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Life's Turning-Points

Life's Turning-Points

Old Feb 2nd 2023, 9:55 am
  #196  
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Default Re: Life's Turning-Points

In the '6s when I was young and the going was so good, I often hung out in the celebrated taverns of Montreal and Toronto. The names of those latter place have now escaped me, but my favorite hangout in Montreal-east ("est" in French) were a good place, even if the beer was lousy.

I was at the Algonquin one night in 1968 or 1969 when a trio of mobsters at a table not so far from ours were shotgunned to death over a battle for something or other now long forgotten. At another time on, a cold winter's eve, a casual friend sitting at the table next to ours kindly offered a stranger a ride home and got done over, dragged out of his car at an isolated place, beaten badly and then stabbed to death, his wallet and car stolen. The police eventually caught the killer and he went to prison, one hopes for life.

At which time I decided my casual boozing in Montreal had to change and I had to find better digs to quaff my beer in. There were many far better bars in the area of the rue Sainte-Catherine Guest, between the city center and Westmount, and I took to hanging out in a few of those. More expensive but what is one's life worth? One lives and learns. Or just lives.

We could buy big pitchers of beer in the Montreal taverns but I don't recall if these were sold in Ontario. I rather think they were. Also in New Brunswick where I spent my summers with the family (and consequently had to temper my alcohol intake as my stepmom was overly religious and teetotal and watched everyone at home like a hawk for any misbehaving or immorality, neither of which by the way did we kids ever indulge in until we all left home. I recall a pitcher of Moosehead Pale Ale at a tavern in 'New Bruns' took a massive effort of both will and stomach to quaff and most of us opted for 'CC and Seven' which must have been distilled and delivered around Canada by the container shipload.

In my Atlantic Region years weekend drives to Prince Edward Island (which I found rather too quiet for my liking) or more often to Halifax where the climate was kinder and the locals more friendly to tourists, were enjoyable outings. Also to Saint John for seafood and shopping at the farmers' market in the city center, where I had my first taste of good cheeses and exotic fruits, I believe it is still there but I'm sure no longer selling impressively ripe blue cheese in a Christmas cake tin as I bought in 1966. It took me months to consume and ended up in my stepdad's beer fridge in the garage as stepmom couldn't bear the smell whenever she opened the fridge.

You mentioned an Irving audit. The Irving family ran New Brunswick then - KC was the patriarch and his three sons were known as Gassy, Oily and Greasy. I worked for one of the Irving newspapers for two years, an unhappy experience for me overall, not due to KC or his kin but outdated management ideas and the prevalent English-French divide which was particularly odious in the '60s, all this has now changed tho' the Irvings still control a lot of the province's economy. New Bruns (as we called it) seems to have enjoyed somewhat of a renaissance now with Canadians keen to escape from the dog-eat-dog business attitudes of the big cities of Canada. I found this was very much the case in Toronto in the '70s and I was happy to leave it for better places, even Los Angeles was more laid back and Sydney when I finally ended up there in 1976 was like a small slice of heaven to me. Half a century later (well, almost) I am still there and I have never really looked back, tho' a part of me harkens to revisit Canada and especially New Brunswick for one last time. Most likely I will never get back there as my life is firmly in Victoria (the state) and my SO prefers life in a warmer climate. An old man's dreams, but I reckon it's good to dream.

The drive from Toronto or Montreal to Nova Scotia was pleasant back then, especially through Quebec with its many small country towns and the charming landscape along the Fleuve Saint Laurent . You knew you were no longer in English Canada when you crossed the border into Quebec and pulled up at a roadside diner for coffee which as so distinctly French. Ditto the small delis of Montreal and the bakeries with the mounds of baguettes and croissants and the varieties of bread not often available elsewhere other than Toronto which even then had a large European and Asian population and such diverse foods. Almost everywhere else, it was hot chicken, hot beef, hot pork or hot lamb sandwiches with fries and canned peas and a gallon of gravy poured over the lot. For $1.15 it was a feast but I doubt I could get one down now...

