My sperm donor / my father.
Okay, so my family tree on the maternal side of my family just got a little more detailed.
I was contacted last week by the stepdaughter of Jean-Yves Dagenais.
Jean-Yves Dagenais is my uncle. He’s the younger brother of my mother.
Albert Lawrence Dagenais was my other uncle. I knew Uncle Al. When Richard’s violence and drinking flared up while we were living on Canadian Forces Base Summerside in PEI it was Uncle Al that my mother wanted to take my brother and I to stay with while she figured out what to do with Richard. Al died in 2017.
One thing that I didn’t know about Al is that he was only in the Canadian Forces for about 7 years before he left the military and went into private industry. I guess Al wasn’t trapped by the Canadian Forces. My father, outside of the Canadian Forces, had absolutely no prospects on civy street.
Richard and Al both joined the Royal Canadian Navy in 1963. That’s how they met.
1963 + 7 = 1970
October 23rd, 1969 was the date of the HMCS Kootenay gear box explosion which was the “worst peacetime incident” in the history of the Royal Canadian Navy.
When I met Chris Legere in Halifax in 2014 he said that a lot of men fled the navy in the aftermath of the Kootenay. I wonder if Al decided that enough was enough.
On the maternal side of my family we have:
Albert Joseph Dagenais – maternal grandfather (???? – 1974)
*Marie would have been about 27 when her father died.
Alma Zong Dagenais (possibly Alma Mary Viola Zong) – maternal grandmother (1920 to 1961)
*Marie would have been about 14 when her mother died.
Albert Laurent Dagenais – older uncle
Marie Annette Jacqueline Dagenais – mother
Jean-Yves Dagenais – younger Uncle.
One interesting thing that Jean-Yves’ stepdaughter indicated to me is that my mother’s name “Marie Annette Jacqueline Dagenais” does not appear in Uncle Al’s obituary.
I don’t know what the story was, but I picked up that something wasn’t right when I tracked Marie down in late 2013 and talked to her about some of the answers that Richard had given to me when I examined him for Federal Court.
She talked about Uncle Al, but she didn’t have much to say about Jean-Yves.
She talked about her mother, but she wouldn’t say anything about her father other than he had been in the Royal Canadian Navy and that’s why Uncle Al joined the navy.
Jean-Yves’ stepdaughter said that there were issues in the Dagenais household with the patriarch Albert Joseph, but she wouldn’t say what.
What is odd though is that my medical records state that I was admitted to the IWK Children’s Hospital as a “border” due to the recent death of Marie’s father and that she was having a difficult time.
When I found out in 2019 that my father had died in 2017 I didn’t care. In fact, I felt relieved. I’m not sure if Marie is still alive or not. And I’m honestly not sure if I would be upset to find out that she has died. When you think about it, she’s had my phone number and address for 8 years now and she hasn’t called or written once.
In knew about Lawrence Dagenais from when I talked to Marie in December of 2013. She said that we often played together on CFB Shearwater, but I can’t remember him. I can remember playing with Jennifer and Kimberly, and a boy named Trevor, but I can’t for the life of me remember Lawrence. I didn’t realize that Uncle Al had other children as well. There’s Vincent, Cynthia, Suzanne, and Ellen. According to Marie, Lawrence Dagenais is 2 days older than I am. We were both born in the Salvation Army’s Grace Maternity Hospital.
One thing that I’ve learnt in the last ten years of dealing with the ghosts from CFB Namao is that my family was defective long before Richard married Marie. One other thing that I’ve also come to realize is that there’s nothing odd about this. Dysfunctional families are a dime a dozen. That’s why every city in this country has a children’s aid society or a social services system.
In Canada in 2011, there were over 47,000 children in the foster care system.
I was supposed to have been placed into foster care in 1983 except that my father was able to evade Alberta Social Services by obtaining a posting from the Canadian Armed Forces which allowed him to move out of the jurisdiction of Alberta. So I have no doubt that the 47,000 number is on the low side, and I don’t mean from military families, but due to all families that no doubt have a way to stay a step or two ahead of the local social services. In Ontario my family was supposed to have been placed under the care of the Children’s Aid Society of Toronto full time, but according to my paperwork from Children’s Aid, budgetary matters and staffing concerns meant that Children’s Aid would only have placed my brother and I into care had there been complaints from the neighbours about abuse or neglect. But living on a Canadian Forces base meant that there would be no complaints.
I know that my father had parenting issues due to his mother’s issues.
It’s obvious that my mother had parenting issues due to her own family issues.
It’s probably a good thing that I’m not reproducing.
At least this way I can save humanity from another generation of defective Gill genes.
On Thursday July 30th, 2020 I was interviewed at the Vancouver Police Department headquarters at 2120 Cambie Street. This was in realtion to another even of abuse that occured on Canadian Forces Base Namao.
So far my ratio with the CFNIS is 50/50.
P.S. went down in flames. I don’t think I’ll ever ascertain exactly why.
Sure, the Earl Ray Stevens matter didn’t end in prosecution, but it did convince a judge that there was sufficient evidence to warrant a trial in Ontario Superior Court.
Earl died of bladder cancer before we made it to court.
This new event involved a man in the sauna at the base pool on CFB Namao.
I did mention the man in the sauna to Sgt. Damon Tenaschuk in 2018. But at that point in time I didn’t have any idea of who this man was.
