The Wonder Years
I know that time is just a human construct to aid our understanding of why everything doesn’t happen all at once. And this is especially true when looking back on the momentous events of one’s own life. But I was noting the years of a few important moves and it struck me as strange that the biggest ones took place in years ending in “5”.
1955: Big Smoke to Clean Air
I was born and reared in Toronto. That makes me a city kid. But my mom remarried in 1955 and we moved to New Lowell, in Simcoe County.
Talk about culture shock. I had never seen a cow in the flesh before, but now a whole herd was gazing at this new kid in the village, and I was wondering if I’d landed on Mars.
Quiet. I never knew what the word meant until then. And everything smelled different, not necessarily better, but sharper.
As New Lowell is directly south of Wasaga Beach on Georgian Bay, it was also in the snow belt, so at age five I had my first full winter of wonder.
1965: Small Hamlet to Larger Village
I’d lived over most of Ontario, or so it felt like to me. New Lowell, then Dunsford, then Hillside, then Windermere, and finally Dalston. In the ensuing 10 years I had been the ‘new kid in town’ five times. And now we were moving again: this time to Angus.
Little Chicago, they called it then. It was full of ‘bad guys’. When you live in a village that’s close to an army camp (Base Borden), you have to assume a tough image or the soldiers will walk all over you.
This was where I met my best friend Rob Rudd. This is where I put down roots that would sustain me, even after I moved away again. This is where my parents’ marriage fell apart.
1975: Central Ontario to the West Coast
By the time the next decade had passed, I’d graduated from High School, got married, started working full time and had my first child, a son.
But the feet became itchy, and I just had to scratch them by moving again. This time, on my own. I left my wife, Judi, and moved to Vancouver.
This is also the year that I finally got to met my ‘real’ father when he came down from Sudbury by bus, and we had a meal at the Schnitzel Haus on Dunlop Street West in Barrie. I never saw him again, but I didn’t need to: I knew I needed to see the rest of the world.
1985: Canada to England
This was the biggest change, by far. I’d explored the Vancouver area as thoroughly as I could in terms of a resident and a bank/credit union employee. In the meantime, I’d remarried, adopted her child and then had a daughter of our own.
But the urge to move came back, so I sent the family ahead of me to the UK and finished my tenure as Accounting Supervisor at the North Shore Credit Union.
I said goodbye to all my friends and family who lived there, and then boarded a plane for England (but not for the last time). I had planned to stay one year and see how ‘successful’ I’d be going against the normal tide of migration.
1995: The Turning Point
Well, I was successful for a time, and then I wasn’t. That’s the only way I can explain that next decade. Initially, I made far more money than I’d ever expected to make in my life, we bought our first home, and I settled down to a life of commuting between Ascot and Torquay. By 1990, that was completely gone, and I was surviving on earnings from Hypnotherapy and Astrology. Then I went back to work in Torquay.
However, even that proved to be a disaster because I separated from Suzann and tried keeping two households operating. I didn’t succeed at that, in fact I would say that I was brought to my lowest point during this year, and looked for a way out.
So I contemplated suicide. Fortunately, I failed at that, too, so now there was only one way to go: up again.
2005: All My Children
Another decade brought a financial balancing act. Getting and keeping employment had been a struggle, for sure, and the economic climate in the UK was stagnant. By this time, I came into a little pension money that I’d set aside when I was earning well. So I treated my children to a little share of my good fortune.
I paid off my youngest daughter’s overdraft. I gave my eldest daughter deposit money for rent. And I paid for my son and his family to visit England.
As you can imagine, that year was one of my better ones. But I still had problems looming on the horizon. So I relished what I could with their company, and then settled back into the good fight.
I’d returned to Canada in 2007 and found employment in Bookkeeping. But eventually you have to put the load down, to let others carry on with your work. I must say that retirement has been the best move of all.
Oh, and the fact that I’d remarried in the meantime, and Susan and I bought our first home together.
And since then I’ve been happily writing a blog here, almost every day. Life is sweet.
The number 5 is the Divine Feminine. I have been blessed with her help my whole life. But the best part is that each of these years has seen me move on to pastures new.
Does that mean my greatest adventure will come in 2025? We’ll have to wait and see.