Keeping a promise

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Harold Little is fulfilling a promise he made to his wife before she passed away: to have her grandmother’s artwork available for viewing where it could be enjoyed by many people.

His former wife, Lois Robison, was in possession of a couple of pieces of artwork that were done by her grandmother many years ago. “She was an Ives from Pictou,” Little recalled of the artist, but he is unsure of her first name.

Little approached the deCoste Performing Arts Centre about hanging the work there, knowing the deCoste is a busy spot with many people going through the doors daily. By being displayed the artwork, which is unsigned, will be available for people to enjoy.

Married at a young age, Little spent his life and career in the Canadian Navy.

“After Pictou Academy, everyone was heading to Ontario for work at that time,” Little said. “I was looking for work too but I didn’t go to Ontario, I joined the Navy instead.” Because he was overseas a lot he did not get to spend a lot of time with his wife or her family.

“Before I went back to the Middle East she asked me to look after them for her if anything ever happened to her,” Little said of the art pieces. “She treasured them so much she hid them beneath the floorboards of the attic in my mother’s home.

“I was in the Middle East when I got the call that my wife passed away. We weren’t married very long when she started to get sick.”

The two pieces of artwork, done with pencil and brush, are of St. James Anglican Church in Pictou and a stone cottage that Little said was in downtown Pictou.

“It’s beautiful work,” he says of the framed pieces.

“We’re pleased to be able to fulfill Harold’s promise he made with his wife by providing a location for these historical drawings of buildings from the Town of Pictou, for the public to see if they wish,” said Jennifer MacLennan, marketing manager at the deCoste.

Little, age 82, is a veteran, having served in the Canadian Navy on the Haida, Fort Erie, Port St. Jean, Ottawa, Restigouche and the Saskatchewan. He served two tours of duty on naval ships in the Baltic Sea and area during the Cold War years.

He is also a veteran of the United Nations Emergency Forces, having served in the Middle East in 1976, 1977 and 1978.

He was a member of the Blue Helmets Veterans of Peace Keeping in Egypt; in 1988 they received the Nobel Peace Prize. He served with NATO and NORAD in different areas and served on different Canadian naval ships in support of the Americans during the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962.

He has been a member of the Royal Canadian Legion in Pictou for more than 50 years.

The Pictou resident is well travelled through his career and has treasures to show for mostly every far away place he has ever visited.

But among his most reassured possessions was always the artwork created by his wife’s grandmother.

He says she would be very pleased they are now on display.


Harold Little presents two framed pieces of art to Jennifer MacLennan, marketing manager at the deCoste Entertainment Centre. The pieces were created by his late wife’s grandmother and were treasured keepsakes. The art will be displayed at the deCoste. (Jardine photo)