July 29 – there goes the neighbourhood

5/365 – people to thank who’ve had an impact on me. I was born in New Westminster and lived in Queensborough until I was 8 years old. From the very first time I could come up with the concept of neighbours, it was Edna & Clarence a retired couple who lived next door to us. If you would have met them and not lived next to them, you would have thought that they were a curmudgeonly couple – Edna with her beehive and granny dresses and Clarence with the lack of a smile and always in his garden. However, they were the best people thinking about us. They taught my mother English. Clarence helped around the house when necessary. Edna brought her home made pies often. When my parents wanted to give us Indian first names, Edna bestowed upon me the name of Randy (and Pam for my sister) as she suggested to my parents that it would make my life easier growing up in a very white place – this was 1965. I’ve had countless fellow Indians say that I sold out and changed my name – never was that the case…Randy has been my name from day one. My parents compromised and gave us Indian first names on our birth certificates. Many a times, Edna would take my mom and/or us in (read 1/365) or help with any English language concerns that my parents could not understand. Edna also taught me how to play the piano and the violin – at the time, I thought I was being punished as I had to sit their tinkling away to the pace of the metronome but now I so regret not continuing once we had moved away. I sadly know that Clarence and Edna are no longer of this world but wanted to acknowledge a great couple who defined what it was to be neighbourly!

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