Other than the fact that his name was Richard Wayne Gill and that he was in the Canadian Armed Forces, I honestly can’t tell you anything about my father.
I know he worked with the Sea Kings out in Shearwater.
I know that he worked on the Argus aircraft at Summerside
I know he worked on the Chinooks at 447 SQN at Namao
I know he worked as a quality control inspector for the Canadian Armed Forces at LItton Systems inspecting the then controversial Cruise Missile when we first arrived at CFB Downsview in Ontario.
I know he did a short stint at DCIEM on Downsview
I know that he worked at 4900 Yonge Street “flying a desk” as he always called it.
I wouldn’t find out until 1985 that he was in the navy before the air force.
I wouldn’t find out until 2013 the names of the ships he served on.
I don’t honestly remember much of him on Shearwater, he was frequently away.
I don’t remember much of him on Summerside, again he was frequently away.
I don’t remember much of him on Namao.
And he wasn’t around that often on Griesbach.
As a kid I never went to a single hockey game, football game, or even baseball game with him. It’s not that I didn’t want to. He just never took us.
Derek’s father often took him to see the Oilers and Northlands.
Trevor’s father was an Eskimo’s fan, and they frequently went to games.
We lived in Edmonton when the Oilers were the kings of the NHL. And not once did we ever go see a game.
Richard loved the Toronto Maple Leafs, and yet we never attended a single game while we lived on Canadian Forces Base Downsview. And this is the guy who would yell and scream at the TV while watching Leafs games. He would become so fixated on hockey games that you didn’t dare interrupt him while he was watching. He would become very irate if you bothered him while a game was on.
I once made the mistake of asking Richard for a ride to go to a place where I was working while a hockey game was on. He was so enraged by this that he ended up rear ending a Jaguar car at an intersection on Don Mills Road.
The first time I ever I went to a football game was the summer of 1984. Grandma took my brother and I to an Edmonton Eskimos football game on a couple of occassion. She scored some tickets from the Bissell Centre in Edmonton where she volunteered.
But not once in my entire childhood can I ever recall going to anytype of event with Richard.
Cadets nights? Nope.
School performances? Nope.
Sure, my mother didn’t do any of those things either, but she left when I was 5 years old.
My stepmother Sue? We weren’t her kids, so I wouldn’t expect the same from her as I would from Richard.
Even social services noted in 1982 that there didn’t appear to be anything our family did together.
When grandma moved in with us at CFB Summerside she enrolled me into Sunday bible school. She also put me into Beavers which was held at the Knights of Columbus hall. For that matter she got us involved with the Knights of Columbus.
In the spring of 1978 my grandmother returned to Edmonton to be with her husband. My father obtained a compasionate posting to CFB Namao to be close to his mother so that she could look after my brother and I.
When grandma moved into the PMQ on Namao, I was placed into Beavers. Grandma got me on the base hockeyteam for kids my age called the CFB Squirts. I played basketball on the Knickerbokers. I was enrolled into the Red Cross swimming program. I was also in the YBC youth bowling program. I had first communion at the chapel.
In 2013, I examined my father for Federal Court. Here are a pair of questions that I asked of him:
These were his answers:
Once we moved to CFB Grisbach, grandma had very little input into our lives.
She moved out in the spring on 1981.
I know that Richard took Captain Totzke’s suggestion to heart that I shouldn’t be allowed in changerooms with other boys as I might not be able to control myself. Captain Totzke had the idea that what happened on CFB Namao between 8 year old me, and the 14 year and 11 month old babysitter was due to “homosexuality” that I was apparently exhibiting.
It wasn’t that I didn’t show any interest.
On Griesbach, there was no more hockey, definitely no more swimming, no basketball, no cubs. Nothing.
This was my punishment for me having sex with P.S..
My younger brother didn’t have the involvement I had with Captain Terry Totzke.
Why Richard didn’t put my younger brother into any of those programs?
Richard had no interest.
I honestly don’t think it was the cost involved. We were a military family and I know that bowling, hockey, basketball, and swimming would have cost almost next to nothing. I know there were no fees for swimming. And I know there were no fees for skating. Bowling I think was dirt cheap, less than a quarter a string. Even the movies were dirt cheap at the base cinema.
Grandma was that one who would always take me to hockey. And even though her arthritis would limit her ability to tie my skates, she wouldn’t have any issue with coaxing the other fathers to tie my skates.
Richard just didn’t have the interest.
When I joined Sea Cadets in 1984, it was because a friend of mine from Elia Jr. High got me interested.
I was sure that Richard wasn’t going to allow this.
But after John Potter confirmed to my father that there was no cost, that the uniforms and all equipment were free, and that there were no fees to join, Richard allowed me to join.
But yeah, Richard never came to a single parade night or other cadet related function.
Always too busy.