On December 6th, I Missed A Party!
The party I missed was at TV Ontario, where I spent several years. That day, I was helping to move my wife from a retirement home to the nursing home where she still is. It was such a busy day that it was over before I remembered the party. But the date is also significant for a much more lifelong reason (and I do mean lifelong) -- it was the anniversary of the day in 1917 when the greatest man-made explosion prior to the atomic bomb went off in Halifax Harbour. The blast was fueled by over 2500 tons of TNT, picric acid, and other volatile materials in the Mont Blanc, just leaving for convoy overseas to take part in the war of 1914-18. I was four years old, and survived physically unscathed, but my mother lost an eye and my aunt was thoroughly crippled. The large family across the street was not so fortunate -- all but one died at breakfast. It was, and still is, the dividing date in my life. During the next two and half years, I lived in seven places, three of them foster homes.
All this made me anything but a headstrong hero about anything. I learned I was not the boss anywhere, and this made me a very good boss later on, as a teacher, as the head of museums, and as the chairman of associations of various sorts. I was careful, and preferred to be understated until I showed my hand, although I know my real nature was to take charge. The Halifax Explosion took my DNA and made me what I became. On December 6 each year, I am very conscious of all this.
Life goes on, however, so no TVO party, and I try to come to terms with my wife's weakened state. Sadly, no one I met that day seemed aware of the significant historical event that happened exactly 89 years prior. Tempus does fugit.