Dad was an Ottawa boy. His father and mother were from Dunrobin, but Dad grew up in the Britannia area, what he always refered to as Woodroffe. He was the youngest in the family of three children, oldest John, only sister Marion and he was the baby Bill. He had an Uncle, his Dad's brother who lived with the family while he was growing up. So Dad was always refered to as Little Bill and his uncle as Big Bill. The concept of my Dad ever being refered to as "little" used to make me laugh because while my father wasn't that tall of a man he was a very large character, and I'm not refering to his waistline.
What I know of my father as a young boy I learned from his big sister Marion. She said Dad was always a charmer, always full of fun. He loved spots, hockey was his game. And at school while his grades weren't the best he was teacher's favourite. Marion said in high school the older women teachers would often give my father the keys to their car and ask them to do their banking on the lunch break. He was a loyal honest man even at that young age.
Dad finished school, and the war started. Dad enlisted into the airforce. He did two tours in Britian. He was a Bombadeer and Navigator. I don't know much about this time because like many men, Dad wouldn't talk about the war. The only insite I have into this time is his life is from pictures, and seeing him deeply upset on Rembrance Day. When my nephew was only about 4, Dad was driving us somewhere, just the three of us alone. Randy asked him "Grampa were you in the war?" Dad, "Yes Randy". Did you kill people Granpa?" "Yes Randy I did". "Just the bad people eh Grandpa?" "No Randy I killed lots of people Randy good and bad I, dropped bombs, I have no idea who I killed.". I was listening to this conversation between a Grandson and his Grandfather. It was the most I would ever hear my father talk about the war. To hear my father talk like this was a shock to me. My father in the time I knew him, lived his life helping people, in some cases saving people. It was my first insight into what drove him as an adult.
Post war Dad and Mom ran the Detention Centre for young boys. They lived at the Centre, worked looking after the boys 7 days a week round the clock. They had help from my mother's Aunt Teen and Uncle Will. Dad would be responsible for getting the boys to school and their court dates. It was this job that caught the attention of Jack Armstrong who was the head Truent officer at the Ottawa Board of Education. He heard Dad was looking for a new job and he was impressed with the way he dealt with troubled young boys. So Dads career as a truent officer began, later to be come a social worker.
Growing up Dad was a Warden at the Church, President of the Westboro Kiwanis Club, on the board of Youth Services Board, as well as the Board for the Mentally Handicapped later to become the OCAPDD. But even with all these responsibilities he was first and foremost a husband, father and Grandpa. He sent hours taking me to my riding lessons. And then taking me to horse shows. I wasn't a talented rider, often came off and landed in the dirt, but he didn't care he was always there supporting me in my passion for horses. When my sister's had their children then he expanded his time for them. My dad going to the Dairy Queen with half the neighbourhood of children packed into his boat of a car was a regular happening.
While Dad always had a day job, he and Mom were also very involved with the communtiy. Both through the Church andthe Kiwanis Club. He was alway part of some crazy plan to raise money. In this picture Dad is dressed as a woman, I love this picture because he owned it. He and his friend a small man who was dressed as a Mountie lipsinked Nelson Eddy and Jeanette MacDonald singing "When I'm Calling You". There wasn't anything my Dad wouldn't do to have a laugh and raise money for some cause.
My Dad was 40 years old when I was born. He was in my life for too short a time, but the time was special. I often say I won the lottery when I was born into a family with such special parents. I still feel that way. Happy Father's Day Dad.