So here’s the thing. I’ve always been under the impression that we spent some time on the east coast while I was still an infant. But if you look at the timeline of events that we know to be factual, a sojourn to Halifax just doesn’t seem plausible. I surmise that we were on route to Calgary for my father’s army posting, when, in the dead of winter, in the middle of nowhere, my mother went into labor and was forced to take refuge in Regina, where I was born. Why else would anybody be on the frozen windblown prairie, in November 1953. It is likely that my father had just signed up for his stint in the army and they were heading west for basic training in Calgary. He was assigned to the PPCLI Signal Corps. The Trans-Canada highway has a direct route from Winnipeg to Calgary and passes on the south end of Regina.
We moved back to Winnipeg after Bowness. I’m guessing that this took place in the summer of 1956. My father was newly discharged from the army, briefly held a job with the City (I think). There was also a new highway being built out towards Banff. Perhaps an extension of the Trans Canada. Apparently this highway was built right through where our Bowness house was located (1722 – 23 avenue, which does not exist today). My father apparently had designed a system that provided for the accurate dispatch and location of fleet vehicles. He was bypassed for receiving credit for this and there was some disgruntlement about it. Could be the reason we left Alberta and headed back east. An early indicator of my father’s wanderlust, always looking for the greener pasture, not satisfied to accept and work with what he had in hand.
We drove from Bowness to Winnipeg in our little Hillman car. My sister and I were stuffed into the back seat on top of a bed of blankets and pillows. It is likely that we ended up back at the bachelors house before finding our own place. We would have stayed with my Grandfather, Charlie Wong, or at least had permission to occupy the house on Pacific temporarily.
His name wasn’t really Charlie. It was Yip Wong Chan. He died in 1968 at age 63. I never really knew him but I’ve learned that he was a special man. Very successful in business and a humanitarian that sponsored many fellow immigrants to Canada. Not only did he bring them over, but he housed many at the bachelors house and gave many of them work so they could earn a living, send money for their families in China and eventually bring them to Canada.
Here he is with my mother. This picture would have been taken probably in the winter of 1937.
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