Toronto did have some odd drinking rules, as did Sydney (Australia, not Nova Scotia) where up to the early '80s pubs were not allowed to have beer gardens or serve alcohol at tables on the street, tho' the New South Wales police were notoriously corrupt and we often saw pairs of uniformed officers call in at the bar, be handed a white envelope, enjoy a few drinks and then leave. All this changed first in Victoria and finally in New South when more intelligence prevailed. By then I had discovered the joys of good Australian wine and no longer hung out in pubs.

I was a media grunt at Expo '67 and those six months changed my entire outlook on life. Montreal also changed, the multicultural environment changed and expanded as all sorts of new bars, cafes and upmarket eateries popped up alongside the typically French ambience of the city. My first time in Florida was in 1966 when I drove across Canada in a 1961 Peugeot 403 on three cylinders, going up hills was so slow we were often passed by fully loaded road transporters but saved a small fortune in gas (which cost 50 cents a gallon in Canada then but was probably cheaper in the US, I've forgotten all the long ago prices) and spent a week with one of my aunts who had an apartment by the ocean in Miami Beach. Another unique cultural experiences. Florida back then (and maybe still now) was much less Cuban but entire suburbs were populated by French Canadians and all the Montreal newspapers were available in the news agencies a day after they were published in Quebec. Heady times indeed for a not yet 21 year old...

This could go on forever, couldn't it? I am still convinced the way for you to go, Gordon, is to edit your lively and very readable 'memoirs' into a book of written essays.Your family will surely thank you for this and it will keep you pleasantly occupied well into your nineties. Worth a thought...
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Old Feb 2nd 2023, 12:49 pm
  #197  
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Default Re: Life's Turning-Points

Really enjoying these stories, chaps, keep it up.

I'm not as old as you two (53) but I've done my fair share of travelling and living overseas. One thing struck me when I was reading about your bar tales... I always used to enjoy arriving in a new place and finding a bar to figure out the lay of the land. Without fail, you could stand at the bar with a beer and strike up a conversation with someone or other, and before the evening was out you'd made some new pals.

Sadly, this rarely happens anymore. If you go into a bar, chances are nobody is standing at the bar, even the blokes on their own are at a table, supping their beer while scrolling on their phones. I'm as guilty of this as anyone else, but it really has killed the art of casual spontaneous conversation with stangers - even if you are all telling the same stories over and over again.

Anyway, rest assured that people are reading and enjoying your reminiscences. On on!
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Old Feb 2nd 2023, 2:59 pm
  #198  
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Default Re: Life's Turning-Points

Originally Posted by JDWoowoo50
I am still convinced the way for you to go, Gordon, is to edit your lively and very readable 'memoirs' into a book of written essays.Your family will surely thank you for this and it will keep you pleasantly occupied well into your nineties. Worth a thought...
Dann. The administrators here at BE allow me to put my personal website at the bottom of every post, but for some reason it leads nowhere. They're a bit fanatical about that sort of thing, so they may not allow me to change it. If you eliminate the www. it should bring you to my last and final entry of six years ago. If it doesn't, try adding /2016 and that should work. Then, there's an index on the side. The first of my travel-reports was posted in December 2011. I began writing some of the adventures for my grandchildren to read, when they could read English. My introduction was "It’s a grandfather’s privilege, universally acknowledged, to bore his grandchildren with tales of his younger days. I miss out on that, because my granddaughters don’t speak English well enough to get the full benefit. All I can do is wait until they are fluent enough to read my memoirs. In the absence of memoirs, there are my blog postings. So I’m going to start slipping in occasional reports like the one below. Will they enjoy them, when they’re older? Ah well, that’s not my department. I deal in stories, not enjoyment..."