Back in 2011, when I decided that I was tired of being blamed for what had occured on CFB Namao, I inquired with the Edmonton Police Service how I would go about laying charges seeing as how the CF Military Police had twice previous stated that they couldn’t become involved becuase P.S. was a civilian at the time of the offences. In 2011 the matter got kicked on over to the CFNIS.
After my interview with Mcpl Hancock relating to the events involving my babysitter, I decided that I was going to also go after Earl Stevens, and then after Earl, I was going to go after a guy named A.M..
Out of five men from my childhood that I was sexually abused by, A.M. is the only civilian with absolutely no connection to the Canadian Armed Forces.
Sadly, the 2011 CFNIS investigation went off the rails right from the word go.
This would delay my complaint against Earl.
I can only wonder if the 2011 CFNIS investigation had been handled better and I had been able to make my complaint against Earl earlier would have been able to face him in court?
Looking back now, I know that my father’s statement to the CFNIS was a major contributing factor to the CFNIS running my complaint into the ground.
My father stated the following to the CFNIS in 2011:
1) We never had a babysitter on CFB Namao.
2) Our grandmother only looked after us for a very brief period of time.
3) Some random woman from across the street would keep an eye on my brother and I when he needed someone to look after us.
4) I only contacted him when I needed money.
Basically, the CFNIS concluded from my father’s statement that I was just some loser making up lies in an attempt to juice the Canadian Forces for money.
And this narrative also fit with an obvious desire within the DND and CF hierarchy to keep the spectre of child sexual abuse involving the Canadian Forces clergy dead and buried in the past.
In 2011, I had absolutely no idea that P.S. had sued the Department of National Defence, and that he had settled out of court with DND.
Even though I lived on Canadian Forces Base Namao during the P.S. / Captain Angus McRae affair, I had absolutely no idea of the true extent of what happened on that base from 1978 until 1980.
In the original 2011 CFNIS investigation the CFNIS made it very clear that they had evidence that there was no babysitter, and that there were various other inconsistencies with my story that just weren’t adding up.
You can bet your bottom dollar that someone up the chain of command knew about the settlement, knew about the recent events involving retired Canadian Armed Forces officer Brigadier General Roger Bazin, and came to the conclusion that it would help the Canadian Forces if I was a “societal malcontent with an axe to grind against the Canadian Forces”, and that I was doing this solely for money. And thus once my father made his statement, that sealed the deal and my complaint was dead.
No, you might say “Bobbie, how on Earth would an investigator with the CFNIS be able to link your complaint to an out of court settlement that occured many years before?”
At work, I’ve implemented a database program that all of my subordinates use to record their daily activities in the power plant.
I also have another database program that runs the preventative maintenance program that schedules the maintenance for the equipment in the plant.
All I have to do is type in plain English keywords into the search bar for these programs, and they will bring up the relevant results. The first program can even list the number of occurences for a specific search word, and indicate who wrote that particular entry.
The CFNIS use a program called SAMPIS. I was given a very brief explanation and demonstartion of the system by an investigator from the Office of the Infomation Commissioner when the OIC was reviewing a complaint of mine related to an Access to Information Request from the CF Provost Marshal.
SAMPIS is the record keeping system for the Canadian Forces Military Police and the CFNIS.
It has search functions.
So, there’s no doubt that SAMPIS will contain references to my fomer babysitter Mr. P.S.
I have absolutely no doubt that I am not the first military dependant to go after Mr. P.S. for his activities on CFB Namao or any of the other bases he lived on like CFB Petawawa.
When I spoke with the RCMP Constable in 2012, he did say that in addition to the three sexual assaults mentioned in an August 1985 Edmonton Journal article, Mr. P.S. had many more charges relating to child sexual assault from 1985 to 1999. How many of these charges were former military dependants?
Did a flag pop up on a computer when a CFNIS investigator in Edmonton keyed Mr. P.S.’s name into the system that directed the investigator to make contact with a superior officer or an officer in the Judge Advoate General’s office?
In 2006, the Canadian Armed Forces changed the policy for obtaining baptismal records for persons whom had been baptised as children on the various Canadian Forces Bases in Canada. The language in the memo specifially highlighted the concern of lawsuits being brought against the various archdiocese in Canada as being the driving force behind these changes.
So, I’m beginning to realize that my complaint against P.S. failed due to the perfect storm of circumstances beyond my control.
P.S. had just settled his civil action with the Department of National Defence
Roger Bazin had just been arrested and charged for molesting a young child on Canadian Forces Base Borden when Bazin was a chaplain in the base in the early 1970s.
Colonel Russell Williams had just brough massive disgrace to the Canadian Forces. What wasn’t stressed during Williams’ trialis that most of the underwear that he stole belonged to young adolescent girls. Also, Williams also had a sizeable kiddie porn collection on his computer.
Col Tim Grubb had just released a report highlight a “much higher incidence of sexual crimes against children in the defence community.”
And along come I alleging that Mr. P.S. had been abusing my brother, myself, and at least four other kids that I was aware of during the exact same time period that Captain McRae had molested well over 25 children on Canadian Forces Base Namao.
So, it was obvious to the brass within the Military Police Group that I was obviously just doing this for money.
And when they spoke to my father, they hit paydirt.
I’ll never know why my father said what he said.
My brother is convinced that pressure was applied to my father to get him to say what he said.
I don’t think that’s what happened.
Richard was extremely bull-headed. Unless he wanted to do something, you were never going to get him to do it.
