This Is Me
Ships weren’t built to sit in the harbor.
My ship set sail from the city of Brantford on December 1, 1953. Our family lived in a small 2 bedroom post war bungalow where my mom and dad raised 3 boys. I was the youngest and quite a surprise as my mother was in her early-40s when I was born. Three boys in one small bedroom and a coal burning furnace with no air conditioning – it wasn’t always pretty.
My parents were born during the early 1900s (1909 and 1910). They went as far a grade 8 in school. My father was a factory worker who never made more than $5.00 per hour. During WWII he served a Sargent in a mortar artillery platoon in North Africa. His men used to call him “the old man” because he was 29 years old when he enlisted. As a younger man he had played semi-pro baseball. My dad made his own beer and I helped. My mom was a factory seamstress that left that job to take care of our family.
I was born 6 weeks prematurely and weighed approximately 4 pounds. My first 6 months were spent in an incubator at the Brantford General hospital. My dad brought breast milk to me each day on his bicycle because he didn’t own a car. I have dyslexia. It is a neurological disorder I was born with. I notice it most when I am trying to spell or read. It can cause me to re-arrange numbers and words in my mind. I did not realize I had the condition until about 30 years ago. There was no such thing as “dyslexia” or “ADD” in those days.
I failed Grade 3 and Grade 5 and was labelled as a “slow learner.” I used to pray that the teacher would never ask me a question and I rarely made eye contact. Many times the back of my shirt would be soaked with sweat by the time class was over. Getting a C was great mark for me – A’s and B’s were out of the question. And in the early years when I was promoted to the next grade I was often put on “September Trial.”
Some of the guys I grew up with went to Kingston (prison) and it wasn’t Queens University.
As a child my earliest memories were that our neighborhood had di