As yet another birthday passes, it occurs to me how lucky I’ve been in many ways throughout my life. While so much of what happens to everyone is due to choices made, it’s that first lucky day, the day of birth, that sets in motion the rest of life that lies ahead of each of us.
I was fortunate to have been born at the right time (the early 50s) in the right place (Toronto’s Beach neighbourhood) and into the right family – those crazy Toys and Soetens! My parents bought a cottage north of Toronto the September after I was born and I spent every summer there until I was 16.
We lived six blocks away from my mother’s parents. Dad had a steady job and was never unemployed until he retired at 65. Mom stayed at home and was usually there when we came home from school every afternoon. (“Hi, Mom! I’m home!”)
We never wanted for anything. There was a grassy, fenced backyard and that part of Toronto was always considered “safe” … actually whether we were safe or not just never came up during those years.
I attended great schools I could walk to (Williamson Road and Malvern Collegiate), had a good group of friends (many of whom I’ve reconnected with on Facebook recently), and am still fiercely proud of both schools. (In other words, I’ve attended reunions and am kept informed as to what’s going on at both.)
When I became aware of music (other than what I played for my piano teacher) it was because The Beatles were suddenly replacing the music of the 50s. While I never did make it to a Beatles concert, I saw The Beach Boys in 1964 at Maple Leaf Gardens, and that was a thrill for me! I became a teenager during the 60s, wanted to be a hippie, couldn’t get to Woodstock but loved the movie and subsequent albums, celebrated Canada’s 100th birthday along with the rest of the country, and was truly shaped by that phenomenal decade of peace and love.
And for those who have read my novellas and short stories (both published and unpublished), you’ll know how much I’ve “mined” that time for inspiration, shall we say. (I have yet to write about how my brother was instrumental in me breaking my leg at the age of 4 …)
All this comes to mind today, because I realize how fate created the person I am now – 63 years later. It was the luck of the draw that I was born at the right time, in the right place, and … yes … even into the right family! 😉 I’ve made many choices in my life since the 70s (when I left home to attend university), but I would never have made those choices had I not been born on June 21, 1953, in Toronto. I truly have been lucky!