- schoolmate Tracy Linstead
11: ... and Thornhill Secondary School (TSS), 1981-85 | "Ill never forget my sweet friend who introduced me to gummy bears straight from Germany before they were in Canada." -- schoolmate Lee Dewsbury | Stephanie and her equally reluctant siblings attended German school on Satruday mornings. Outside of school, she was a Brownie and Girl Guide. In summer, she enjoyed summer camp.
12: June 23, 1979: Yesterday was Steffie's birthday [#13]. We had a nice cake. Steffie got a big, huge, soft chocolate-chip cookie [and] a big red shirt... [with] "Boobie" on the back. Stef hates the nickname Neil calls her." -- Eva, 9, in diary | Sept. 30, 1979: "Daddy measured all three of us girls ... Steffie's 5'6"! I grew 1 1/2 in. in half a year, Lilly grew 1/4 of an in. and Steffie grew 2 in." -- Eva, 9 | Stephanie with Lilly and Neil, mid '80s
13: From an early age, and throughout her life, Stephanie struggled with inattention, anxiety, and other emotional issues. These caused problems at school and at home. However, she seemed to find solace in nature and visual art.
14: "[Grade 9] has gone well. There she found ... Art courses in which she is completely absorbed. She is currently working on a large design with acrylic on hardboard on which she has been working the last two weeks every free minute. She doesn't know what she wants to be yet, but surely it must in some way be related to Art." -- Dad, in a 1980 letter to relatives
15: Stephanie studied Animal Technology at St. Lawrence College in Kingston, Ontario, graduating in 1988. She then moved to Vancouver; Christine was nearby in Victoria. | "I am lucky to have very fond memories of my beautiful cousin Steph ... I was amazed at how busy she was. Even though she had assignments to complete, exams coming up and chores at home, she still managed to put in time at the animal shelter. Her warmth and caring were very evident." -- Erik Janssen | Stephanie with family dog Candi, late '80s
16: "Critter Creations are the product of Stephanie Janssen, an avid fish-watcher who works as an animal nurse when she is not diving. The unique pieces she creates by hand are inspired by her interest in art, animals and the ocean." -1992 | "I'm still working at the same clinic, also teaching grades 4-7 at the Vancouver Aquarium in a Wet-Lab all about marine invertebrates. It's really enjoyable to see those young faces light up with wonderment!" -November 1992 | Photo of critter here
17: In 19xx, Stephanie married Christopher Harvey-Clark and moved from Vancouver to Halifax. | The married couple's home in Halifax, early to mid 1990s
18: "I am considering self-employment for this September. I have created a good network here already & am working on my business plan. My idea is pet transport service including pet sitting. We'll see." -May 1994 | Stephanie's creative whims often became half-baked business projects that quickly fell apart. Determined to avoid a cubicle job, she explored various ideas until one day, almost unwittingly, she found herself doing something she enjoyed and could sell.
19: In the mid-1990s, Stephanie went from hooking fish to hooking rugs under the tutelage of her mother-in-law, Carol. Stephanie soon focused on restoring antique hooked and Persian rugs, starting her own business, "The Rug Lady." | Right: Stephanie and Christine with one of Steph's rugs
20: "Stephanie lived in our building in Dartmouth for several years. I have to confess that I never knew her real name. We always called her "The Rug Lady." -- Jo-Anne Uhl Galloway | Stephanie enjoyed repairing rugs late at night when it was quiet, her cats at her side. She washed the rugs in her tub with a nail brush and a gentle liquid soap, then laid them out to dry. Hauling the heavy rugs in and out of her van was often a two-person job. Most were shipped to clients across North America. American writer Calvin Trillin, who lives part-time in Nova Scotia, was her most famous client. At one point, Stephanie had so much work, she hired several sewers.
21: Besides repairing other people's rugs, Stephanie bought rugs on EBay to restore and re-sell at the Halifax Farmers' Market on Saturdays. | This small square rug was one of the first hooked rugs that Stephanie created. Her romantic nature showed through many of her projects. | Above: Stephanie at market, summer 2009
22: Above: Nova Scotia politician and playwright Wendy Lill, in 1999, paid $2,000 for Stephanie's rug (shown top left). Steph donated the money to the Canadian Cancer Society. | "She amazed everyone by singlehandedly hooking an enormous rug, which she then raffled off." -- fellow vendor Susan Bone | Stephanie was one of the only restorers in eastern Canada who was willing to take on massive rugs that needed a lot of work.
23: "Stephanie lovingly restored my grandmother's rug--a treasure found in my mother's attic in 2008. She was indeed gifted, in her person and in her work." -- client Catherine Langille | "Work is going really well. Was in Chester this week for a housecall, some cleaning of big runners and am outfitting their house for underlay. I have sold 5 hooked rugs this past week. Keeping my prices fair, and people are loving the rugs. Got a big easy job at the market and I think I have a room for a large floral." -- Sept. 12, 2009
24: After Stephanie's marriage to Chris ended, she met Nick Rodinos in 1999. The 10 years they spent together -- at their apartment in Dartmouth and their cottage on Lake Molega -- were among Stephanie's happiest.
25: Stephanie played as hard as she worked. An adventurous spirit, she was game for most anything and pursued her interests with almost obsessive abandon. | Right: On holiday down south
26: Cooking and baking were among Stephanie's many passions. Sampling the results was even more delightful! | "Summer is lovely here and I am swimming every other day. Made a large batch of ratatouille (sans rat!) yesterday ... I have had a major craving for Mom's boiled potatoes with drawn butter and parsley. Can't you just smell it and feel the textures in your mouth ... oh, and those carrots with onions and green beans with onions, bacon and sour cream. I better stop thinking about food. How hard is that at times?" -- Aug. 14, 2009
27: At 6 ft. 1" and close to 200 pounds in later years, Stephanie towered over tiny Nick and his Greek-Canadian family, whom she adored. She gave $10,000 of her inheritance to Nick's daughter Anika (below) to finish university studies.
28: Stephanie was very close to her in-laws. She enjoyed family dinners with them every weekend and regularly helped run errands. When her mother-in-law Aliki became terminally ill, Stephanie fought for the best health care and was unafraid of challenging authorities. | Stephanie with Aliki Rodinos | "She was a lovely person -- kind and generous, smart and funny, and so gracious. It's not often you meet someone with such strength and tenacity." -- colleague Susan Bone
29: "During a visit to Molega Lake, we spent a whole day gardening. She loved lupins and we transplanted some to her garden."--Lilly | Oct. 26, 2008 This week I finished making Nick's hooked rug to put in front of his green chair at the cottage. Schatzie especially loves to lounge on it at night." | Stephanie's physical size was matched by a larger-than-life personality. Unabashed and uninhibited to a fault, she expressed articulate, gregarious, humourous, playful, childlike, engaging, big appetite
30: "The menu at the cottage for the next week includes: expresso caramels, peppermint patties, peanut butter cups... fougasse provencal (basically homemade bread with herbes de provence and some bacon fat), lemon rice, bretzels." -- September 2008 | "It was not till I got to TSS in grade nine. I didn't know a soul... and when I met Stephanie my first week she was so nice and helpful and we laughed many times as we passed each other in the halls those first few weeks." -- schoolmate Stephanie Davies Sebastyan
31: "I want to make a point of calling regularly. I have missed all of you so much over the years." -- Jan. 13, 2010