I chose that particular report (the illegal crossing of The Berlin Wall in 1965) because I considered it to be the most unusual of my youthful travels with the girl I had picked up outside a Greek Youth Hostel, and later married. Others of the genre have the letter T- stuck on the end of the titles. It's all harmless stuff, of course, but if the mods still censor me, I dunno. We'll have to exchange private emails, if we're allowed to do that. It's all very difficult! Let's see how we get on here. Those written essays (2010-2016) encompass my life's journal. Regrettably - very regrettably - the grandchildren don't seem to be interested enough to warrant the effort, although they do like hearing my stories when I relate them in conversation! If you get to read this, tell me what you think.
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Old Feb 2nd 2023, 3:45 pm
  #199  
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Default Re: Life's Turning-Points

Originally Posted by Gordon Barlow
Dann. The administrators here at BE allow me to put my personal website at the bottom of every post, but for some reason it leads nowhere. They're a bit fanatical about that sort of thing, so they may not allow me to change it. If you eliminate the www. it should bring you to my last and final entry of six years ago. If it doesn't, try adding /2016 and that should work. Then, there's an index on the side. The first of my travel-reports was posted in December 2011. I began writing some of the adventures for my grandchildren to read, when they could read English. My introduction was "It’s a grandfather’s privilege, universally acknowledged, to bore his grandchildren with tales of his younger days. I miss out on that, because my granddaughters don’t speak English well enough to get the full benefit. All I can do is wait until they are fluent enough to read my memoirs. In the absence of memoirs, there are my blog postings. So I’m going to start slipping in occasional reports like the one below. Will they enjoy them, when they’re older? Ah well, that’s not my department. I deal in stories, not enjoyment..."

I chose that particular report (the illegal crossing of The Berlin Wall in 1965) because I considered it to be the most unusual of my youthful travels with the girl I had picked up outside a Greek Youth Hostel, and later married. Others of the genre have the letter T- stuck on the end of the titles. It's all harmless stuff, of course, but if the mods still censor me, I dunno. We'll have to exchange private emails, if we're allowed to do that. It's all very difficult! Let's see how we get on here. Those written essays (2010-2016) encompass my life's journal. Regrettably - very regrettably - the grandchildren don't seem to be interested enough to warrant the effort, although they do like hearing my stories when I relate them in conversation! If you get to read this, tell me what you think.
Gordon please PM me with details of what you would like to do with your signature and I will see what I can do.
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Old Feb 2nd 2023, 9:03 pm
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Default Re: Life's Turning-Points

Pubs in the western world were different places in the '60s and '70s. By the '80s the drinking 'scene' in Canada and Australia had changed as "gentrification" brought in a younger, more sophisticated generation more into socializing with groups of friends or work mates, wanting new types of drinks (in Australia wine had largely replaced beer in bar sales), dining in pub bistros or socializing at music nights rather than propping up the bar and chatting casually with strangers. As they say, the times they had a-changed, as they do, and new customs of pub-going had taken place.

In the '60s in Montreal and Toronto (I was then in my 20s and more into that mass or even mob socializing) we gathered in large groups and consumed endless pitchers of beer. By 1970 Iknew I wasn't really a beer drinker and not especially fond of Canadian brews. By 1980 I was in Australia and older, married and with less time and money to throw at going out for a good time. I had also discovered the excellent Aussie wines, particularly the reds and fortifieds, and I was by then more into the European custom of wine with dining rather than quaffing. Suffices to say in my 48 years Down Under I've done plenty of both, but age has wearied me, and I nowadays sip rather than guzzle.

