My motto is: THE IMPOSSIBLE JUST TAKES A LITTLE LONGER !
When I look back over my 87 years on earth, regarding several things I have done, which most people would have said were impossible, I did because I did not know they could not be done.
I discovered that I am the most creative just as I wake up in the morning. About two years ago I ran into a website about a person that had done the impossible, and used the power of his mind to completely repair the damage to his vertebra, that all the leading doctors said could not be done. He believed someone made him, that was a lot smarter than him, so I am going to give him the job of fixing me. However, I am going to give him a plan, so in his mind, he reconstructed his vertebra, one block at a time. He then said I will not let anyone tell me that I will not be completely healed, and it worked. That was over 20 years ago. He has be teaching people all over the world how they can use the power of their mind, combined with meditation to cure themselves of many conditions and illnesses that seem impossible to cure. To learn more about this amazing man, and his meditation method go to the Dr. Dispenza page on this website.
I find I am the most creative just as I wake up in the morning. It did not know why for many years, I just knew it happened. After reading Dr. Dispenza's book:"Breaking TheHabit Of Being Yourself" I now know why.
On the Pat Rowden Fear page of the website, you will find a picture of the only milling machine in the world, capable of reproducing any vintage auto or truck running board rubber, which I designed and built one day at a time at about 6:00 AM over a couple of months.
At age 39, I was given the opportunity to attend the University of Alberta to become a vocational education teacher. I was having a terrible time writing term papers, and could not put two words together that made any sense. I could not even come up with a good title, but all of a sudden one night I woke up at 4:00 AM, and knew exactly what to write. I would write for several hours as the words came, then set it aside for two days and looked at it. Sometimes it was just plain garbage, but most of the time all I had to do was move a few sentences around, fix the spelling and grammatical errors and hand it in.
For seven years at Shaughnessy Secondary Vocational Education School in Calgary, Alberta, I successfully taught students that had consistently failed in school for the first six years of their education. Of all the things that I have accomplished this was the most challenging, yet the most rewarding.
About 2 years ago I made the decision to pass on my knowledge to help the next generation, and possibly generations to come, rather than take it to the grave with me. That is why I built this website. It is my hope that within the next six months it will be found world wide using common key words.
Many of my friends have said over the years that I should write a book about my life experiences. There is nota topicthat I don't have a story for. Today I have made the decision to begin. I will start posting a few of my memories, thoughts, beliefs, and opinions here.
I believe the title of the book should be: "IS THERE A REASON ?"
When I look back over time there have been several events that have occurred at a certain time to be just by chance. I have no way of proving it, but to have events happen, at a certain time over and over throughout my lifetime, leads me to believe that these events happened for a reason. If there is a reason there must be a higher power, and the higher power would be God.
There isnological reason why I am alive. My mother was supposed to be on the Titanic as a steerage passenger. Steerage passengers were locked below the deck until all the lifeboats were gone. Mom's family had tickets for the Titanic, but when they got to the dock they could not find their luggage. The ship had sailed before they found their luggage. Steerage passengers were locked below deck until all the lifeboats were gone.
I can think of at least adozen occurrences where an event happened in my life time, and at a certain time to simply by chance, so logically thinking there must be a reason.You will seldom find me in church, because I am not a religious person, asreligions were created by man, not God !!
My dad used to say: "I respect all religions, but I don't agree with any of them." My mom used to say:" Hell is on earth" and for many I believe this is true.
I say: " Things happen for a reason, therefore there has to be a GOD." That is my belief, but I have no way of proving it.
I believe there is a reason I put together this website: "I believe it was God's plan."
There is no other logical reason. I was born on May 7th, 1933, at the very height of the great depression, I was told I was a mistake, and not only that, if I was to be born I was to be a girl. If there had been birth control pills back then I suspect I would not be here today.
I do remember the"dirty thirties"and the "great depression" well. My dad predicted that we would have another depression. It never happened in his lifetime, but we are now heading for a depression. All the signs are there.
I remember mom lighting the coal oil lamp in the middle of the day to see in the house because the dirt in the sky completely blocked out the sun. I remember the violent lighting storms, night after night. The sheet lightning would light up the sky, and I could see for miles in the middle of the night, but there was no rain. The tumbleweeds rolled up against the fence, and the dirt-covered the tumbleweeds, allowing our cattle to walk over the fence.
Those were very hard times, yet I never ate better in my life because we grew everything on the farm. Dad had no money, but as a child growing up I think I was blessed.
I had a good childhood, received a good education in a small country school. I went on to high school and got the opportunity to go to university as an adult at age 39 to receive my Bachelor of Education in Vocational Education, only to be forced out of teaching automotive at Bowness High School in Calgary. Why? Because student and public safety was my number one priority, and I refused to put out more customer work than I could guarantee would leave my shop in a safe condition I also did not like using my students as unpaid slaves to make money for the school.
