May passed away in 1989 and one year later I married her youngest sister Lynda. I simply could not face having to train another mother in law . . . Lynda's mother referred to me as "a recycled son-in-law." Now I qualify as a redneck: one who has married twice and still has the same in laws! Lynda had been married before and had 5 kids; one girl and four boys. Eighteen years after we were married -- when she was 44 and I was 60 -- she had our daughter Bridget. So now I am a daddy.
In 1975 I could no longer stomach CANATOM and struck out on my own; initially to supply inspectors to various nuclear power projects and eventually to do failure analysis and investigation. In the meantime I developed an ultrasonic system to test wood (railroad ties and hydro poles primarily) and eventually landed up doing all the off-shore failure investigation for the largest boiler and machinery insurers in the world; American International Group in New York. This involved a nauseating amount of travel to South America, the Caribean, Malaysia, Singapore and Europe. Between 1995 and 2001 I travelled to Italy more than 100 times and I still do not care for pasta. I was also in India (Mumbai if you know what I mean) a few times and has the place ever changed. The only thing that has not changed is the smell of the Love Grove Sewage Pumping Station and the fish market in Bombai.
In 2000 Lynda and I went to a US Air Force reunion in Dallas. There we met all the old geizers I graduated with 1955. Three days of boozing and talking about flying sent my mind into a spin and as soon as we got back to Canada we bought a plane. (A 1978 6-passenger Cessna 340, pressurized to be up there with the airliners.) In 2001 we took this thing to South America where we got as far as Manaus in Brazil where they threw us out of the country because we did not have a visa. We goofed around the Caribean, the Northern part of South America and Central America for 3 weeks. Then, in 2003, we took it to Europe via Greenland, Iceland and some godforsaken place in Scotland called Wick. We visited Holland (of course), Vienna, Genova, Barcelona, Belgium (the business part of the trip for the benefit of the tax man) and Copenhagen.
Now as far as gossip is concerned. The only people we are still in touch with up to now are the Hulmes. Don will soon be 80 and poor Ann has been institunionalized with Altzheimers. Once, at the airport in Calgar, we ran into Stew Mulvey who mentioned that Peter Harvey died of a heart attack. If you look at Motorcycle ralleys on the internet, you will spot Lawrence Hacking who seems to race in sun and fun places like the Sahara and Mongolia. As far as I can determine, he is a dentist in Toronto.
I have so many pleasant memories from Rawat Bhata. Char Sow Bies, that larcenous grocer. Steven Knowlon smooking beedees in the local tea shop and telling you that school in Hindi is ischool. Ian alway worrying that you would run out of gas. The Saturday egg delivery expedition, when everybody invited you in for a drink so that, by the time you got to the end of the street, you were as tight as a duck's ass.
About one year ago, at age 72, I threw in the towel and sort of half-assed retired. Now I am writing a book and short stories (we go to a writing workshop organized by a University of Alberta prof), paint, and am scheming to fly an airplane for my neighbour to Guyana (where he owns a diamond mine), Russia, India and Australia.
The idea of a RAPP reunion would really turn me on and I hope that Peter Main's efforts bear fruit.
Harry de Beer