Richard knew about the babysitter.
When things were going wrong in the PMQ on Canadian Forces Base Downsview, Richard would often cite what I had allowd the babysitter to do as being the cause of what was going wrong.
In 2006 when I had a telephone conversation with Richard, he named the babysitter all by himself, I didn’t have to prod him for the name.
In 2013, whenI examined him for Federal Court, he readily admitted that there had been a babysitter in the house, he futher clarified that it was his mother who hired him.
In 2006, Richard had pleaded with me to understand that it wasn’t him that hired the babysitter. It was his mother. He told her not to hire him, he told her he had bad feelings about the boy.
So, why did he tell the CFNIS in 2011 that we never had a babyistter?
Well, Richard died in January of 2017, so that’s an answer that we’ll never have.
Every now and again I get weird phone calls related to my blog. The funny thing is, I haven’t really put my phone number out there.
Every now and again I get weird phone calls related to my blog. The funny thing is, I haven’t really put my phone number out there.
I don’t know who this person is, “unknown” number. But they sure had an interest in my blog postings about the MPCC.
This guy was adamant that when I made my complaint to the MPCC that I would have been allowed to view the CFNIS paperwork.
No matter how I explained to him that I did not see the CFNIS investigation paperwork until February of 2013 he wouldn’t believe me.
“What made you think that something was wrong with the investigation if you didn’t see the investigation paperwork” he asked.
I explained to him that my babysitter had his first criminal conviction for child molestation in 1984, two more convictions in 1985. And nine more convictions between 1985 and 2000. And for PO Morris to tell me on November 4th, 2011 that the CFNIS couldn’t find anything that would indicate that P.S. was capable of molesting the children he was babysitting, meant that something went wrong. I already knew about the $4.3 million dollar lawsuit between P.S. and the Minister of National Defence.
The caller interjected that just because P.S. had criminal convictions for child sexual abuse starting in 1984, this in no way automatically means that P.S. was guilty of molesting children prior to 1984. And to be fair to the mystery caller, my brother said the same thing to me back in 2013.
I explained to the mystery caller that if someone was convicted of raping a woman, and their modus operandi happened to match the modus operandi of the perpetrator in a couple of previous rapes that occured when this particular person happened to live in the vicinity of the two previous victims, you can be sure that the police would look into these matters. Sure, the similar modus operandi doesn’t mean that the three rapes were committed by the same person, but by the same token you don’t just discount any possible connection because they happened prior to the current conviction.
The mystery caller asked me why I didn’t bring this to the attention of the MPCC. I asked in response how could I when I had absolutely no idea what was done during the CFNIS investigation.
The mystery caller asked me if I was so certain that my father lied in his statement to the CFNIS why didn’t I say something to the CFNIS or the MPCC.
I tried to explain to the mystery caller that at no time during the 2011 CFNIS did the investigators ever ask me about anything my father had said to the CFNIS.
You would think that if someone said that they had been repeatedly molested for 1-1/2 years by a person acting as a babysitter, and then someone else countered and said that there never was a babysitter, that the investigators would want to follow up with the victim to understand this significant discrepancy. At no point in time in 2011 did the CFNIS ever call me to ask if I was certain that there was a babysitter.
The mystery caller then said that I should have told the MPCC about the lies in my father’s statement.
Again, I tried to expain to the mystery caller that I had no access to my father’s statement until 2013. By the time I read my father’s statement it was far too late to contest it. The CFNIS had my foster care records. I gave them a complete copy in August of 2011. They refused to consider them at all during the investigation. That means the CFNIS willfully ignored such things as:
Mr. Gill frequently contradicts himself from one meeting to the next.
Mr. Gill tells those he perceives to be in positions of authority what he believes they want to hear.
Mr. Gill brought his mother into the house to raise his children.
Mr. Gill uses work as an excuse for his frequent absences as a reason to not attend the family counselling sessions.
Robert was in the protective custody of Alberta Social Services and Mr. Gill had signed the paperwork placing Robert into the foster care system.
Mr. Gill told both Alberta Social Services and the Children’s Aid Society of Toronto that there was nothing wrong with his children, that the intense sibling rivalry between his two sons was just “boys being boys” and that the counsellors were no help at all.
The mystery caller was adamant that if this was in my foster care records, that the would have picked up on this.
I told the mystery caller that my father’s statement gave the CFNIS exactly what they wanted. According to my father, there was no babysitter in the house and that’s all the CFNIS needed.
I told the mystery caller that during the 2011 CFNIS investigation I was told repeatedly by the CFNIS investigators that there was no house fire at PMQ #26 on 12th street in the summer of 1980. It was suggested to me by various persons with the CFNIS in 2011 that the fire I was thinking of occured on 1986 and happened on CFB Griesbach, and that if I was wrong about this fire, maybe I was wrong about other things too. Maybe the babysitter didn’t molest my brother and I. Maybe it was a man who lived off the base. Maybe I was making this up.
The mystery caller wanted to know why I didn’t raise this with the MPCC if I was so certain that there was a fire.
I told the mystery caller that even though I was certain that there was a fire in the P.S. houseat #26 – 12th street that I had no proof that there actually was a fire. It was my word against that of the Canadian Armed Forces……. and why would the CF or the CFNIS lie about the fire? Again, it wouldn’t be until February of 2013 when I obtained the certified tribunal records that I would learn that the CFNIS had the Canadian Forces Fire Marshal records for the June 23rd, 1980 fire at PMQ #26 on 12th street and they knew that I had told the truth about the fire.