My number one priority as an automotive teacher was the students and public safety, and I refused to put out more customer work than I could be sure was safe to be on the street. I lost my job as a teacher, with a worthless B. Ed. in Voc. Ed. degree, and a greatly reduced pension. As a result, I decided to set up a home-based business reproducing vintage vehicle running board mats. To do so I designed and built the only milling machine capable of making any pattern. We reproduced over 500 sets of mats over a period of seven years, with customers worldwide, with only one returning for alteration.
Now at 87, I am again coming out of retirement with a new business venture.
You say "Why would an 87 year old man do so?
The answer is as simple, I guess, as it was meant to be:
" God made the choice for me. Do I have any proof, no I do not,but I believe it was meant to be."
I can remember as a kid on the farm talking to my dad when he said:" John just sold his farm to his son, and is moving into Hanna to retire. Just you wait he will be dead in less than two years, so I am never going to retire." So at age 82, he was elected to the Hanna town council even though everyone in town knew he was dead.
I will be 87 in May, and in good health. Most men my age are either dead or wished they were. Maybe, my reason to be alive is to make a difference before I die. Only time will tell.
Back at the time I was a teenager, many farmers who appeared to be in good health retired around age 60 to 65 and died within two years. Their whole life revolved around farming it would appear, so when they retired they had nothing to live for. So dad said: "I'm never going to retire." So at age 82, he became the dog catcher in the town of Hanna.
I said to dad: "Are you not too old to be catching dogs?" He replied: "I think I'm smarter than the average dog." I had to agree, he was. After six months, the town had to lay him off because they only allowed a small amount of money for the year to catch dogs, and they had run out of money.
A lawyer on the town council told dad, "Now that he was unemployed you should run for town council." He also said: " You don't think much of these dog bylaws, you won't getanything changed, but you will have a lot of fun." So dad ran for town council but died before the election. The town phoned Edmonton to find out what to do about the situation. They said: "Dead or alive you have to have an election." Dad had been around Hanna all his life so everyone knew him and knew he had died, but they voted for him anyway. It was a landslide and hit all the papers across Canada and the USA. It was the second time in North American history that a dead man had won an election.
Is that a coincidence, or was it meant to be?
I went to Bullpound School from grades one to midway through grade four.
It is my understanding that my parents noticed that although my report card said I was doing well, I was in fact failing. They came to the conclusion that I was the teacher’s pet, and enrolled me in the Hand Hills Lake School, where I had to compete with four girls, Cecelia, Meleta, Joyce, and Laura, until grade 9.
My most memorable thought of going to Bullpound was riding down the coulee bank east of the school on a piece of tin with jagged edges. Why noone got seriously injured I have no idea. My brother Robert decided to build a toboggan and brought it to school. The teacher, and a girl boarding with her, decided to ride down the coulee bank south of the school. Unfortunately, they hit a rock head-on, completely destroying the toboggan on its maiden voyage, just like the Titanic. Luckily they were not hurt.
My saddlehorse Queen loved to run, so I was usually home a half hour earlier than my brother and uncle Ray. However, one day Robert and Ray left the school before me. There was a spring in the coulee that we travelled through to get home. We always stopped to water our horses at the spring. Robert and Ray had already watered their horses, and had left the spring. After watering my horse, I took off like the wind heading north to catch up and pass them. As I was rounding the turn of the coulee, going west the cinch broke, thus the saddle and I continued north, landing between two large rocks, while my horse continued going west.
We lived 2 1/2 miles from two schools. If we went east we could go to the BULLPOUND SCHOOL by going through a series if coulees. If we went west we would to the HAND HILLS LAKE SCHOOL. Many students had to walk to school, but my brother Robert, my uncle Ray and I rode horses to school.
So at six years of age the decision was made that I should learn to ride Queen to school. I remember my dad putting the saddle on the horse, and adjusting the stirrups to match my leg length. Then dad lifted me into the saddle and away I went at a full gallop, down by the dam, and around the sheep pasture, and back up to the house. My mom, dad, Robert, and uncle Ray thought I would fall off and be seriously injured or killed. I was young and fearless in those days, and totally stupid, otherwise I would have had the sense to simply walk the horse, then go to a gentle trot, then to a slow gallop over a number of days. This is what anyone with any common sense would have done.
