In preparing to enjoy Christmas 2019, i raided the archive of scanned slides which dear Mother diligently created (fortunately before her untimely passing) for a few to share with brothers.
In particular, brother James’ kids who received monogrammed robes from Ryoko and I for gifts, and also participated in various plays telling Christmas-related stories – both similar to these offerings.
I ventured out, moustachioed, into the wilds of Guilford complete with my inmate number for easy identification.
Along with brother Dan as a clown, no tears for this one, and brother Bob with some inappropriate cultural appropriation upon which I won’t comment upon further, we would rampage through Guilford Mews condos using pillowcases instead of plastic sacks to collect the trick or treat bounty.
A heart-wrenching poem about an abducted boy called Simon – who lived nearby, was my age and sorta looked like me – in Surrey, BC 1982 – by the “Beast of BC” Clifford Robert Olson (NO relation). Recorded and contributed to Dark Poutine Canadian True Crime podcast – shared here for posterity etc.
Somehow, these artifacts have survived through dozens of moves, various countries, storage lockers and culling of items. As such, they are now rather proudly displayed here for the historical record. At risk of presenting evidence of peaking early, i see these as polishing skills and preparing for future acts, including impending/current act 3 (but who’s counting?).
These are ribbons (obv) form various events (duh) including science fairs (detailed elsewhere in this archive), plus from collections and art displayed at NW Washington Fair in Lynden (our kin lived there and, as such we spent a lot of time there and participated in the fair).
What follows are various certificates and photos for sports-related activities from youngtime in Surrey, BC, Canada. Shared for no reason other than these items exist and survived, so must want to be shared. This is all.
Class photos from Prince Charles Elementary School in Surrey (Whalley), BC, Canada. I moved to this school from Harold Bishop in the middle of Grade 4 (where i attended Mr. Chandler’s class).
Annotation: i remember this being a fun year and i recall a load of these folks. And whoa, a lot of “middle part” hair.
I lived at 12310 95th ave which was a dead-end and featured a great area for street hockey games). Cedar Hills and Senator Reid schools were both closer but i attended Prince Charles Elementary as it (apparently) featured more extra-circulars and advanced programs and walked to school about 40 minutes.
Annotation: scant recollection of this year aside from Mr. Reimer being a serious and thoughtful teacher, primarily for science topics.
Note: Grade 7 is missing, this was Mr. Tiffenbach’s class and the year i won *every* award possible including the Citizenship Award, Run for Fun, and the Science Fair (Rushmore/Tenenbaum-esque :)).
Class photos from Harold Bishop Elementary School in Surrey (Guildford), BC, Canada. Note: i’m the one in specs (the *only* one) and styling outfits, often sitting with girls or in the “goalie position”.
My best pal Chris Goodman is the one with the blonde bowl haircut, buddy Gordie is in the K & 3/4 photos too. A few other faces i recognize including Anita, Erica, Sandy, Cliff… I lived at 10545 154th street (which was unpaved then) and walked to school about 20 minutes.
Note: Grade 3 seems missing… Mrs. Johnson was also the teacher if i recall correctly.
I knew Michael as Baloo (and/or DonM.), as that was his Cub Scout leader name, named after the big friendly bear in the classic “jungle book” story by Rudyard Kipling.
But, before he was a Cub Scout leader, I knew him from the neighborhood growing up in Guilford in the 70s. Gordon and I were childhood friends, involved in all sorts of little activities like making “secret club”, building tree houses and romping around “Guilford mews” condo complex.
Later, the family join the same church my parents belong to and so I was friends with Gordon both at elementary school and at church.
One of my favorite memories of Michael was when he took us to the PNE in an old Pinto car. After he loaded us up, he explained that the brakes were shot on the car. Somehow I wasn’t worried at all! I watched him as he drove a stick shift and explained to me carefully how he was downshifting to slow the car down to “save the brakes.” He expertly and gently used the stick shift and handbrake to get us there safely for a day of fun. Later on in life when I had an old Volkswagen bus with the same conundrum, I would think about him as I would downshift and expertly and gently slow my jalopy van safely through traffic.
As Cub Scout and Boy Scout leader, he took on the task of teaching us karate. Of course an unruly group of boys thought we would be breaking bricks after the first half an hour but, instead, he explained to us all that we had to learn to meditate. Imagine a room full of us “trying“ to sit still and be quiet. It wasn’t entirely successful! But then, to show that he was in charge and knew what he was doing, he challenged us to all punch him as hard as we could to see if we can make him flinch. All of us thought we were so tough as we would try to so I came out and land a solid punch in the gut and he just laughed heartily at us. It put us all in our place, and we were much more attentive after that.
He also often brought his guitar, especially on scout outings, and would lead sing-alongs. We were all amazed by his versatility and thought it was super cool that “we” had a leader who play guitar.
Maybe you’ve seen the photo of the whole gaggle of us, with my dear, recently deceased mother and third leg of their leadership tripod Mickey Gladstone, with Michael front and center with his guitar and mustache. I am leaning on his left shoulder with my glasses and goofy childhood grin. The whole pack of us looked at him as our protector and “bonus uncle” knowing that while he was a big friendly bear, he would protect us at any cost.
The measure of a man can often be judged in their children, and garden resurfaced in my life a few years ago and we realized we were at in similar industry and were able to “talk shop“. You could tell the big heart was passed on when he arrived at my 42nd birthday party with an entire roast beef wrapped in aluminum foil he cooked for the occasion. “Just in case there’s not enough food” he said. And dear Sherri, as I’ve gone through some health challenges of my own these past few years, she’s been there so very often with a kind word of support and encouragement. It means so very much to me. Truly his quality lives on through his offspring.
Indeed, diseases can be very cruel and seeing Michael deteriorate physically to a shadow of his former robust self was a bit shocking at first as he was such a robust and powerful man – I witnessed something similar with my own dad‘s journey with dreaded cancer though it was a six week or deal from news to death – however I was comforted to know that his mental faculties stayed intact and he was able to show his children affection until the end, spared the ravages of dementia.
Dear Michael, know that you were a “big fish” to a gaggle of us kids growing up in (rather rough and tumble) Guilford in the 1970s and your protective spirit will linger on and all of us for decades to come.
Gratefully and respectfully, Davey Olson, Cub Scout pack member
recently shot clips of 23 marching bands at Victoria Day parade in Victoria (natch) and was flashing back to hauling bass drum or marimba through Bridgeview for parades with no audience. they were marching bands and now drum bugle corps per se but made me think of the hijinks with all the Pacific Blue weirdos, circa 1983-4.
anyhow, curiously wondered how our drum line would stack up (better than all i am sure!) and enjoyed some flashbacks to the many parades (enjoyed memories more than hauling mallets or bass drum) and sure enough, found a photo… of the lamest parade ever… an early morning in Bridgeview with almost no one on the streets. We were yelled at by woken up residents, and joined in the parade mostly by kids with wagons and dogs.
Behold, evidence including rare snaps of legendary Rob Loewen and the witty Bill Odribege + more renegades.