A Tribute To Llyod 'Shy' Thomas MillardAugust 18, 1922- April 13, 2011
For months after my Dad’s passing, we toiled at organizing and minimizing his seemingly endless boxes of collectibles. There can be no mistake he was a hugely sentimental man with a keen interest in capsulizing time and documenting the lives of the people important to him, especially his family.
Years before his death, we made frequent attempts to have him move to a retirement facility. He flatly refused this idea for several reasons. One, he built his Guelph home in 1950 and had no intention of leaving it. Two, no one had any idea of the enormity of his collectibles that he did not want to leave behind or leave to chance. And three, after gaining a better appreciation for his collectibles after his death, it is our opinion that with his volumes of letters, notes, magazines and pictures, Dad was able to relive his entire life at any time by reviewing what he had painstakingly ‘tucked’ away. Many might call his collection ‘hording’. That expression seems so disrespectful given the organized way in which he stored his belongings and how highly diversified and personal his collection became.
From his children’s birth announcements to baby hair to baby shoes, Dad stored all of it for 60 plus years. From dolls to matchbox dinky toys, all were saved. Marbles, ribbons and building blocks…his children’s report cards, artwork and school work from the 50’s and 60’s…important news articles reporting coronations to assassinations to lunar landings…. dozens of LIFE magazines reporting the day…25 bibles including one presented to him in the 1920’s by the Guelph St. James Anglican Church….so much saved!!! My Dad even kept a daily journal. We have his lifetime reported daily.
Of all of his collectibles, the most electrifying is his hockey and baseball memorabilia. Over 250 hockey and baseball cards from the 20’-40’s and hundreds of newspaper ‘cutouts’ illustrating the early days in the NHL. We always knew my Dad played and enjoyed sports. He was particularly passionate about the Leafs and Blue Jays. It has been fun to read about the Championship Leaf teams of the 30’s, 40’s and 60’s as well as the ’85, ’92 and ’93 Blue Jays. All from Dad’s collectibles.
It is difficult to comprehend the magnitude of Dad’s effort. Born into a poor family, my Dad moved fourteen times before his age 24. His Dad passed away at an early age. Born in 1922, with no radio or T.V., based on the volume of cards and newspaper’ cutouts’, we can only imagine the hours that slipped away as this ‘kid’ immersed himself into a tireless passion. And what about all the moves his family endured? How did he maintain his valued possessions? Frankly, where did he even get the newspapers?
It has been so compelling to review all of his collectibles. The earliest items he saved were from the late 20’s. We noticed that my Dad’s gathering of the newspaper articles intensified as he approached his teens. In the late 30’s, we have entire newspapers illustrating all the hockey news. Most haunting to me can be captured on the backside of many hockey ‘cutouts’ from the 40’s. The World War II had a dramatic effect on the NHL. Every cutout he made for his hockey news captured news of the War on the opposite side of the newspaper. We have volumes of hockey articles from the 40’s containing explosive news of World War II on the reverse side of what Dad’s primary focus was, hockey.
My Mom and Dad married in 1946 and as maybe predictable, his passion for hockey and collections fell short. However, in 1948 his daughter (my sister) was born. This sparked his genetic need to diarize and preserve. And so, with the birth of Paula, a new kind of collecting began. Pictures, dolls, clothes, hair, art, school books…it’s all there. When in 1953, his son was born (me), his collecting intensified. All my toys…. ALL my toys!! Schoolwork, shoes, games…all of it. In the late 50’s and 60’s he returned to hockey. The card and coin collection became ours together. With never a mention of his collection from his youth, we collected entire hockey and airplane coin sets and an extensive card collection.
He loved his ‘kids’ and Dad saved seemingly every piece of their lives. With the articles he boxed for keepsake, even his own life can be documented. His favorite teams, actors, movies, favorite Prime Minister, ‘Ole Dief’… newscasters, Presidents… favorite singers from Frank Sinatra to Dean Martin to George Jones, all saved. He collected dozens of music albums from the Big Band era including Glen Miller, Tommy Dorsey and Bennie Goodman and everything in between. We can’t even measure the emotional value of such a precious collection containing irreplaceable mementos. Every item seemed to be dated or signed by him, and usually with a black magic marker.
It is almost indescribable the volume of pictures and keepsakes this man maintained. A lifetime of memorabilia. WHAT WERE WE TO DO WITH BOXES OF AN EMOTIONALLY PRICELESS FAMILY LEGACY? If you have read the history of the purchase of this restaurant building, in review, we had no idea what to do with this structure when it was purchased. At the same time this building was purchased we were also making decisions on what to do with my Dad’s keepsakes. After deciding to pursue a restaurant venue with this heritage home, the idea of hanging some of my Dad’s vintage sports collectibles gained traction among my friends. As this momentum carried, we felt a’ full on’ tribute to a man’s lifetime collection might generate a magnetic theme for the restaurant. So that’s it. We have a restaurant that displays my Dad’s collections. My personal opinion was that it might be a little pretentious displaying many of my families keepsakes. After speaking with many friends and a consultant, the result has become a Gallery style ‘tribute’ to my Dad’s lifetime collectibles.
BUT WAIT!!! What is the name of the restaurant? We thought at first to name it ‘Gryphin House’ to align with our Financial Services business at 50 Coreslab, across the street. A consultant sharply criticized using that name, Gryphin, AGAIN. As we were going to use my Dad’s collectibles in the restaurant, perhaps my Dad’s name would work in the restaurant name…. Lloyd…not going to work. HOWEVER, my Dad’s nickname since his high school days was, SHY. He played Shylock in Shakespeare’s, ‘Merchant of Venice’. Everyone knew him as Shy. An ironic’ twist’ in that Dad was the furthest thing from shy. His nickname became the name of our restaurant, SHY’S PLACE.
Enjoy. Please let us know if there is something we can do to make your visit more memorable. Thank you.