MAGPIES, CROWS, and GOPHERS
There was a bounty on magpies, crows, and gophers when I was around ten years old. I got a $1.00 allowance each week for feeding the pigs, milking the cow, weeding the garden, churning butter, feeding the chicken, and gathering the eggs, etc. To supplement my income I would climb trees to collect crow and magpie eggs. They were worth 0.5 cents apiece, young crow and magpie legs were worth .02 cents, grown crow and magpie legs were worth .05 cents apiece. Gopher tails were worth .05 cents as well. I would pour water down a gopher hole and snare them when they came up for air. This money was used to pay to go to a picture show for myself, and my friends Otto and Wilmert Rust on Saturday nights. After the show I would buy Boston Cream Pie for all of us, as Otto and Wilmert had no allowance. Saturdays were shopping days to buy essentials, like baking soda, flour, sugar, and spices. We were self-sufficient on the farm and grew everything else. Times were hard no money, but we always ate well.
CATS AND DOGS
As I mentioned, cats and dogs have always been part of my life as long as I can remember. Of all my possessions, the thing that I cherish is the unconditional love of my pets. At the moment, I have three, Danny, who was my wife Shirley’s cat. She picked him out of a small litter of rescue kittens. We gave away the rest. Then there is Hunter, my mouser, and stunt cat. She was also a rescue cat. She lived two doors south of us, and was given to some people 30 miles away. She came to our house and wanted my son to adopt her. She has been here ever since. I have yet to find a live mouse on my property since she arrived. Buddy was the last to arrive. My son always wanted a dog. He picked Buddy out of a litter of purebred Bichon Shih Tzu puppies that were selling for between $500 to $600, but the seller thought that Buddy would only bring $100 because he was not perfect, but Buddy has become a perfect therapy dog, as everywhere he goes he just melts people’s hearts. As I woke up this morning, I discovered all three in my bedroom. No matter where I go on my property they will follow me. As I took Buddy for a walk, Danny and Hunter will tag along. Danny tagging along behind. Hunter, running ahead and climbing a tree, then running down the tree, hiding in the tall grass and zipping by us, then hiding in the tall grass waiting for a mouse to show up, then zip by us again. I have temporarily adopted Meemie, and Whittie until I can find a permanent home for them. They belonged to a lady with Alzheimer’s disease that could no longer look after them.
DAD’S FIRST TRACTOR
Dad decided to buy a used caterpillar tractor. A caterpillar tracker is steered by two steering levers and two steering brakes. My job was to drive the tractor home. I spent a few minutes steering the tractor around the level yard using the steering clutches. It was fun and seemed quite easy. What I did not know was that when going downhill you need to use not only the steering clutches, but also the steering brakes. On a downhill road, the tractor becomes impossible to steer unless you use the steering clutches in conjunction with the steering brakes. On my first downhill ride, I was all over the road. Luckily the top speed was 4 MPH so I did not go into the ditch before I got the tractor stopped.Dad decided that the tractor could be steered from a grain binder seat. He tied ropes to the steering clutches, and a rope to the ignition magneto leveler in case of an emergency.
On level grain field on the bull pound flats, it worked really well. By just flicking the ropes you could get the tractor to go around a corner very easily. However, we lived in the Hand Hills, and therefore the tractor became uncontrollable on the first downhill run. The tractor tracks were chewing up the binder hitch, and the reel slats were broken off, because dad could not shut of the engine as the magneto rope was tangled up. I’m not sure how dad eventually shut the engine off. Needless to say, we never used the cat with the binder on the unlevel ground again.
At the age of 39, I was called a RETREAD. The federal and provincial governments and the local school boards had spent a great deal of taxpayers' money setting up vocational shops In the large public and private high schools. They also built and equipped secondary vocational schools for students that were failing in the junior high programs, so they could attend a vocational school where they learned, by using their hands.
I am also one of those people who have to actually perform a task to learn how to do it. Telling me how to do something, or showing me how to do the task never works for me. I have to actually perform the task. The students in secondary education do extremely well in a school where they can learn by doing but failed miserably in the traditional elementary and junior high schools.
As us trades people needed a teaching certificate to teach in Canada, the federal, provincial and the local school boards set up bursary program; a total of $6,000 to entice us trades people to teach. The requirements for us tradespeople were: university entrance requirements, working in the trade for at least four years, and have a trades person’s license. This allowed us to go to the University of Alberta, to enroll in second year vocational education courses. The first year was forgiven.
A bachelor of education in vocational education degree, is a four year degree. We were allowed to teach after going to the U.of A. for one year to take second year courses. The rest of our degree was obtained by summer and night school classes.
I believe 140 of us trades people went the first year, and the second year 70 trades people attended the U.of A. Then they shut the program down.
That was 47 years ago !
Because of the government’s and the school board’s wisdom,or lack thereof, the result was a systematic closing down of the high school vocational programs, and Canada now again depends on immigration to obtain the vast amount of badly needed trades people to do the work. Many in Alberta complain very bitterly about the fact that immigrants are getting all the good jobs, but our provincial government actually made it very difficult for our young people to get into the trades by shutting down the vocational education programs in the senior high schools.