I really wish I knew who the mystery caller was.
Is he a member of the Canadian Forces, or maybe a reited member?
Is he another former military dependant that’s upset with the way that I’m slandering the Canadian Forces.
I don’t know.
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.
Well, I’ve written a few things about my father. So I thought maybe I’d touch on my mother.
I don’t really know her all that well.
She left in the spring of 1977. I would have been 5 at the time.
Richard would always moan and bellyache that Marie had abandoned the family and that she had run off with a guy named Gus from the PPCLI.
I know she came to visit my brother and I after we arrived on Canadian Forces Base Namao. I remember grandma telling her that she’d have to wait until my father was away. I do remember grandma telling me to not say anything to my father. I think Richard would have killed her had he found her on the base and in his PMQ visiting his children. On the day she came for the visit I sat by the entrance to the PMQ patch waiting for her car. I only remember her coming up for the one visit in the two years that we lived on Canadian Forces Base Namao.
After the Captain Father Angus McRae child sex abuse scandal on CFB Namao and my family’s subsequent relocation to CFB Greisbach. I remember my mother coming for a visit once. Again my father was away on yet another training exercise and it was my stepmother at home. My mother stopped by with her friend Karen to take me and my brother out for a dinner for my 10th birthday.
She picked me up, but Sue wouldn’t let my brother go. Marie drove towards 137th Ave and then stopped before leaving the base. We sat there for a few minutes. Then she turned the car around and dropped me off at home again.
There was a screaming match between my mother and Sue.
In 2011, when I got my hands on my social service records, this incident is mentioned. It seems that I had become quite withdrawn after this. When the social workers asked Richard if he had any idea whatsoever as to why I had become so withdrawn, he volunteered that my mother had wanted to take me and my brother out for a birthday meal, but that Sue wouldn’t let my brother go, and Marie said that if my brother couldn’t go, then she wasn’t taking me.
I wouldn’t see Marie again until the summer of 1990
It was weird how my family arrived at Edmonton in the summer of 1990.
My father, my stepmother, and my step brother moved into the PMQ on CFB Greisbach before I did, even though I drove across the states with them. During our drive across the states, I came down with a bad case of tonsilitis. As soon as we arrived in Edmonton I went straight to the Charles Campsel hospital and I spent about a week there receiving treatment for a severe tonsil infection.
My younger brother never lived in the PMQ on CFB Greisbach the second time we lived there. He wouldn’t arrive in Alberta until sometime in the fall.
One of the first people that I met after I arrived was my uncle Doug. Doug set up a meeting between my mother and I. Uncle Doug made me promise that I would never tell my father about Doug’s involvement with me meeting my mother.
I met my mother at Northgate Mall. It wasn’t an emotional meeting. She was kinda happy to see me. It wasn’t like she was overcome with emotions.
In late August of 1990, my father bought a house up in Morinville, AB
Things didn’t work out all that well between my stepmother and I. Sue is about 12 years old than me. At that point in time, she was like the older sister that I never wanted.
I stayed at the YMCA downtown Edmonton for a few weeks, but being that I was only 18 at the time, finding an apartment to rent was proving hard to do.
So, I stayed at Marie and Art’s acreage from late September until November 1st, 1990 when I got my apartment in Edmonton.
Art was an interesting guy. Really great mechanic, and very knowledgeable. But I only really knew Art from about September of 1990 until January of 1992.
When it comes to mental instability, I don’t know which one’s worse, Marie or Richard. They both had their faults. Richard lied better than a rug. Richard had his out of control anger issues. And Richard drank like a fish. Marie on the other hand would play stupid to the point of being very annoying. And Marie is an outright racist, the likes of which I’ve never seen. In the late ’80s and into 1990 she had been working for a news magazine called the “Alberta Report”. Yes, that Alberta Report.
I could easily compile a list of the pros and cons of having lived with Marie. I think the cons would far outweigh the pros.
For instance, we had stopped at a Dairy Queen on Stoney Plain Road for burgers. We were sitting in a booth facing each other. I was facing towards the counter, she was facing towards the front doors. As we were eating, this look of utter disgust kept appearing on her face. I asked her what was wrong. She said “turn around”. So I did. There was an older East Indian couple sitting a couple of booths down eating their food. I turned back and said “I don’t get what’s wrong”. As soon as she said “those people, they don’t belong here” I knew my mother was a fucking racist. Fuck was that ever disappointing.
Things became interesting after that. When we’d talk about my grandmother, Marie would explain that grandma was a proud Indian, but that she was part of a conquered race.
I don’t remember much about Marie from our time on CFB Shearwater. I do remember coming home from playschool and having lunch while watching TV. I know she liked to do yoga like exercises. She used to lay on her back and she’d get me to stand on her feet and then she’d lift me up. I don’t ever remember her hitting me. I do remember her driving the Thunderbird a lot, which is why I had always thought that it was her car. I remember us going for visits and staying with other people. I remember Richard coming to pick us up from these visits.
In late 1991, I answered a classified ad from Brentwood Lanes in Burnaby, BC. They were looking for a “B” mechanic for their centre. Marie insisted that she come along with me on the drive. We fought like literal cats and dogs on the way down and back. I think that’s one of the reasons I decided to leave Edmonton in February of 1992. The other reason I decided to move is I fell in love with the Vancouver area as soon as I saw took a drive around the city. Edmonton was well below freezing at the time with snow and ice on the ground. Burnaby and Vancouver were in the teens with the only snow visible being on the North Shore mountains.