Pubs (or taverns as they were then called) in Québec were interesting places. Many sold locally brewed ciders (do any Québecois here recall 'Cidrobec'? Is it still made?) and had bars well stocked with good spirits and fortified wines. Also excellent food in many drinking establishments. Pre-1970 (the year I relocated from Montreal to Toronto) I had memorable weekend tavern crawls in Le Vieux Québec (= Old Quebec City) and also warming drinks at the bar of Le Chateau Frontenac on winter nights when blizzards and cold northerly winds were filling the roads with drifting snow. Travel to Québec meant a 150-mile drive in my unheated Renault 4 or my best friend's 1957 Beetle (the "dunny door rear window" model) but we were young and strong and we thought nothing of this expedition, four of us huddling together for body warmth in those charming but impractical French or German sardine cans on wheels.

Taverns in Ontario were more more, well, utilitarian places. Drinking there was more English and serious, everyone seemingly intent on "inducing a glow" more than conviviality or good conversation, tho' I recall most locals as friendly if reserved. Many Australian pubs out of the big cities are still like this. The climate out in the Bush is fiercely hot for much of the year and often a glass or two of ice-cold beer is a life-saver on a 40C-degree day.

Moving on to travels. I believe I was born a wanderer, typically Sagittarius flinging arrows into the sky, intent on capturing a wayward star or two. In 1966 I flew the coop of family and work for the first time, driving cross-country (in a Peugeot 403, imagine!) from New Brunswick to British Columbia, to Tijuana, Mexico and eastward to Canada with stops in Arizona, New Mexico and Texas and visits to all the American Civil War battlefields, four months of heady escape. In years to follow I floated to and fro around the globe at a time when airfares were cheap, the going was good and costs for everything were nothing like they are today. Wonderful times they were.

Now retired and lucky to be in good health, I still roam around in Southeast Asia. Now in Indonesia, then to Melbourne for At Home duties and my yearly med exam and blood-letting, then again to Asia, to revisit Angkor Was and maybe Vietnam. More travels to come in the future, I hope. By the time I hit 80 I'll buy a rocking chair and maybe spend more time at home with the cats on my lap and old YouTube movies. Yes, I said "maybe"...

I've found writing one's memoirs in later life can be a seductively selective process, one can be tempted to "idealise" certain events events (marriage, romantic interludes, family, travels) and it's easy to slip into pleasant fantasy, put on the rose-tired glasses and see things more as we hoped they were or would be and not really as they were.

Gordon I believe has wisely avoided this and penned his unvarnishedl memories, all this makes for a better, more interesting and surely more accurate summary of his life. As well, words sometimes can fail to capture the small nuances of everyday life or the full story of what happened during key events. Two personal examples now. In a previous post I wrote of a trio of mobsters shot in a Montreal tavern in the '60s. This actually took place at some distance from where I was sitting in a vast room which at the time had several hundred enthusiastic drinkers and many staff racing about with bottles and pitchers of beer. As it transpired I was in the gents' at the time. I returned to my table to find my friends and the entire place had cleared of people in 30 seconds. I grabbed my coat and escaped via the back door to my car parked on a side street as the first police sirens were wailing in the not-too-distant distance. I did get a glimpse of three bodies huddled around an upturned table but no way did I venture close enough to check on blood or body bits on the floor. For all this, the (fortunately a one-time) event greatly changed my attitude to casually drinking in the more louche taverns of Montreal. I was more careful after that to frequent establishments not patronized by large besuited gunmen walking in and out with loaded shotguns.

As for Australia, my comments on the drinking and police cultures in 1970s Sydney were not meant as offensive. Such things did happen, but now for many years the law enforcement forces in New South Wales and Victoria have been "clean" and their officers behave differently from those laissez-faire days. governments and police have restored public trust in our constabulary and we are a far bbetter society for that.

So yes, I've had a varied and interesting life in Canada, New Mexico and California, Southeast Asia, and now Australia, now my home. Gordon has done the same with a different career and a far more stable, happy life. I had to wander more and try various occupations before settling on the careers that best suited me. I retired in 2012, not wealthy but satisfied with my life's varied pathways. My 11 years of retirement have been pleasant and, I think, productive in different ways from my past.