The students that attended the secondary vocational education schools like Shaughnessy who had failed out of junior high were sent to these schools.
I taught Service Station Operation at Shaughnessy Secondary Vocational Education School in Calgary for seven years.
I used thehands-onapproach, which they required.
There were three such schools with 500 students each, for a total of 1500 students in Calgary at the time. Calgary has tripled in size since I was teaching, therefore six schools would be required, yet none exists. Because the schools were closed the students lacked the education and skills to successfully compete in society, they were religated to low paying jobs at best, and many ended up in jail, become homeless, became drug dealers and/or users, became alcoholics, or gave up and committed suicide.
This is still the situation to this very day.How very sad!MY FIRST TEACHING ASSIGNMENTMy first teaching assignment was at the Claresholm Composite High School. When I applied for a bursary to be able to go to the U of A to take the four-year B. Ed. In Voc. Ed program I lived in Calgary and wanted to teach automotive there, however, Calgary did not need an automotive teacher, but Claresholm did, so I got a bursary from Claresholm.
After spending a winter in Edmonton taking the B. Ed. in Voc. Ed courses I moved my wife and three children back to Calgary, and began teaching in Claresholm. To my surprise the school was not fully built. In fact, there were no doors, windows, light, power, tools, or equipment in my shop, not even a piece of chalk. All I had was 16 students wanting to take automotive classes.
Luckily there was a room in the shop that had a door I could lock, so I went home, got my own tools, and put them in the room. I then went to the local auto wrecker and bought four wrecked cars and had them towed to the school. I was at Claresholm for six weeks when my wife had a nervous breakdown, and two of my three children were also in the hospital.
I asked the Calgary Board Of Education if they needed an automotive teacher. They said no, but there was a teaching position open teaching Building Construction Sub Trades. I took the job offer at Shaughnessy Secondary Vocational Education School, even though I would be teaching drywalling, stuccoing, plastering, cement work, and painting, none of which I had any experience in, but I needed the job.
THE SECONDARY VOCATIONAL EDUCATION PROGRAM
The students that attended the secondary vocational education schools like Shaughnessy, Van Horne and Jack James had failed out of junior high and were sent to these schools, with about 500 students per school. Calgary has tripled in size since I was teaching, therefore six schools would be required, yet only Jack James exists.
Because the schools were closed these students lack the education and skills to compete, Therefore they are relegated to low-paying jobs at best, and many ended up in jail, become homeless, became drug dealers and/or users, became alcoholics, or give up and commit suicide. MY SUBTRADES CLASS
The first day I arrived at Shaughnessy I discovered I had no students, but everyone else did, so I went to the office to find out where my students were. They told me that the chap that I replaced was an alcoholic, and only showed up for work about two days a week. The students thought: "If the teacher does not show up why should we." As I knew the grade 7 students would be moving on to another shop in a week, I made the decision to let their new shop teacher find them. Because I still had grade 8 and 9 students to teach, I knew I had to teach them something. As I had no knowledge about what I was supposed to teach, I decided to have the students build a model garage, starting with the plans.
I told a teacher in the staff room about my plan, and he just about fell out of his chair laughing. He said: "You realize these students can't read a ruler." I have always done the impossible so I made the decision to put my plan into action. I spent almost a week having the students drawing up the plans. They were every shape and size believable, and totally worthless, so I went back to square one.
I told the students to glue two pieces of paper together. I said "Don't worry about how long it is as long as it is two lengths of a ruler. Nobody goes anywhere until that task is completed.
"See that 1" mark on the ruler? Measure along the bottom of the paper and put a series of dots along the paper. You now have a straight line. Now put a dot at the top and bottom along the left side of the paper. Then draw a line from top to bottom, which is a perpendicular line. See that mark on the ruler? It is a 7" mark. Draw a series of dots across the paper measuring from the bottom of the page. You now have a parallel line 7" above the bottom line. That is the height of the wall." (Nobody goes anywhere until that is done). "Now measure two lengths of the ruler top and bottom, and place a mark there. Now draw a line from top to bottom. You now have a drawing for a wall 24" long and 7" high." I used the same procedure to make a pattern for the end walls and the studs.
The students then had diagrams to lay their wooden pieces on. About that time the principal showed up, and said to me, "I'd like you to make this course a little more academically incline." I thought for a moment. "It has not been that long ago since I was in the trade." So I said, "If you can figure out how come back and see me." Needless to say he never came back.