I left Edmonton in February of 1992. I didn’t get the job at Brentwood Lanes. But I had heard through the grape vine that Lions Gate Lanes in West Vancouver was looking for a pair of mechanics. So, I made the decision to go. I didn’t let Marie know. I drove to Vancouver. On my second night in the city, I called her up to let her know that I was in Vancouver. She exploded. Just before she abruptly hung up the phone, she said that I was an asshole just like my father and that I was never to call her again. <slam>.
It was a little rough settling in in Vancouver. The job at Lions Gate kept getting postponed. But once I was hired on in May of 1992, I got an apartment in the West End of Vancouver. I decided to call Marie up to see if she had calmed down any. There was no answer. The Acreage was on a party line telephone system so after letting the phone ring for awhile, another family answered. When I asked them if he had seen Marie or Art, he said that he hadn’t seen Marie or Art for a while and wasn’t sure where they were. I took this to be that Marie had told her neighbours to not say anything to me.
In 2013, I had to examine my father for a Federal Court of Canada matter. My father made some statements to the CFNIS which were completely at odds with the social service records that I had obtained. For instance, he “forgot” to tell the CFNIS that he was often away on training exercises and that his mother was living in his PMQ raising his children. One of the questions that I asked him related to social services. Because of the answer, I decided that I had to try to track down Marie. It took a bit of sleuthing, but I was able to track her down in October of 2013. Just over 21 years since the day she told me to never call her again.
I flew out to Calgary that Christmas to see her. She was older, but she was still as racist as she had been when I last saw her in Alberta. However, it was good being able to sit down with her and get some answers out of her.
When I arrived, she wanted to know how I found her. I explained to her that once I found Art’s son Terry it was very simple.
She asked me why I decided to find her now after all these years. I told her that I was curious about the PEI government stating that Richard was never awarded custody by the PEI government, and that for Richard to take my brother and I from one province to another, that he would have needed her permission.
I asked her why she blew up at me on the telephone back in early 1992 when I moved to Vancouer. All she said is that sometimes peope make mistakes, and that we can’t dwell on them.
She wanted to know why I moved without telling her. I told her that Alberta was in the midst of a massive recession and that I had been on welfare for 5 months and things weren’t going to get any better. I knew I could get work in Vancouver. I said that I also knew that I could fit in better in a city like Vancouver.
She asked me why I told Richard about my move without telling her. I told her that Richard didn’t know that I had moved until I got my first apartment in Vancouver in the summer of 1992. Richard was the first person that I called when I got my phone installed by B.C. Tel.
I asked her why she would never answer my phone calls when I tried calling her in the summer of 1992. She said that she and Art had sold the acreage in the spring of 1992 as the company Art had been working for needed a refrigeration / gas field compressor mechanic in Saskatchewan. Art’s son Terry owned houses across western Canada, so Art and Marie moved into one of Terry’s houses in Saskatchewan while Art worked there. The next stop was BC for a few months. And then Calgary. And then back to Edmonton. The house that Art and Marie lived in when I visited them in 2013 was another of Terry’s house. According to Marie, after selling the acreage in 1992, they never owned another house.
We started talking about other things.
She had been born in Hull Quebec in 1946. Her father had been in the Royal Canadian Navy during WWII. Both her father and her mother had epilepsy. Both died from it.
She had two brothers. Al Dagenais was born in 1944. Jean-Yves Dagenais was born in 1950.
I asked her about Al. I said that while growing up with Richard, Richard would often say that I was insane just like Al. I said that Richard would claim that Al was so insane that he’d just walk out in front of cars daring them to hit him. She laughed. No, Al wasn’t the one running out in front of cars. That was Richard. Al was usually the one dragging Richard out of the traffic.
I asked her not to laugh or get upset at what I was going to ask her. I asked her if I was the product of incest between her and Al. She gasped. No. I was not an incest baby. She wanted to know what this was about. I told her of the numerous times as a child that Richard would tell me that I wasn’t his kid, that my mother had slept with uncle Al.
She assured me that all of my respiratory issues came from Richard’s side of the family. I would discover in the summer of 2013 that CFB Shearwater had been downwind of a massive Esso refinery and that this refinery had been responsible for many a child developing respiratory issues on the base.
Marie said that she had gone to Dartmouth in 1965 to see her brother Al. This is how she met Richard. Richard and Al were inseparable at this time.
Al had forbidden Marie from dating Richard, but they continued to see each other. Marie and Richard were married in 1968.
She said that everything was okay right up until the HMCS Kootenay incident. She said that Richard was with the Sea King attached to the HMCS Kootenay. What’s wrong with this is that the Kootenay had never been fitted with a landing pad or a hangar like some of her sister ships. The Sea Kings went out with the Bonaventure and some of the other ships in the contingent. So, there’s no doubt that Richard was with the Sea Kings. Just that he wasn’t with the one attached to the Kootenay. No biggie.
She said that it was after the Kootenay that Richard’s drinking started to get out of hand. He would often get so drunk that he’d lay on the floor, naked often, and make lour howling animal noises.
I asked her if Richard had ever hit her or abused her, she said no. When I showed her copies of my conversation with Pat Longmore, Marie decidedly changed her story. Yes, there had been physical fights. Yes, Richard had drawn blood on more than one occasion. And yes, we often went to stay with “relatives” while Richard cooled down again.