As Gordon wrote, the new generation appear to rely less on the printed word and instead favor Kindle, iPhone contacts and shorter attention spans, the way of the world in the 21st century. As for our BE mods, they do dutiful (and I suspect often thankless) work to keep us all in line. I know I have on occasion crossed a few verbal boundaries and being only human, I need to be taken in hand and upbraided for my harsh words. To which I say Well And Good. All too often I' treated much the same way at home for my Sagittarius transgressions. For which I blame the universe having given us astrology to excuse our written whims.

I'm happy that some BE members enjoy this thread and that Gordon has kindly made public the details of his personal web site, which I think shows courage on his part. I will make direct contact later to share ideas and thoughts with him before I write them here, and I hope others here on BE will use his site well. He has put in much time and great effort in writing this thread and I for one am content to see this acknowledged. Carry on, please!


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Old Feb 3rd 2023, 1:38 am
  #201  
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Default Re: Life's Turning-Points

Testing... testing... I've just checked my Profile whatsit, and confirmed that my new signature is as before but without the www and the full stop. Post #200 above was also supposed to be trimmed of the offending www. inclusion, and it wasn't! The www. was still included! Maybe there is some kind of delay written into the program before a change takes effect. Is that correct, JG? Let's see if I've given enough time. Fingers crossed!

Aha! It hasn't changed yet. I've just clicked the "Previous Post" and it includes the unwanted www. Can anybody help? Thank you if so! OK. Hitting "Submit Reply" now, to register the present situation (same as the past one!).
Oh well, one last try... here's what I want the signature to be, so that you can arrive at the post! The piece about the Berlin Wall is December 2011 (from the index on the right hand side), and the title to look for is "Checkpoint Charlie". It's the first of my travel-tales - and my favourite, incidentally!

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Old Feb 3rd 2023, 2:46 am
  #202  
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Default Re: Life's Turning-Points

Gordon…what you cannot do is post the address of your blog in posts. As you know, you can put it in your signature but not in posts. That’s the reason I asked you to PM me, rather than discuss this in the thread.

Please take this discussion to PM.
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Old Feb 3rd 2023, 1:55 pm
  #203  
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I have edited your signature and it seems to be working now,
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Old Feb 3rd 2023, 2:03 pm
  #204  
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Originally Posted by Jerseygirl
I have edited your signature and it seems to be working now,
Thank you very much, Jg. Much appreciated.
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Old Feb 5th 2023, 1:11 am
  #205  
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Default Re: Life's Turning-Points

DANN, thanks for your well-written reminiscences, lovingly written!. I will comment on them soon, but meantime you might like to know that I have a thread called "Back in the Day" on the Rest of the World forum, and it's that thread that carries most of my old memories. And there are a lot of them to come. I was brought up in the Queensland bush - on a sheep farm (we called them stations, not farms) a few miles removed from civilisation. I was my mother's child, and she had been a city girl; and she and I never actually liked the country life. However, as the oldest child, I had to do a fair amount of the dirty work, and it was I who had to chase the stupid sheep down the chute to where Dad was holding the gate separating the ewes from the non-ewes. (No, no, that's a joke from some English comedy show that was popular back then - the U's from the non-U's...)

Anyway, feel free to check it out. I've just been relating some of the stories to my son (visiting from Norway), things like the district's schoolhouse with 12 pupils aged four to seven under the tutelage of a 17-year-old boy fresh from Teachers Training College. Canada probably had the same sort of set-up somewhere or other, so Canadians reading this can swap experiences with me!
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Old Feb 7th 2023, 1:54 am
  #206  
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Default Re: Life's Turning-Points

To quote one of my favorite sayings in life, yes to everything, Gordon!

Reminiscences can be rewarding in that they make us reflect and often think laterally. Not so much how it could have been, but how it was. Gratitude follows naturally. I've never been one to hold regrets about my past life, as I believe these can hold us back. Best to live and learn and move on when the time comes, but also appreciate and enjoy what one has at all times. As the Buddhists say, cherish the moment.