Shortly after that, they found a teacher qualified to teach Subtrades, and I replaced a Social Studies teacher teaching Service Station Operation. I was at Shaughnessy for 7 years and eventually became the department head, at which time I made the decision to teach so-called normal students,and ask for a transfer to a senior high school. It was the worst mistake I ever made in my life to that point in time. I soon learned to regret my decision. It ultimately ended my teaching career, 5 years before retirement, with a greatly reduced pension. BOWNESS COMPOSITE HIGH SCHOOLI had now made the decision to teach, so-called, normal students, after my seven years at Shaughnessy. Unfortunately, the minister of education was working overtime shutting down shop after shop throughout Alberta, at the time. I was teaching 25 students automotive at Bowness Composite High School. The legal maximum was 16 students when the principal came to me and said,"What is your numberone priority?"I said, "Customer and student safety." He said," That is a red herring," and asked for my transfer. In my stupidity, I went to the ATA about my concern. They said, "You are right,and we want you to block transfer, and we will support you."
The ATA representative andI went before the Calgary school board, listening to lies from my principal, the superintendent of personal, and the chief superintendent for over two hours. The lies were so bad even a person walking down the hallway would know they were lies. I was told by my ATA representative that the school board voted in my favor because they were afraid of a lawsuit, however my troubles just began. My principal spied on me constantly.
By this time the stress had gotten to me. As a result, my doctor advised me to take sick leave. At the end of the sick leave I asked for my job back. I was told I was not needed. That ended my teaching career very shortof a full pension. I now had a Bachelor Of Education In Vocational Education degree, that I had went to night school and evening classes for several years to get, that was worthless. The students in the secondary vocational schools, such as Shaughnessy, who needed a hands-on approach to education became unemployable, forcing them on to ASIH to survive, became street people, or ended up in jail or became drug addicts and/or alcoholics, to deal with the mental stress - or committed suicide.
This is still their fate to this very day.
It should also be noted that the Alberta government had decided to shut down the senior high school vocational program as well, some47 years ago, by simply cutting off the supply of qualified vocational teachers, such as myself. They used every excuse and method in the book to remove vocational education from all the schools throughout the province.
HOW VERY STUPID, SAD, AND CRUEL, IN MY OPINION. POOCH
Dad had a border collie named pooch. Border Collie’s are fantastic cattle dogs. They love to herd, and replace two men when driving a herd of cattle. Pooch was the best cattle dog I have ever met. She understood and obeyed every command. Pooch was my companion and loyal friend.
On one occasion, Pooch went with me to see Otto and Wilmurt Rust. They lived on the farm across the road from our farm. I spent countless hours listening to Wilf Carter records on an old windup record player at their place. I did not know it at the time, but there was an uncle of their's who lived on the farm, and hated dogs. In his total ignorance, he tied a tin can to Pooch’s tail. It was known as “canning the dog”. The most likely result was that the dog would run themselves to death.
Pooch had sense enough to run straight home. When dad discovered what had happened he went to see the uncle, and began beating him up. The uncle picked up an axe to hit dad. Dad took the axe away from him, and left. The uncle sued dad for assault and battery, and would have won except for the fact the he had picked up the axe to attack dad. The judge dropped the case against dad. That was the first time I remember dad going to court. Pooch was with us for many years until she died peacefully of old age. Her memory will always remain in my heart.
BUDDY OUR SELF TRAINED THERAPY DOG
When my son purchased Buddy has about the size of a large mouse. We were afraid we would lose him because he was always hiding from us.
He is a black and white Bichon Shih Tzu. By nature they have a perfect temperament to be a therapy dog. Even people that don’t like dogs, love Buddy. He just loves people, and people just love him.
When my late wife Shirley, was in the hospital getting over her last nervous breakdown, I would take Buddy to see her. It was a sight to see when Shirley would decide to go for a trip around the hospital. Shirley would sit in her transport chair holding on to Buddy’s leash, and he would pull her all over the hospital.
A lady that was in the senior lodge with us, was in the hospital the same time as Shirley, and she fell in love with Buddy. I would take him to see her every day, when she was in the hospital. I would put him on the bed and she would cuddle and squeeze him. I suspect one of the last things she remembers before she passed away was Buddy coming to see her.
He has visited several senior care lodges with my son, where he takes a particular interest in cheering up the Alzheimer’s residents.
OUR 1934 DODGE
When it was new I could see that it was a beautiful car, but when dad bought it, the car was totally worn out. When the sun went behind a cloud it would not start. In the winter dad put it in the barn with the milk cows to keep it warm. Dad would put a kettle on the stove to get hot water, then pour it into the radiator. Then push it outside and hitch a team of horses to it, and tow it around the yard, putting it into second gear, and letting out the clutch. If it started we went to town. If not, dad drain the water out of the radiator, and we pushed it back into the barn.
The suspension was totally worn out so every time we hit a bump in the road it would bounce, and continue to bounce until the next bump in the bumpy dirt road. The steering linkage was also extremely loose, meaning as dad was driving he was always be looking for the wheels. Luckily dad was speeding at 20 mph, and the roads were low with small ditches.