Did Richard ever strike me or my brother? She said that he didn’t mean to, but sometimes he just got too angry.
I asked her if she ever remembered me being dropped off at the IWK Children’s Hospital and admitted as a “border” for a couple of weeks due to “parental issues” in the houshold. She wouldn’t believe me until I showed her my medical records. Yeah, she remembered. My father did not want to get help from the military for his issues and sometime they just exploded.
I asked her about one curious note from my medical records from the IWK Children’s hospital. I read her the section in which the doctors remarked that I had very noticeable “wide set eyes”. And that my head circumference was always above the 98th percentile.
She turned her eyes down at this. Richard was apparently upset at the prospect of his first born having “issues”.
I asked her if my conception was a trap to keep Richard in the marriage. First she heard of this. She said that Richard was the one who wanted a kid.
What about my brother’s conception? Nope, not a trap either.
I asked her about the domestic assault that Richard had been arrested for in January of 1977 at our PMQ in Summerside, PEI.
Did Richard hit her?
Turns out that Richard had assaulted his mother, my grandmother, after a heavy night of drinking and it was the Summerside police that called in the base military police.
I asked her about when she left. She said that after the plane from Richard’s squadron on CFB Summerside crashed, Richard went off the deep end and was very destructive and abusive. She said that she wanted to take my brother and I back to Nova Scotia to stay with our uncle Al while Richard sorted himself out, but that Richard found out. This resulted in the base military police coming to our PMQ and warning her that if she left the island with my brother and I that she’d be arrested and charged with child endangerment and kidnapping. She said that a short while later someone from the office of the Judge Advocate General came to the PMQ, told her that the Canadian Forces had awared Richard custody and that she was being evicted from the PMQ.
All in all, she was very similar to my father. And this probably explains why their marriage didn’t last. They were too alike. Neither of them could accept being at fault. Richard blamed Marie. Marie blamed Richard.
Richard didn’t have a temper or a drinking problem.
Marie wouldn’t admit that she had been wrong to leave her kids with a man with a temper and a drinking problem.
Some may say that I’m showing Marie favouritism.
But, let’s look at reality.
I had known Richard for a total of 17 years.
I had known Marie for a total of 7 years tops.
Both were abject failures as parents.
I don’t know why I thought of this, I think it came about because I was out pawn shop surfing a few weeks ago and I noticed some Canon camera gear. Looked like it was part of an ’80s estate sale.
And this post has just sorta been percolating since then.
My old man had a Canon AE1. Which apparently was a fairly decent camera back in the day.
I know he had all sorts of lenses to go with the camera, specifically a really large autofocus lens. He also had a large auto winder for this camera.
The funny thing was, except for taking pictures of hockey games on TV (yeah, he did that), I don’t think he ever took pictures of either me or my brother. I know he never showed up to awards nights at cadets.
My brother and I took part in the Battle of the Atlantic sea cadet parade at Queen’s park just before I quit cadets in the spring of 1987.
I know that as far as 21 gun salutes goes, ours sounded like 3 volleys of random machine gun fire. But what were you expecting from a bunch of 13 to 18 year old kids.
And yes, these were real rifles firing blanks. I’m not sure when cadets were no longer allowed to fire real ammunition, but in my day we had the Lee-Enfield which was originally a .303, but ours had been re-bored for .22. In addition to using these rifles for parades and drill, we used them on the range for target practice.
And I know our parade skills left a lot to be desired, but again we were all kids.
Richard brought all of his camera gear and set up his tri-pod and stuff off on the sidelines. He kept grumbling after that “the stupid camera” didn’t load the film properly.
If I had to guess, the pictures probably turned out, but Richard was more than likely embarrassed that he captured such a rag-tag performance on camera. He was always like that, praise from Richard was all but non-existent, criticism on the other hand came in spades.
For such an avid photographer, he just never seemed to take pictures.
And when he did take pictures, they just didn’t seem to have any life in them.
And the more I think about it, Richard was more about having the knick-nacks than actually using the knick-knacks.
Richard had a shit load of tools, testers, and other stuff, but he rarely used them.
He had broomball gear, but yet he rarely played broomball.
He had hockey gear, but I never saw him play hockey often.
He had a private pilot’s licence, but outside of a couple times at CFB Summerside where he rented a small airplane, he never took my brother and I on flights.
He had a motorcycle licence that he got in the early ’70s. Outside of a few rare rides he never rode his CB550-Four after 1984.
Richard had a ham operators licence, but never owned a ham radio.
Richard invested a lot of time and effort in learning the C+ programming language on his TRS-80 model IIIs and model IVs.
It wasn’t uncommon for Richard to sit down at his computers after supper and stay there until close 22:00. After a couple of hours of sleep, he’d be back downstairs typing away on his computers until something like 02:00 or 03:00.
I know this because sometime just after the Space Shuttle Challenger explosion, my bedroom was moved into the basement. My stepbother was old enough to be on his own, so he got my old room, and I got punted down into the basement. The basement wouldn’t have been too bad, save for the fact that I didn’t have a bedroom door due to the fact that you weren’t supposed to have people living in the basements of the PMQs and by not putting a door on the bedroom, Richard was skirting that rule.
Just about every night, Richard would wake me up with the noise of his computer work. Said that it was his house and that if I didn’t like it, I could move out.