More miscellaneous memories now. In my usual scattershot order, as I think and often write. Growing up as I did - my stepdad was an army tech and not overly fond of his family, so he took advantage of opportunities to transfer as were available in the military in the '40s and '50s - we pulled up stakes and moved to a new situation every few years - New Brunswick, Montreal, New Mexico, again Montreal, and again to New Brunswick when I was eight, I was schooled in many different environments and basically an "alien" child more fond of books, popular and serious music , checkers and chess, and old films. I liked solitary sports like skiing, snowshoeing and even golf which I was terrible at but enjoyed as it got me out and about. I never took to hockey or softball. So I spent a lot of time alone or with one or two friends, and I enjoyed the solitary pursuits of someone who doesn't fit in and is largely ignored due to being seen as "different" in conformist small town life.

At home things were complex. My stepmom craved security and the sameness of home life and reacted badly to continually being uprooted, having to pack, settle anew, then pack again, move and start all over. She often complained and subconsciously undermined our home life with her at times unreasonable demands and her quest for perfection in all things. Coming from a rural background as one of nine children of a farming family,, she was unhappy with change and uncomfortable with living on military posts. My stepdad, seldom at home but concerned the day cleaner came, as she didn't want the help to see "how dirty we are". Insecure and unable to deal with her home situation, she was easily angered by innocent acts by her three children. She responded to any disagreement with anger, shouting and blaming, and then felt guilty and bought treats for us. Stepdad withdrew into alcohol and evenings of beer with whisky chasers at the non-com officers' club on the bases.

Summers were happier for us, spent with grandparents and extended family in Canada where we were well looked after.

I was a stubborn child and clung to my own wishes even in my pre-school age. At age three I was sent to preschool and I thrived on this new environment (also an escape from home life). An aunt who was a teacher taught me to read at age four and I was writing sentences even before I went to grade school. I knew I wanted to be a creative writer by the time I was seven. At age thirteen I was penning articles for local newspapers and at fourteen I took up B&W photography which I still do to this day, now with digital cameras and not film.

(In the 1980s my stepmom was finally able to confront her life problems and underwent three years of therapy, which resolved many of her conflicts. We were able to talk about her problems and I think she accepted the problems caused by her religious guilt and anxiety. A few years ago she passed away at 101. In the end she found peace.

Moving on now. In the early '50s we got a TV, an early Philco B&W with a fuzzy screen, unusually large for its time and place. My stepdad built an elegant cabinet for it from exotic wood with brass fittings, side doors for speakers and even shelves for books. It's still in the family, a cousin in Arizona has it as a valued heirloom.

TV opened up new worlds for me. I was soon watching many programs nowadays regarded as "advanced" for the times. I didn't care for hockey or other sports on TV, in later years I had a long-standing joke line that my preferred "sport" was listening to golf tournaments on the radio. TV was different back then. To name a few, there was the Ed Sullivan show, Front Page Challenge and Satuday night movies on CBC TV, the legendary Don Messer music programs from Halifax, Howdy Doody on American networks, the famous What's My Line? on Sunday nights was one of my favorite TV series. At age seven I announced I was in love with one of the panelists, the elegant and beautiful arleen Francis, and I wanted her to be my foster mother.

An aside now. In the '70s when I was rather a bright star in media, I was in New York and met Arlene and her husband, the actor-producer Martin Gabel at a friend's party. I told her about my childhood crush and she replied by saying at the time she received letters from children, telling her the same thing. According to Arlene, she didn't know how to deal with this and had her agent send all these young writers an autosigned photo of herself with a printed note. In turn I told her I was sorry I didn't write to her as I would have cherished such a gift - I already had "signed" eight-by-tens of my other TV idols, Gene Autry, Hopalong Cassidy, Wilf Carter (does anybody remember Wolf any more?), Walter Pidgeon (who was born and grew up in Saint John, New Brunswick, which fascinated me as a child), Gloria Swanson and even Run Tin Tin. She kindly had a photo from that era sent to me. I still have it, framed at home, next to RTT...

