Dad

June 19, 2011

My father was born in Liverpool, England in 1937. His parents ran a post office there.

When he was in the local high school, ‘grammar school’, he was one year away from Paul McCartney, who he thought was a nice chap and always thinking about his music.

Dad got a Doctor of Philosophy in Applied Mathematics from Oxford, and came to Canada to work. He was hired by McMaster University here in Hamilton, and met my mother when he started attending the same church as she did. When McMaster got their first computing machine, my Dad was one of the first faculty transferred to a Computer Science department.

From my first memories of him, Dad was always very soft-spoken and calm. He walked a bit slowly, had a permanent hump or hunch in his upper back, and didn’t drive because he was blind in one eye and didn’t have any depth perception. He would get from our house on Stanley avenue to campus and back every day, though, and I think I got some of my attitude about public transit from him. For a while, when I started going out to special schools with gifted programs in Westdale, near the university campus, we would sometimes be on the same bus in the morning or afternoon.

In the fall of my senior year of high school, Dad fell when trying to climb back up the basement stairs, and ended up in hospital, and caught a bad infection while he was there. He ended up with a tracheotomy and got a little portable text-to-speech machine with a keyboard because he wasn’t able to talk any more, and he could never really get around entirely on his own after that. But he still had a great attitude about life, especially once he got back home.

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