Except for selling a small database program to a church in Toronto, he never went anywhere with his computer programming.
Over the last couple of weeks, the more I thought about it the more I began to realize that Richard, outside of being a soldier in the Canadian Armed Forces, was completely lost and empty on the inside.
He hoped that his do-dads and gizmos would give him meaning. But they didn’t.
He had no goals in life. He had nothing that brought him any type of joy. And I think this is more than likely why he spent absolutely no time being involved with my brother and I.
Where this emptiness came from? I have absolutely no idea.
Sure, grandma wasn’t the ideal parent. She had a lot of emotional issues herself. She drank alot. She had a short temper. She wasn’t afraid to get carried away with corporal punishment. If you disturbed her you’d be told that “children are best to be seen and not heard” or “children are not to speak until spoken to”.
Yes, Richard’s father Arthur Herman Gill buggered off when Richard was fairly young. But Richard really didn’t seem to have any attachment to Arthur.
Uncle Doug seemed normal. Yeah, okay, we didn’t live with him. But ever time he’d come home from the oil fields and stay downstairs in the base when we lived on CFB Namao, he’d always buy my brother and I gifts and presents.
Uncle Norman seemed normal as well. In the two weeks that grandma, my brother and I spent out in Terrace, BC back in the summer of 1984, Norman would frequently take his kids and us out to the lakes and rivers around Terrace for fishing and other activities.
As soon as we moved to CFB Namao in the summer of 1978, grandma enrolled my in Beavers, Youth Bowling, hockey, basketball, and swimming.
Even when she came to live with us out on CFB Summerside after my mother left, she enrolled me in Sunday school, bible class, and various activities with the Knights of Columbus.
Did she do this out of guilt for what she hadn’t done for her kids when she was raising them in Fort McMurray, AB in the late ’40s to early ’60s?
Again, Doug and Norman seemed normal. So, I don’t think that Richard could really blame his mother for his issues.
The social services records from Alberta Social Services said that Richard couldn’t name one single activity that our family did together
And I think that is the key to understanding Richard.
He had nothing to offer, nothing to give. Something had killed him years ago.
Was it the HMCS Kootenay?
Was it the accident on the HMCS Bonaventure?
Was it the CP-140 Aurora crash on CFB Summerside in 1977 when he was attached to the Aurora Sqn?
Was it something else altogether?
I think that by collecting things and knick-knacks and do-dads he was trying to fill the empty holes inside.
And it would appear that my brother and I were also filler material meant to fill voids. He fathered us. And that was about it.
Unfortunately, children make very shitty filler compound.
Richard would often get upset at me for not raising my brother properly. But, I don’t think that’s how that is supposed to work. It’s not my name on my brother’s birth certificate.
I think Richard’s aloofness was best summed up by the Alberta Social Service records when he first stated to Alberta Social Services that he had no idea that both of his sons were having emotional issues. He then stated that his mother was hiding these issues from him. Finally he blamed his mother for these issues.
Where his emptiness came from, I don’t think anyone will ever know. That’s one of the many secrets that he took to the grave.
Although I grew up in my father’s house, I know very little about him. He wasn’t a man that shared much of his life with anyone.
Richard was such a complicated man that to get through him will take a few posts.
The most that I ever knew about my father came after I had obtained my foster care records from the Alberta Government and when I examined my father for Federal Court in 2013.
Richard himself came from a dysfunctional household.
His mother, Margaret Winiandy, had been through Holy Angels residential school for Indian Children in Fort Chipewyan, AB.
Grandma had a drinking problem. She also had an affinity for the church.
Knowing now that she had been through residential school as a kid explains a lot of her issues.
Richard had two brothers. His eldest brother Norman was full Cree. Both Richard and his younger brother Douglas were from Margaret’s second marriage. By the time Richard invited his mother into the house to raise my brother and I, my grandmother had married a third man, Andy Anderson.
My uncle Doug had his Metis status, and in 1990 Doug encouraged me to apply for my status. Richard forbade this. My father would get very upset if you ever suggested to him that he was half Cree.
Richard’s father, Arthur Herman Gill, split when he was young and his mother moved her family from Peterborough, ON to Fort McMurray, AB.
Richard attended grade 1 through grade 9* at St. John’s Separate School in Fort McMurray, AB.
*Richard stated in 2013 that he had completed grade 9. Marie, my mother whom I tracked down in 2013, stated that Richard and my uncle Al, Marie’s brother, both had to take academic upgrading as both only had grade eight. Neither had completed grade 9. It was through this academic upgrading that Richard and Al became best buddies. And they enrolled in the Navy together and became inseparable until about ten years later.
As a kid, what I remember the most about Richard is that he was quick to anger. Asking him questions was akin to walking on broken glass.
Just after we moved to CFB Downsview, I had asked him for help with my math homework. We were still living in the LDH at 94 Sunfield Rd, so I know I was going to Sheppard Public at the time. I think the math question was something along the lines of long division. That was the first time he had ever hit me with a closed fist. It was a couple of days later that he tearfully apologized and said that he was going to take a math upgrading course and that he’d be able to help me with any math homework. That was another one of the many Richard promises that would come to naught. Yes, he took the upgrading course at York University and Seneca College, but knowing math and knowing how to teach math are two very separate issues.
Like most kids, I think I took an interest in electronics and mechanics to be closer to my father. But, this was a foolish endevor in my case.
