Jump to content

jbg

Senior Member
  • Posts

    18,343
  • Joined

  • Last visited

About jbg

  • Birthday 04/05/1957

Contact Methods

Profile Information

  • Gender
    Male
  • Location
    NYC Area (40 Trudeau Units from NYC)
  • Interests
    Politics, running, skiing

Recent Profile Visitors

27,677 profile views

jbg's Achievements

Grand Master

Grand Master (14/14)

  • Dedicated Rare
  • First Post
  • Collaborator
  • Posting Machine Rare
  • Week One Done

Recent Badges

51

Reputation

About Me

This post is an adaptation of an essay I wrote and put to one side earlier. I thought of it again when I met a woman from London, Ontario that I met at a party my wife and I were at last night. She was quite surprised any Yank knew anything about Canada. I ran across my earlier post randomly.

==========================================

I originally wrote this on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of my father's death (January 5, 1973), before going to Temple today to mark that anniversary. I have posted, some time ago on "Time Machine" something similar on CBC.

The period of my life bracketed by my father's death was a period of my life marked by great promise, great tragedy, and great change. Unfortunately and sadly, I have not always lived up to that promise, though at 45 I suppose there's still time.

I turned 15 in April 1972. While I always did well academically, I had never done well socially and that year, my freshman year of high school, was about the worst. My parents were asked to consider putting me in another school. That summer, I was thrown out of the first camp I went to after half the summer.

The second half started the more positive phase, though marked by a developing tragedy. First, the bad part. My father's colon cancer had started to recur, though we didn't quite know it, at least officially. Now the good part, and the part that relates somewhat to Canada.

I went to a different camp for the second half of the summer. It featured limited travel as part of the program. For the first time in my life, I made friends relatively easily. One of those was a girl. We repeatedly ran into each other and were singing the same song, coincidentally, each time. I think the songs were Joni Mitchell's (of Canada) Both Sides Now. The other was Led Zeppellin's Stairway to Heaven. Here's the Canadian part. The final trip of the summer was to Quintes Isle, Ontario. That was my first of many trips to Canada.

After returning home, my school was still pretty serious about getting me out, but they had no grounds to expel me. My family and the school settled on my starting some activities that began before school started to see what happened. I chose marching band (I played tuba, which was odd since I was 5'5") and soccer. Both went well.

That semester, I was active in band, soccer, the school newspaper and the weather club (which is why you see me on the Kyoto threads constantly). Though in soccer I was a fullback, they put me in once as forward, because the New Rochelle team was getting a bit aggressive. I scored a goal during my 3 minutes in.

During that period, I made lots of friends, a few of which I still am close with 30 years later. It was one of the happiest, most productive periods of my life. It was, unfortunately, also marked by my father's rapid decline and death from cancer. We played tennis for the last time in October 1972 and he died at the beginning of January 1973.

One thing I decided I needed to retool my list of friends. The problem was that many of them had the maturity level, at best, of Grade 7 students, and we were in Grad 10. The condolensce notes from the "old" group of friends were scribbled, often illegible, and written in barely grammatical English. It was almost "Internet-speak" 1973 style. Because I had not yet learned enough how to be nice to people, I didn't keep many of my then-new friends. All of these people turned out to be worthwhile but I alienated many.

One I was lucky enough to keep was someone else whose name, ironically, was "Jim" also. I met him when we were 15. I cracked a dumb joke about "the rabbi, the priest and the lawyer" or something to that effect. He interrupted, and asked if I had any pride in being Jewish. Since his last name was something akin to "Smith" (not his name obviously) I had no idea that he was Jewish. From that, we became quite close friends over the years, though mostly after we left high school and went to different colleges. We've attended each others' bereavements and joyous events since and he remains my closest friends.

However, that was the only one I really remained close friends with. When I say I have not always lived up to the promise of that period, I mean that I am not all that I can be. I am, on balance, not satisfied with the friends I've made since that period (with the exception, of course, of my wife). I have allowed myself to be sidetracked by petty insecurities and concerns, things that, in the long run, didn't and don't matter.

Returning to Canadian issues, I took part in an immensely enjoyable High School band exchange progam with York High School, Toronto, in April 1973. Spring was slow in coming that year (after another very mild, El Nino winter) and was chilled to the bone as the wind swept down Bloor and Yonge Street. I browsed some of the book shops on Yonge Street and read about the beginnings of the "Canadian Content" rules. Found it fascinating. To my surprise, I remembered Bloor and Yonge Street well when my wife and I visited in June 1997 (we relocated our trip to Algonquin Park; combination of a heat wave and her advanced stage of pregnancy). I thoroughly enjoyed that trip, as well as my wife's and my trip in 1992 to Banff and Calgary, and my independent trips to Quebec in 1979 and 1986 (I did not like my Montreal trip in 1976). Oh, I forgot to mention my first trip,with summer camp, during August 1972, to Quintes Island, and the Alexandria Bay area.

When I say I have not always lived up to the promise of that period, I mean that I am not all that I can be. I am, on balance, not satisfied with the friends I've made since that period (with the exception, of course, of my wife). I have allowed myself to be sidetracked by petty insecurities and concerns, things that, in the long run, didn't and don't matter.

If there was a time I'd like to go back to, it's that period. I'd like to start over and do many things differently and better.

×
×
  • Create New...