My Knight In Rusty Armour
Buying a beautiful old century home there with his new wife Shirley, a figure skating coach with whom he met while teaching a power skating course there John finally had found some peace and stability in his life. However charmed John’s sparkling personality and penchant for seeing the fun in the most mundane John’s lucky charms were about to run out.
Hoping to have cleared the clouds of the past, the new and darker ones took ominous form on the horizon beginning in the fall of 1978 when John’s father was diagnosed with colon cancer. It was a cruel death which came so quickly there was little time to place any healing salve on the open wounds which John still needed mending from his Dad.
Less than 6 months later and still bearing the loss of his Dad and the empty place in his heart that yearned for his father’s unrequited love John would be struck by another huge emotional blow. Having just talked to his mother on the phone about buying a beautiful 1972 Buick Skylark Convertible together from her new home in Sioux Falls South Dakota that the next dreaded phone call came in late that night. The one you never want to hear…
It was an accident. A terrible head on collision on a quiet country road… The other driver had been drinking…We are sorry to say your mother didn’t survive…She was killed instantly…With a heavy heart John and his older brother Bill tearfully flew down together to bring their mother’s body home to be laid to rest near their father.
John had to physically view her car trying to fully accept the brutal truth of her death and saw with his own eyes the carnage of what was left, the blood stains on her coat now hurled to the back seat and her single small shoe still resting beside the pedal.
The loss of his parents both so suddenly and tragically in such quick succession was a very difficult time for John but once again his indomitable spirit kept him coping and striving, Once again through his sheer determination and work ethics instilled in him as a young boy John found his footings in his community, organizing hockey tournaments and special events, and in his business successes. John somehow always managed to land on his feet after each fall.
Little did John realize but the biggest storm cloud was brewing over the next horizon…The seeds of the storm came in the form of the brutal recession In the early ‘80’s where interest rates skyrocketed into the 20 percentiles and people were walking away from mortgages, jobs were being slashed and families were being torn apart from personal and financial losses. Although John had to walk away from a substantial loss on a cottage mortgage deposit at the time nevertheless he still kept his head above water. However his older brother Bill, whom he was very close to, wasn’t fairing so well.
Bill was laid off from his corporate job. Unable to find work his marriage dissolved and in the process lost custody of his 2 girls. Spiralling into a depression Bill was placed on medication which made him worse, attempting suicide several times and eventually becoming homeless and sleeping in his car.
John tried many times to assist him, employing him at his business, giving him a place to stay, food, clothing and on more than one occasion actually physically stopping Bill from killing himself. With his own worries and concerns John’s world became entangled with Bill’s determined to save the life of his brother, driving him from one hospital to the next, looking for a doctor or a counsellor who could help him. However sadly though, on a very cold dark night in late January ironically as John was on the phone calling for help at the local hospital worried for his brother’s safety, Bill was slowly but surely hobbling with his leg cast from a previous fall, alone up the Bay of Quinte Bridge. Arriving at the top of the span Bill leaned over the rail and jumped…