When dad had a little too much to drink he often fell asleep, and ended up in the ditch. The last trip he made with the car he made a mistake, running off the road at an underground cattle crossing. When we went to pull the car out of the ditch, it was upside down in the ditch. Dad traded it in on a new 1949 International half-ton.
The people who bought the old Dodge from the dealer rolled the car the first week, as it literally bounced off the road at 30 mph.
WATER WELL DRILLING
Dad only had a grade 8 education but seemed to know the law. Therefore, he had a good lawyer draw up an airtight contract between himself, and the customer.
Dad had an old cable and bit pounding machine. He would not put the casing into the well until he found water, because it was not needed, and time consuming. This plan worked well until the machine hit a seam of gravel. At that point, the gravel just moved in stopping his downward movement, so the customer had to pay for a dry hole, and no water.
Dad decided that there had to be a way of drilling through a seam of gravel. The answer was to stop drilling when he hit gravel, and put the casing into the well, and drill inside the casing until he reached water. He charged by the foot until he hit gravel. He then charged by the hour.
This was just after the great depression, and many farmers had lost their land to banks, and land speculators. They would get dad to drill a well for them, but often complained about the cost of going through gravel. It never worked. Dad simply took them to court, and they paid up.
There were people witching for water, but dad would tell people, I can drill the well where the well witcher said water was. However, dad’s recommendation was to drill the well halfway between the house and the barn, because dad kept a very accurate log of each well he drilled, so he knew how deep the well would likely be, the flow, and the type of water he would find.
One day, dad bet a lady that he would find soft water. A bottle of whiskey, against a box of chocolates, knowing full well that the water would be hard. When he did hit water, he got the lady’s son to get a dipper full of water from the rain barrel. The lady said the water was soft, but not as soft as rain water. Dad, however did have to own up, and buy the chocolates.
IS THERE A REASON?When I look back over time there have been several events that have occurred at a certain time to be just by chance. I have no way of proving it, but to have events happen, at a certain time over and over throughout my lifetime, leads me to believe that these events happened for a reason.
There is no logical reason why I am alive. My mother was supposed to be on the Titanic as a steerage passenger. Steerage passengers were locked below deck until all the lifeboats were gone. Mom's family had tickets for the Titanic, but when they got to the dock they could not find their luggage. The ship had sailed before they found their luggage.
I can think of at least a dozen occurrences where the event, and the time the event happened coincided to just be by chance, so it would seem there is a reason.
ROBERT’S 1926 CHEV
My brother, Robert’s first car was a 1926 Chevy. Today, you simply get in the car and drive away in comfort and speed. They almost drive themselves. In fact, it appears that in the near future that will be a reality.
The 26 Chevrolet had no creature comforts, like a heater, but they were a reliable, and a fast means of transportation compared to a horse and buggy. There were no super highways, but dusty rough roads back in the thirties and early forties. The horse and buggy era was ending and the car reigned supreme.
I learned to drive with dad’s 1934 Dodge, and when it was new, it would have been a pleasure to drive. But, because the steering and suspension were totally worn out, it was uncontrollable over 20 miles per hour. Although Robert’s 26 Chevy was in good condition, compared to dad’s 34 Dodge, 30 miles per hour was considered fast enough.
Dad’s 34 Dodge had a synchromesh transmission, which meant you could shift from gear to gear with ease without clashing gears. It had 4 wheel hydraulic brakes, that actually worked very well. Robert’s old 26 Chevy did not have a synchromesh transmission, and had very unreliable mechanical brakes. If Robert set up the brakes to work they drug, if he set them up so they did not drag, which is what he did, they hardly worked. To shift from gear to gear, you had to match the car’s road speed to the engine speed, otherwise the gears would clash.
There was no electric starter. It had to be started with a hand crank. To start the engine you put the transmission in neutral, after putting a rock in front of a front wheel. Then shoved up the spark and throttle levers. Pulled out the hand choke, and go to the front of the radiator, and pulled up on the hand crank, with your fingers loosely holding the crank handle. You never went over center, because if the engine backfired, and you were holding the crank handle tightly, the result would likely be a broken wrist.
One day I was driving it and hit a bump in the road, and the windshield fell out with glass everywhere. The gas tank was in front of the windshield. It had no fuel pump. It used the force of gravity to feed the engine fuel. However if you had a head-on collision having a full tank of gasoline in your face would not be good.
This was the time of the second world war and farmers could buy purple gasoline, which was the same as orange gas, but without tax.
One day I went over to a neighbor's place and noticed I was low on gasoline. I saw what I thought was purple gasoline in a gasoline drum. It turned out to be purple diesel fuel. About a quarter of a mile down the road the car was surrounded by smoke. I did manage to coax the car home where it stopped. Robert had to drain all the diesel fuel out of the fuel system to get the engine to start.
