I really have more hair in real life

Grade 1 pic



Hairy University days
I was born in 1951, in Granby Quebec, about an hour and a half east of Montreal. Granby is best known for its world-Famous Zoo; Jan contends that is he was born on this side of the zoo fence, though there is little evidence to prove that contention.



My father Edmund Skora was born in Poland and came to Canada via the British Eighth Army in the Second World War and then England; he adopted Canada as his homeland, and I must say was the proudest Canadian I have known.


My mother Laurence Menard was born in West Shefford, near Granby, the middle child of 12 children and spent most of her years teaching, with many of those as a principal for schools for mentally handicapped kids. They married in 1950 and separated in the late 60s. "Pops" passed away in 1984 and Mom in 2021.

I had a happy childhood , though it started a little tumultuously. When I was one year old and playing in front of the stove, a Pyrex bowl of hot ammonia (used for cleaning the floors at the time) on the stove exploded and covered me in the hot liquid. My mother quickly stripped me of my clothes, except for those on my right arm, which were stuck, and applied an ointment to sooth the skin. I was therefore able to recount stories of my “war wounds” due to those distinguishing burn scars on my right arm.  

I started school early and skipped a grade along the way so that I graduated from High School (grade 13 at the time) at  17 years old, a couple of years younger than my fellow students. I was pretty quiet in those years, shy, and let others do most of the talking - Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and to remove all doubt.  In fact, when I left elementary school, my principal misjudged my aptitudes (that’s my story and I’m sticking to it!!) and suggested that I should follow the 2-year horticultural stream in high school and find work as a gardener. Oh to have been surrounded by plants and trees instead of engineers all those years!!

Politics did not really interest me until Pierre Elliot Trudeau, a little-known professor and rich kid world-traveller was convinced to run in a federal election in 1965 and became Prime Minister in 1968. He was so different, talking about human rights, the Just Society, participatory democracy and had a style about him that created TrudeauMania for every young person at the time. We were influenced by the 1960s counterculture and identified with Trudeau, an energetic nonconformist who was relatively young. He  dazzled us with his "charm and good looks", and a large fan base was established throughout the country. He would often be stopped in the streets for his autograph or for photographs.

I had not been on a plane until I was 21 years old, at which point I flew for the first time to Toronto for a job interview (no, didn’t get it). My summer jobs when I was in university took me away from Ottawa and thankfully showed me parts of Canada, of which I had no clue. First to Chalk River, two hours away from Ottawa and then the small town of Pinawa, near Winnipeg, Manitoba with travel across Saskatchewan and Alberta.  

It is 2021 as I write this, and I must say I have been extremely lucky in life so far. Nothing but good luck has come my way and it has been an easy ride. Don't know why I deserve it but will not look a gift horse in the mouth (or anywhere else). And yes, I believe that the best is yet to come (before the onset of the aches, the pains, the drooling, the diseases, the diapers, the dementia, etc.) – for which fortunately my daughter Krista has said she would take care of me - more good luck - or should that be Good Luck with that?! ;-)