16 Until V O L . 7 6 P A R T 1 J A N U A R Y 2 0 1 8 THE ADVOCATE
she started school, Miriam spoke only Yiddish. Well, actually, she
also spoke a bit of Greek. By the time she arrived on Saint Urbain Street, the
Jews in the area had mostly moved on and been replaced by Greek immigrants.
“Quick study” doesn’t begin to describe Miriam. Soon she was swearing
fluently in Greek.
Miriam claims to have been a complete nerd as a youngster. This is hard
to reconcile with the Miriam on the cover of the Advocate (which, by the
way, is her second time she has landed here). Apparently she spent most of
the sixties in the library with her nose in a book. She missed out on The Beatles
and The Rolling Stones. (What about Leonard Cohen!?) She played no
sports. Until she got to university (and put her foot down) her mother sewed
all her clothes—“not,” Miriam says, “a pretty sight.” Obviously, that pendulum
had to swing eventually. Today it rests on the “glamour” end of the
spectrum, nudging occasionally into full-blown “bling”.
Early signs of extraordinar y intelligence and character
Miriam attended the High School of Montreal, at the time probably the
worst school in downtown Montreal. Very few of its students managed the
jump to university. But Miriam set her heart on McGill, so that was that.
Four years later she graduated with an honours degree in art history with a
focus on Renaissance art. This let her indulge her love of the arts, while
making peace with the fact that becoming an artist was not in the cards for
her. Miriam has always been a keen realist.
There not being much call for Renaissance expertise in the mid-70s (or
ever, really) Miriam decided to attend architecture school at UBC. She had
never been to Vancouver. It was love at first sight. Miriam detests the cold
(it is so challenging to show off your tan in a winter coat) and left Montreal
behind without regret.
Architecture turned out not to be Miriam’s true calling. But as with everything,
she made the best of her two years in architecture school. For one,
she met her husband-to-be, Dale Rickard. This was a stroke of luck. Dale is
not just a wonderful man and sought-after architect, he also invariably and
without complaint cleans up after every single one of Miriam’s dinner parties.
For another, Miriam refined her aesthetic eye in architecture school.
Together, Miriam and Dale have created a gorgeous home—artsy, stylish
and warm—which they generously share with friends and family.
Following her flirt with architecture, Miriam cast about for a better match
for her prodigious skills. On a whim, and without any prep, she wrote the
LSAT. Of course she aced it. She had never met a lawyer and had no idea
what lawyers do. Of course she decided to become one.