In my early teens I was sent to boarding school. I saw and learned much about life and I was soon "wise" (about rather too much). we were a mixed back of Canadian and some American students and we talked a lot about so many things. After two years I "lost" my religious faith and no longer wanted to be restricted by the constraints of a religious education, Boarding school life taught me to be cautious about people and not rely on surface smiles and what I saw rather than what really was going on. Another important lesson was that when things I didn't really understand were taking place it was best for me to step back and not leap in to participate. Also to rely on common sense and listen to my gut feelings about many things. Useful advice for my later adult life.

ga drifted into media writing and photography as my initial "profession". I was a cadet journalist and supplemented my modest salary with freelance articles and occasional contributions to regional radio and TV series. New Mexico was overloaded with creative talent so not many media opportunities offered themselves even in the '60s, but eastern Canada was a fertile ground for material and I made the best of it. I earned enough to buy and run a small car (a Peugeot 403, then a Citroen 2CV I bought in France for C$500 in 1966 when I did a six-months stint as a sub-editor for a press syndicate and "imported" back to Canada in those heady days when nothing cost very much and even shipping a car across the Atlantic was affordable to a teen on a modest income.

A few years later I went to a big daily newspaper and was assigned to the TV pages. This led to a chance offer to work in media promotion at Expo '67 and I moved to Montreal, on my own at age nineteen but as a more experienced journo with an adequate salary and a small expense account. It was a time when visiting media identifies were kings and queens and I was treated to gala lunches and dinners and many lavish parties. In '67 another cherished dream in my life came true when I met celebrities - Gordon Sinclair (CBC), US VIce-President Hubert Humphrey, Walter Kronkite, all the Canadian premiers and the then PM Pierre Trudeau. None became my good friends but all were friendly and kind to me. In all, a good learning time in my life.

I stayed in Montreal after Expo and did various things. I was an advertising copywriter, a book publisher's assistant, a sub-editor for an English daily paper and even had my own professional "CV" (employment resume) agency for jobseekers, which I did for a year and when I sold it I had enough to move to Toronto and then Vancouver.

The '70s took me to California, to Southeast Asia and eventually to Australia (Sydney and Melbourne), where I've stayed and put down roots. So yes, gypsy blood runs through my veins, it seems. .

n the personal side I married two times to charming and loving ladies but we were incompatible and eventually parted ways. Luckily it was Third Time Lucky for me and after a chance meeting in Malaysia I've been with my now partner (my beloved "SO") for almost thirty years. Now in my mid 70s and I hope to have a few more years to enjoy my gadabout. When I'm old (80 and upwards) I'll buy that rocking chair and get a big cat to sit on my lap while I watch more old movies and read more good books. And go on going on. I hope

So yes, all in all mine has been a good and an interesting life. Much like yours, Gordon, if in different ways and on different continents. Same-same, different-different.
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Old Feb 10th 2023, 1:18 am
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Default Re: Life's Turning-Points

Super stuff, Dan! It all reads very well, and you obviously get a lot of enjoyment remembering the incidents, as I do with mine. I have just typed a successor-post to my #163 above - my retirement from the tax-haven business and my new career as a house-father. But all my typing disappeared when I went back to that #163! The BE system apparently doesn't like you leaving stuff unposted while you go elsewhere even for a minute or two! I'm damned if I'll re-type my next TP just now. I'll do it tomorrow some time. Anyway... That TP was when I was called out of house-fathering to start up a Chamber of Commerce office here in 1986. For the first time in its 20 years of existence as a monthly luncheon-club, the Chamber was in a position to oppose legislative proposals that its members didn't like. For the first time, it could campaign against such proposals. And for the first time in my life, I was in serious danger of being deported from my adopted homeland.

