Summary: THe story of my life
A perspective of life
My wife Sally was away visiting family last week and I was having dinner with my son John and during the meal he asked me what my life was like before I became a Christian. And all of a sudden it struck me that even though I had been a pastor when he and Caitlin were young and I’ve often shared my testimony in church and other places; they only remember me as someone who’s been sick ever since they were small.
So, I thought I’d write a few things down to help them understand both where I’ve been and what I’ve been through and hopefully this will also explain not only what I believe but why I still believe it in spite of all that’s happened.
So, let me start at the beginning. I was born in Glace Bay, Nova Scotia on August 17, 1950. I was the third of four children born to two parents who were as different as night and day. My mother had come from a very well to do family on Prince Edward Island where her father had been a military man and a successful business owner and my father was the son of a coal miner. As far as I know they met while my dad was over there picking potatoes and although someone said it was on her father’s farm I never heard he actually owned one.
Anyway, they got married and moved back to Cape Breton where her father bought them a coal company house which they were supposed to either pay rent on or buy from him and I have my suspicions that neither one happened.
The coal company house was a sort of smaller version of a duplex and it was only about two miles from the mine where my dad worked but since he didn’t like taking the bus like everyone else did they also borrowed money to buy a car as well. My dad’s parent’s home was only about three miles or so up the road.
So, they met, married and had four children. I don’t remember much about life back then since I was only about four with the exception of the fighting, drinking and a puppy I got but my parents decided it would be best if they had it put to sleep.
Well, for some reason we all picked up and moved to Toronto and not too long after that they split up and we four kids and our mother were on our own.
We seemed to move about every year or so to find cheaper rent and I remember Della and I coming home from school when I was about six and she was seven or eight. As we got near our house there was a man parked out front and he started talking and said, “Oh, I know who you guys are; I know your mother” and somehow he got us to tell him what her name was and then he continued to talk like they were old friends.
After a few minutes he said, “How would you guys like to go for a drive and I’ll buy you something to eat?” Well, we were living on welfare and there was often too much month left at the end of the money, so, we thought, this is great. I mean, what could possibly go wrong?
So, Della jumped in the front and I climbed in the back and we headed way out to the west end where he took us to a very remote area of High Park. As he stopped the car I said, “I have to go to the bathroom and when I went down a hill he came down behind me and started rubbing my back. Well, I got scared and started calling for Della and we both started crying and making all kinds of noise. He backed off and ended up taking us to the Dairy Queen where he bought us a treat to keep us quiet.
He drove us home and as soon as he stopped in front of the house we jumped out and ran as fast as we could to tell our mother what had happened. The odd thing was; she didn’t seem to be all that upset. She just shrugged her shoulders and said, “You guys had better be more careful.” And since she didn’t make a big deal about it, we just forgot about it and got busy. As I look back I think she must have had a lot of other things on her mind as well.
We were often on our own when school let out for the summer and Della and I would go to the CNE when it opened in August and then we’d go to the Home Show in the spring and the Car Show in the fall. Most of the time we didn’t even have bus fare let alone money for admission but we’d pick up transfers people threw on the sidewalk and hand them to the driver and then we’d figure out how to sneak in the EX once we got there.