This evening as I write these words I am on the cusp of completing 75 years on this earth. Tomorrow I will awaken 75 years old and embarking on my 76th year.
I found myself wondering – have I changed? improved? gotten better? I mean I always talk about improving, learning, you know.
My life is more comfortable in many ways, but I still make mistakes, errors in judgement. Of course being human means non-perfection. I do wonder if I am any wiser? Hindsight is 20/20 as they say, so I guess there is some wisdom from lessons learned.
I thought it would be helpful to look back at a blog from my 65th birthday. Ten years ago on Bridgesburning. Below are actually interesting facts about my city which at the time of my 65th was celebrating its 100th.
History aside, I guess it matters less what I learned or did in the past, but what I do in the future. I am big on journaling so for this auspicious occasion I treated myself to a new leather bound journal to start tomorrow. Will I fill it with proof of wisdom? Who knows? And since our schools no longer teach cursive to students it is quite likely no one will be able to read it anyway. Someday probably Universities will include translation of cursive along with other dead languages. hahaha.
Friday June 8th is not only my birthday but also that of the city of my birth, Kitchener Ontario. The city was 35 when I was born and I think that is about all I will say of that. Its original name was Berlin and it was renamed when the First World War took place. I guess our city fathers felt Berlin was a little Germanic considering so it was named after Lord Kitchener. It did not change the fact that the largest population was German. The city apparently boasted a spectacular bust of Kaiser Whilhelm 1 and a few days after war was declared three young Berlin men (Fred Bolton, Alan Smith and John Ferguson) toppled the bust and dumped it into the lake at Victoria Park. Unfortunately in 1916 there was considerable animosity from the non-German residents.
It has been interesting reading the history pages on line as many of the names we have for parks and streets are linked to the actual people living at the time.
In 1920 Charles How’s Royal Cafe was raided by Kitchener police who seized a large amount of opium and smoking equipment so I guess drugs in the cities have a long history.
In 1922 we were visited by William Lyon Mackenzie King who was then Prime Minister and a native son of our wee town. Not so wee since 10,000 people came out to meet him .
Canadians are known to be generally a polite tolerable people however 1925 saw a clandestine attempt to oraganize a Kitchener chapter fo the Ku klux Kan that ended through disinterest. The organizers met in a private home but two Daily Record reporters ‘were able to glimpse a’crowd’ of three around a table.’
In 1927 it seemed there were bootleggers to be caught and in 1928 the city’s Health Department found two gypsy families living in an abandoned store and shooed them out.
The first of the famous Five and Dime stores opened in 1932 by Walter Zeller. I remember my mom still calling them Five and Dimes. In 1936 specific mention is made of a shoemaker William Thoms who road his bicycle from home to work every day for a distance of 12 miles. It was estimated he cycled a total of 131,400 miles. The distance would have been much greater but during the winters he had to walk and they did not tally up those miles. He stopped, or retired I guess at the age of 82.
One hanging was detailed in 1940. Reginald White who was the third and final person to ever be so disposed of for a crime in the city.
1942 mention of note was that the local library reported many strange things found in books used as markers, but none so strange as a slice of bacon.
It was not until 1946, on December 24th that Canadian women were given equal status under the new Citizenship Act.
Neither of my parents, many uncles, aunts, cousins, and brother, and in-laws never got to see this, so I shall savour the getting-there of it tomorrow. So from North of 43 I bid all a long and good life, oh and courage. Lord knows we need it!