My father

My father was a complicated man, a character some might say. He was very smart, he held his own in conversations about history, politics, and religion. While working shifts, he attended night school at McMaster University. I remember my mother telling us to be quiet because dad had an essay to write. He was a steel worker, who at one time had dreams of being a teacher, but with a family to support, teacher’s college was out of reach.

He was also a man I really could never really figure out. Take a look at this picture of me as a toddler, note the bottom right hand corner.
Me as a toddler

I had a doll that was black. I don’t know the history behind this picture, and my parents, grandparents have been gone for a number of years, so there is no one to ask. Why do I wonder? When I was in grade ten, I was out with my girlfriend, who attended a different high school than I. She wanted to drop by a school mates house, and he was Black (I use the word ‘Black’ only because it was 1976, and that was how my father thought). I knew I would get in trouble for this visit, and when I got home late, my father started the angry questions. I tried to lie about where I was, but failed. I don’t remember the exact words my father used, but I certainly was never to go over to this boy’s house again.

Fast forward a number of years, and my father’s attitude/thought process changes. My one brother adopts an African-American child, and this child is welcomed into the family. My other brother is encouraged by my father to marry a lovely woman from Guyana (sadly Veronica passed away at the young age of 30).

My father had changed. He was no longer that man in 1976, who thought it was wrong to go to another person’s house, who was of a different race.