Contrary to popular belief, I didn’t learn my electronics from him. Yes, his interest in electronics intrigued my interest in electronics. But most of my skills I got from either Radio Electronics, Popular Electronics, or the Radio Shack hobbyist books.
By the time I was 14, I was repairing arcade video games, pinball machines, and jukeboxes. I was honing my skills with real world technicians. Dorian was probably my greatest teacher. House and Winston would be second and third.
My father couldn’t teach. He could redicule. He could humilate. If you made a simple mistake, you were a fucking idiot. That’s just the way things were.
I remember asking him once how to do the calculation to determine the gain of an amplifier stage and he got seriously bent out of shape.
When I moved out of the house just after my 16th birthday, I went to work servicing video games, pinballs, and jukeboxes full time.
Electronics though was never a serious interest of mine. Yeah, I understand it. But no, I don’t get any pleasure from it. Pursuing your hopes and dreams was never something encouraged in Richard’s house. I don’t honestly know what I’d be doing today had I been encouraged or supported in my interests back then.
When I was 15 years old, I bought a 1977 Volkswagen Rabbit for $175.00 with money from my after school job repairing video games.
The car was a piece of crap as one could imagine. Floor pans were rotted out, rocker panels were shot, engine had a shot head gasket.
But it was my car. I even had it registered in my name. Just couldn’t insure it, and couldn’t get plates for it.
I bought the car so that I could get a membership at the base auto hobby club. My hope was that my father would come over to the club on the weekends and help me work on it.
In the days after it was brought homes, he pulled the head off the engine one weekend in the parking lot over by the PMQs. He said that he’d clean the head and block and then he’d put the head back on for me. He told me that I could watch, but that I had to stay out of his way and not ask questions or annoy him. That’s not what I wanted. The reason I bought the car is I wanted to learn how to work on cars. I didn’t buy the car so that I could watch him fix it for me.
In 2011 I tried tracking down my uncle Doug to see what he remembered about CFB Namao from 1980. Turns out that Doug had died in 2010. In speaking with Doug’s widow Yvonne she said something interesting about my father. She said that Richard was the type of guy who would always help, but if you asked for his help you had to stand back and stay out of his way because if you tried to help out as well or pointed out that he was doing something wrong he’d get very upset almost like a little child.
So one afternoon after school I sat out behind our PMQ with the head upside down and clamped in the Black and Decker workmate. I was following the instructions in the service manual that I had bought. I had even gone over to crappy tire and bought head gasket removing solvent and some knives made specifically for scraping head gaskets.
You’ll have to excuse my English, but holy fuck did Richard ever lose it. “Can’t you fucking do as you’re told”? “I told you I’d fix the fucking engine for you, I don’t need you fucking things up!”, “Don’t you understand that if you fuck this up, there’s no fixing the damn thing?”.
It was a $175.00 car that cost him nothing. He just didn’t get it.
Bill Parker overheard this exchange. He waited until Richard went into the PMQ. He told me to go put the engine head in the car and he’d make arrangements for my car to be towed to the auto club and then he’d help me work on the engine and get it fixed up and running right.
Bill Parker was a navy buddy of my father. They had served together on some of the ships at CFB Shearwater between 1963 and 1968.
When we lived on Canadian Forces Base Shearwater, I remember going for visits with the Parkers, and staying over at their house on occasion.
In 2013 I would make acquaintances with a woman named Pat Longmore who had been in the Royal Canadian Navy. She knew my father, she knew my mother, and she knew the Parkers. And she had some rather interesting information about the visits to the Parkers.
I’ll have more to say about the Parkers and Pat Longmore in a later post.
The autoclub was fun. Normally the club only gave out memberships to service members. But as Bill Parker was the president of the club, and Bob Wrightson, another former navy buddy of my father was the treasurer, rules were bent and I got a membership.
I was even supplied with a set of licence plates to put on the car to fool the base military police. Uninsured and unregistered vehicles were not permitted on a Defence Establishment, so the auto club had a collection of plates to thwart the MPs. The MPs at the time had to manually run plates if they wanted to run them. And this was time consuming, so they usually didn’t.
I had fun at the auto club. Tore the engine completely down and spent a month rebuilding it. Learnt how to do clutch jobs. Learnt how to do brake jobs. Brazing and TIG welding sheet metal was interesting. All these skills I learnt from the other guys in the auto club. Other members would pay me to do brake jobs on their cars.
Richard had an early ’80s Cadilac at one point while we lived on CFB Downsview. The car started to develop a fuel leak infront of the rear driver side wheel. The car was hard to start when the fuel leaked out. The car had two electric fuel pumps. One fuel pump was in the tank. The second pump was outside of the tank just in front of the rear wheel arch. Richard pulled up to the autoclub one weekend at the autoclub when I was there working on my car. Richard mater-of-factly pulled the car into one of the bays. He told me that he wanted me to look under the car and see if I could pinpoint the leak and then he’d deal with it. I slid under the rear of the car and he would cycle the ignition on and off to trigger the fuel pumps to prime. I started moving the hose that went between the pump in the tank to the external pump. When I moved the hose it split open and sprayed me in the face with high pressure gasoline. Bill Parker grabbed me by the ankles, pulled me out from under the car, and ran me over to the eyewash station and started washing the gasoline off my face and head. Bill had me take my gasoline soaked shirt off. Richard? Richard thought this was the funniest thing he ever saw. Richard told me that all I was supposed to do was find the leak, not make it worse.
And that’s the way Richard was.