Once I learned to drive Robert’s car I really enjoyed driving it, and far preferred it to dad’s 34 Dodge.
English 210 (Sex Ed. 101}All us vocational education students at the U. of A. in Edmonton where in classes by ourselves, except English 210. In the English class, we were mixed in with so called regular university students. This was at the height of the hippy craze, so my class consisted of us retreads, as we were known, and hippies.
It should be noted that you can't put a 10 on a computer, so the best mark you could get in English 210 was a 9. I Iiked to get at least a 5.5 or better, but each time I handed a term paper my mark got lower the harder I worked. One day the professor said, "Some of you do not know what I want, so I am going to have the top three read out in class." As the first hippie got up to read her term paper, I realized what my problem was. The first day in class the prof, a hippie, said he wanted to know what we thought. I was pleased to hear that, as that was not what I found out in my other classes. Those prof's told us what to think. Unfortunately I believed the English prof. and wrote what I thought. What he actually meant was what the critics of the book we were writing a term paper on thought. That meant going to the library to see what they thought.
So the next assignment was a book called "Rape of the Lock" supposedly about a lock of hair, but in reality it was full of sex symbols. Our job was to find the sex symbols. So I went to the library and found the sex symbols. Tons of them. I handed in my term paper, and guess what I got - the top mark in the class, a 9.
Now I had a problem. I was told I had to read it out in front of the class of young girls and married women. I said, "I am not a good reader, would you please read it for me." He said," You wrote it, you read it."
So, with a totally red face, I did just as I was told to do.
It's amazing how I went from a failing grade of 4 to 9 overnight. If you think going to university for 4 years to be a vocational education teacher is necessary. It's not. What I learned at university to be a vocational teacher you could put in a thimble. However, what I learned at S.A.I.T., taking a two year course of Automotive Service Engineering was invaluable, when it came to teaching students that had consistently failed in school before being entering Shaughnessy Secondary Vocational School.
THE SNOWBALL FIGHT
The first year I was teaching at Shaughnessy, the snow was perfect for making snowballs so the students decided to have a snowball fight during the noon hour. The principal caught them. The student council had planned a dance for that afternoon, so in his wisdom or lack of wisdom, the principal cancelled the dance. My grade 8 class came into the classroom madder than a hatter. I said, "That I did not know what to tell them. They knew that it was against the school rules to have a snow ball fight. What can I tell you." Nothing happened that year as a result of the fight. However, the next fall my partner and I had a grade 9 class we could not teach, and did not know why. About the fifth week of the year we were asked to send out a report card with written comments only. I went to the assistant principal and ask him if I had to do it, because there was nothing positive I could say. He said, "Yes you have to." As I suspected, it just added fuel to the fire.
The next day I was talking to another teacher about our problem. He said, "Give this a try, it might work. You wrote comments about the students, have them write comments about you, but don't have them sign them, and read them out in front of the class." So we did just that, swear words and all. Three things came out: They did not want to be tool man. It was a do-nothing job. They thought there was too much theory...and they mentioned the principal's name. So I said, "You were here last year so you know your tools, so the only other reason for being tool man is to make sure the tools get back in the toolroom. So I will make tool man a 15-minute job at the end of the period like the other cleanup jobs." They bought it.I said, "I disagree that there is to much theory, but for this class only we will have theory once a week." They bought it. I said, "What has Mr. Duncan got to do with this?" Then they told me about the snowball fight, and that Mr. Duncan had not only cancelled the dance. He dissolved the student council, which I did not know. I said, "Do you want to talk to Mr. Duncan?" They said yes.
So I called up Mr. Duncan and told him I had a class that wanted to talk to him. He came down, and they gave it to him with both barrels. That was the fifth week of the year for the grade 9 students. We had them until the end of January. I had them write comments about us again. There was not one negative comment.
I had a grade 8 student in my class named Wes at Shaughnessy. He tended to a class disturber every time he entered the classroom. I went to see the assistant principal about his behavior. He said that Wes was in trouble all over the school, and the next time he got in trouble he would get the strap. As Wes was only going to be in my shop for one more week before moving on to the next shop, I made the decision I was not going to be the one to have him get the strap, no matter what he did. However, the next day Wes caught me off guard and did something that annoyed me. Without thinking I said: "Wes out." The next period I had a spare period, and was in the staff room when the assistant principal came to me and ask if I would witness a strapping. I said yes, not realizing it was Wes who was to get the strapping. As Wes sat across from me he did not flinch, and you could see the rage in his face. Later, I would meet Wes in the hallway going for dinner. He would say: " I hate you Mr. Rowden." I simply replied: " I know Wes." and walked on down the hallway. This happened almost weekly till the end of the school year. Wes graduated from the school the next year, However, year after year Wes would come back to the school to visit us teachers, and thank us for putting up with his nonsense. DICK & JANE - TIM & MITTEN
I remember a grade 7 class I could not teach. The first day of the class I was showing the students a cut away engine that I had put 50 numbers on for parts identification. I had pointed to and named about four items, when a student put up his hand. He said, "What is that?" I said," It is a thermostat housing, how did you know that?" He said, "I read a lot," which really surprised me, because students coming into Shaughnessy are very poor readers, and hate reading.
