Go Way Back

Dad (Jack Blair) was stationed with the R.A.F. at Invergordon, Scotland during the war. Working radar, navigation and surveillance on Sunderland floating bombers over the North Sea. He remembers one day being reprimanded and excused from a flight for some other menial task. He watched that plane head out over Cromarty Firth, falter and crash into the waves. Great loss of life. There were other close calls.

Mom (Bev Blair) lost her mother to a heart attack when she was only fourteen. Her father Ken, a WW1 veteran injured at Vimy, tried his best while working as a commercial painter at C.P.R. A Danish Aunt Mary, sister to the deceased Hertha, became the surrogate mother providing much female comfort and counsel.

After the war a neighbour half a block away from Aunt Mary had some interesting news. Her elderly father Hank Radway, a golf personality in London had met a strapping young man who worked for his Uncle Tom Munro at Munro Sports. Match -maker collaboration ensued and the date was on for Jack and Bev.

The young retailer and the pretty blonde nurse were wed at a simple ceremony in 1947.

Four years later Bev sat at the edge of a hospital bed, painfully into her third day of sporadic labour. Apparently the baby had a really big head. She remembers thinking to herself, as the nurses whispered down the hall, "I could die having this baby. Lord help me."

Almost eight years later, Bev was again ready to deliver, but this time much more confidently. Young Doug was having a "holiday visit" with Aunt Mary. He remembers being driven each day by Uncle Perce past the fire-hall and across town to Ryerson Public School. Then came the suspenseful return home and the first viewing of baby Scott in the re-decorated bedroom on Regent Street.

Skip to 1972 and a summer break from college. Doug and his friend Jim Carson drive into Invergordon, Scotland. The village looks pretty much as it did in the 1940's. The sun is shining over Cromarty Firth.

On May 8th this year Mom celebrated her 83rd birthday. Dad looks forward to his 87th on June 7th. They still live at the same house on Regent Street. Gardening. Holding each other. Watching for birds at the backyard feeder station. Keeping tabs on curling and golfing championships. Occasionally, although failing in eyesight, Dad takes a try at nine holes, as did old Hank Radway.

All this was interconnected. God at the helm. He has carried my family. He always will.


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