I was born in Pictou, Nova Scotia in 1935 as the oldest in a family of five. My father was a printer at the Pictou Advocate. I lived about a mile and a half from school. I used to run through the woods and go along the tracks to pick up coal and every Fall put banking around the house. But still, I had it good.
I was more or less of a jokester in school; I was always causing trouble. I had lots of friends. Played “Cowboys and Indians” and things like that.
I left Pictou when I was 16 and I went to Halifax. At the age of 19 I got into the army. In ‘54 I was in the reserve army and I went from Nova Scotia to Fredericton for two months for general military training. I was in the army for four years. I went to Germany for two. Peace time. Westfalia. Then I was in Petawawa. I liked it.
I left it because of booze. During the day, when I was in the army, I was okay. I was a darned good soldier. Then I was out partying, you know, and drinking. Petawawa is just across the bridge from Quebec and in Quebec you could do exactly what you wanted to, so I would go drinking beer and bring it back. I got caught twice and so out you go. I was 23.
I didn’t drink until I went to Germany. I was 19 when I went to Germany and it started from then on, I guess.
When I came to Ontario I had odd jobs…mostly seasonal work. I tried to work on the waterfront but I couldn’t get into the union.
I came to Toronto and worked in some construction and I ended up doing construction. The last thing I was doing when I was still working with construction, my boss he lost his licence, so I was his chauffeur. He had a Rolls Royce. That was the last time I worked. I’d drink mostly on the weekends.
I was married when my son was eight years old. I don’t see him much now. My wife died in 1982 but we were divorced first. We split up just before I met Beverley. We weren’t married but we were together for 27 years. She liked to make people laugh. We met at the legion playing darts. She got a trophy for hitting a light bulb out.
I liked to drink. I’m a happy drunk. So was Beverley. The last ten years I didn’t drink hard liquor. I had beer. It was too expensive. I mostly drank at home. We used to go out but then it got too expensive.
Beverley stopped smoking and I stopped too, so it wouldn’t bother her. I promised her I wouldn’t drink and I’m not. I told Bev, “I’m not quitting. I’m just stopping for a while.” Something like that. So it wasn’t a pressure. I can if I want to, but I don’t want to. So that was it. No more.
Beverley died this past year. She was in the hospital for a couple of weeks and then she was gone. Fast.
I don’t think I would have come this far without LOFT and Dunn Avenue Supportive Housing Services. They help with my every day needs, which alleviates my anxiety and provides a whole array of social recreational activities that break the monotony and decrease my loneliness. I enjoy the trips, the movie nights, and going to the Island in the summer. If it wasn’t for LOFT, I’d probably be a lot worse off than I am. They call every day. Thursdays they come and they mop my floors and do my laundry. They do a lot of things where I don’t really participate. But it’s nice to know I could. And they do keep me active. I’m not using the walker as much as I used to. When I go outside I use it, but in the building I use a cane.
I have struggled with depression at times, but I had a good life. I enjoyed it. And I’m glad to have help from LOFT now so I can stay in my place.