When I left high school, 50 years ago, I didn’t know what I wanted to do but was very curious about the world beyond. I wanted to learn more and, having been inspired by some good teachers, I went on to study philosophy (religious, economic, existential; St. Augustine, Marx, Descartes, Smith, Hume, Mill, Camus to name just a few). I studied political science and psychology, history and sociology, and comparative literature (Keats and Shelley, Yeats and Synge, Conrad and Greene, Salinger and Kerouac, Atwood and W.O. Mitchell).
To pay my way I worked at a variety of jobs: mill worker, bus driver, carpenter’s helper, day labourer and night crawler. It was a good time to be alive. Many people were experimenting with different ways of being. I was working on the premise that the goal should be not to find yourself but to create a life.
I travelled widely when I got the chance. To Huehuetenango and Tangier, Charlottetown and Tipperary, the Alps and the Serengeti, to Tulameen and Tuktoyaktuk, to Cape Town and Stonetown, and to Townes Van Zandt and Tim Buckley, too. (How does one make these CV pieces entertaining?)
Eventually, I found a niche in the newspaper business. I worked as a photographer, a reporter, a features writer and a columnist.
Then I returned to school and studied computer science in the early years of the micro-computer revolution. I worked as a consultant for H.J. Heinz, helping to convert their systems. I wrote a couple of software manuals. And, on the side, I studied Dylan, Cohen, Morrison and Prine.
I travelled to Isla Mujeres, Anegada, Mykonos, Caye Caulker and Zanzibar. (I have a thing about small island communities.)
When I returned to newspapers I worked as a sports editor, a business editor, a news editor, a books editor, a magazine editor, an editorial writer, a managing editor and finished up as the editor of the Islander at the TC in what I like to think of as its heyday before newspapers began to shrink away.
I’d grown up in Cadboro Bay as a paper boy enjoying some of the Islander’s old-fashioned pieces about local history and articles celebrating the beauty of our natural world, so I felt I’d come full circle.
My wife, Nancy (a ’68 OB grad) and I retired early when we found a spectacular piece of shoreline on Hornby Island and have operated a guesthouse there for the past decade, being entertained by the locals and by guests from far away and high and wide.
Fifty years. Adventures, we’ve had a few. We all have. We’ve met some wonderful characters along the way. I look forward to seeing many of you again and sharing an entertaining anecdote or two.