Wednesday, April 6, 2011


When I was in grade 12 my mother wrote to her father and her twin sister about me. It wouldn't have been easy for her to write a letter like she did. She told them both that my marks were good and that I would be a good student at University. She asked them for financial help as she and my dad did not have the ability to help. My grandfather and my aunt responded with enough money to augment my summer earnings and the amount my family could provide. After the the first three years I was able to finish paying for my my medical degree classes more or less on my own. My mother was willing to risk her esteem for my sake! There was no other option for her. Later, in the same year that she wrote the letter, when I was still in Grade 12, I met my aunt in Winnipeg at a family gathering. She was a family doctor who practiced medicine and lived with a wealthy husband in Connecticut. I was glad to see her and take the opportunity to thank both her and my grandfather. When you live, as we did in a small town,and your dad is the station master, he may not make much money, but no one else in the town did either so you still are a family that rates. As my friend Ian says, "When we were growing up we didn't have much, but we didn't know there was much!" I felt poor for the first time in my life. We may have struggled, but in the society that was ours, we were never poor. Poverty is often relative!

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