I'll get back to this topic when I'm in a better temper!
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Old Feb 10th 2023, 7:45 pm
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Default Re: Life's Turning-Points

Just had a nice batch of fresh chicken wings plus a posh chocolate cake from Costco dropped off to my office. I'm also doing cheeseburger sliders amongst other meaty and snackish treats that HID has allowed for the big day. The Super Bowl is a go!
Can one rent defibrillators for a weekend?
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Old Feb 10th 2023, 8:42 pm
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Default Re: Life's Turning-Points

Originally Posted by Oink
Just had a nice batch of fresh chicken wings plus a posh chocolate cake from Costco dropped off to my office. I'm also doing cheeseburger sliders amongst other meaty and snackish treats that HID has allowed for the big day. The Super Bowl is a go!
Can one rent defibrillators for a weekend?
Possibly but they might be in high demand this weekend.
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Old Feb 17th 2023, 1:49 am
  #210  
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Default Re: Life's Turning-Points

Originally Posted by Gordon Barlow
Super stuff, Dan! It all reads very well, and you obviously get a lot of enjoyment remembering the incidents, as I do with mine. I have just typed a successor-post to my #163 above - my retirement from the tax-haven business and my new career as a house-father. But all my typing disappeared when I went back to that #163! The BE system apparently doesn't like you leaving stuff unposted while you go elsewhere even for a minute or two! I'm damned if I'll re-type my next TP just now. I'll do it tomorrow some time. Anyway... That TP was when I was called out of house-fathering to start up a Chamber of Commerce office here in 1986. For the first time in its 20 years of existence as a monthly luncheon-club, the Chamber was in a position to oppose legislative proposals that its members didn't like. For the first time, it could campaign against such proposals. And for the first time in my life, I was in serious danger of being deported from my adopted homeland.

I'll get back to this topic when I'm in a better temper!
So... back to my 1986 Turning Point... The Chamber of Comics - so called, until then - found itself a new lease of life when it opened a full-time back-office. Our (my) first job was publicly objecting to a proposed new Labour Law. We described it as "a lurch towards socialism" - at a time when socialism was a dirty word here, the equivalent of communism. The description didn't go down well at all with the politicians. I lined up all the trade associations to support our call to abandon the "lurch", but the politicians threatened to withhold the Hotel Association's annual advertising subsidy, so that was the end of the rebellion. They (the pollies) blamed me, as the Chamber's Manager, and took measures to revoke my Work Permit. They were somehow persuaded to let me stay for another 12 months - a decision they came to regret. Their next "lurch" was to propose a UK-style government-monopoly pension. This time, we didn't rely on the trade associations. What we did was recruit the Islands' employees by labelling the proposal as an income -tax. Being a true-blue offshore tax-haven, Cayman had never taxed incomes; and the prospect lit a fire under a huge majority of the Islands' voters.

This time, we won in a canter. Everybody but me, anyway. I hastily found a young native-Caymanian willing to take over as Manager (he did an excellent job), and fought to stay on the Island. They ("They!") left Linda alone, but objected to Ross's presence, as well as mine. My Directors (mostly native-Caymanians) stormed up to the politicians' offices and kicked the furniture around until "They" grudgingly allowed Ross (then 13) to stay on Linda's Permit. But the pols refused to back down on mine. Fortunately, the Immigration Officer of the time - a British Civil Servant not responsible to the local politicians in this British Colony - would not allow my expulsion, and stamped me in as a visitor - each month for the next year: not allowed to work, but allowed to stay on the Island.

In that "in limbo" status, I gave a lot of thought to how I might be able to improve my situation. I finally found a way - a pretty risky way, and it didn't please Linda at all - but it worked. At least, it has worked from then (1988) until now, which makes it my very last "Life's Turning Point". It deserves a post of its own here. Later, then...
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