About a week later I had a class I could not teach for no apparent reason. This one day a student said something odd, so I wrote it on the blackboard. Pretty soon I had two blackboards full of words, when the student who said he read a lot says," I hate reading" I said, "What do you mean? You said you read a lot." He said, " I hate Dick & Jane - Tim & Mitten." I said, " Is that what you are reading in English? Is there nothing about the shops?" He said:,"No, Dick & Jane - Tim and Mitten".
So the next spare period I had I went to see the principal, Mr. Duncan. I said, "We have a problem in our English department". He said, "No we don't." I said,"Yes we do", and told him what my student had said. Principals will never admit they're wrong, but I did not care as long as they fix the problem, and I knew Mr. Duncan would.
The next morning an English teacher came into my shop and asked, "Do you have 100 words you use in the shop? Do you have any books at a grade 4 level in the shop?" I said, "Yes take the whole lot." He then went around to all 13 shops in the school collecting words. I now had a class I could teach.
I was team-teaching with Mr. Gerbrandt. We each had our own shop, but had a joint classroom, so rather than each teach the same thing, we would teach each others classes. This gave us extra time to check student's work, etc. It was my turn to teach the grade 7 students this particular day. I was teaching safety the first day of class when one of John's students stood up and put out his arm and said," Heil Hitler." So I told John he should have the student in after school and see what was going on. The student told John he had 7 fathers, and he had to sleep in the porch, otherwise his dad would beat him up, and his mother did not know if she should keep her son. And you wonder why students act out? Their parents are often worse than them.SCHOOL RULES
Shortly after the snowball fight the principal decided it was time to have a look at the school rules for the students. He was looking for volunteers to go over the rules. Normally I was not fond of volunteering, but I felt I needed to see what changes we needed to make. There were four types of rules: rules that were needed, and could be enforced; rules that made some sense, but could not be enforced; and rules that made no sense.
We eliminated all the rules that made no sense, that was easy. The rules that needed to be, and could be enforced stayed. We were left with the rules that made some sense but could not be enforced. We removed several, and the one I was interested in was: Thou shalt notsnowball! It did have some value, but was impossible to enforce, so we removed it.
There was one rule left that was in a category by itself. It was:As a student thou shalt not go in the front door of the school! The reason was that students would go out the front door and smoke on the steps, which reflected badly on the school if someone was passing by. The students at Shaughnessy felt like second class citizens, because they were bussed there from regular junior high schools, so to ask them to come in the back door would simply tell them, even more, they were second class. Therefore, we remove that rule as well.
We went from over 30 rules to about four rules.
MY WILD RIDE
Mr. Cliff, the principal at Shaughnessy came to visit my shop one day. He said that he had a noise in the left rear wheel and that he thought he might have a miss in the engine, and would one of my students repair his car. I said we would not fix his car, but I would have a grade 7 student check it out so he could take it to a garage to get it repaired.
I picked out what I thought was a good reliable student to do the job. I helped the student fix a minor problem in the left rear brake, and I went on to check other student's projects, then noticed the car was on the floor. I asked the student if he has tightened the wheel nuts, and he said he did. I said are you sure, and he said yes. I had no reason to disbelieve him.
Later that day, I went to see Mr. Cliff to tell him what we had done. He asked if I had checked for the miss in the engine. I said I had forgotten to do so, but would take the car for a test drive after school. Just across the street from the school was a four-lane divided street with no traffic.
I was driving along this street at about 30 miles per hour when the car became totally out of control. I managed to just keep it between the curb and center divider, as all the wheel nuts had fallen off one at a time. As the nuts came off, the car wheel would catch in the fender, and then release over and over. I found all the nuts and drove the car back to the school.
Had I chosen any other street I would have had a head-on accident and been killed. If I had given the keys to the principal he would have been heading north on a four-lane undivided street against rush hour traffic, and only God knows how many people would have been killed. This taught me a lesson I never forgot. Sadly, I lost my teaching career at Bowness High School several years later because I refused to put out more customer work than I was sure was safe.
Here are a few stories that I would be including in a book. Do you think there would be an interest in reading such a book if I wrote it?