That winter, I was employed along with Tony Burton to write an elementary school pageant for the coming 1967 Canadian Centennial. At Gertrude McGill's home on Mount Tolmie, the two of us put together "A Journey For Two, A Pageant Of Canada" We then got the opportunity to engage the Greater Victoria Elementary schools in presenting the pageant for a week on the stage at local high school. Tony directed and I produced. The whole thing was praised and my work was noted. Things were turning around as my wife was pregnant with our first child.
Bob Beattie and I were preparing for our Convocation at UVic. It was to be held in the Army Camp Drill Hall. Seating was limited. I had tickets for my wife Jim and Sybil. Then my wife threw a monkey wrench into the works. She demanded a ticket for her father. When, I met her she was estranged from her parents who had separated several times. We saw nothing of them from 1963-65. They had moved to Galiano Island where her father ran the store. Out of the blue, she now demanded equal rights for her Dad. It was ugly but in the end her father did not show.
The summer of 1967 was spent building a custom home on an ocean view lot in Cordova Bay. We had purchased the lot a year earlier from Roger Emery for $3800. When the home was completed, having stretched our finances to the limit, we had a towering mortgage of $26000. Times have changed. While working for a finance company prior to her pregnancy, my wife, Lynn had made friends with her workmate, Carol Gregory whose husband Brian was an English expat like me. He was a civil engineer. He assisted me with the house, in many ways. We surveyed the lot together. He laid out the septic field and I dug it by hand. He signed off on innovations that saved thousands and he employed me doing percolation tests and other duties in the engineering field for several years afterwards. Other friends helped in various ways. I thought they were all gestures of friendship. Some were. In retrospect, however, many were pressed into service by my domineering personality. Once, again I managed to sow the seeds of resentment.
My son Craig was born on September 27, 1967. I was overjoyed. The first month of his life was spent in a bassinet on the top of a dresser in our apartment on Gorge Road. Many evenings, he could be found at the new house while we finished painting the interior. in October, we finally moved in and Craig went to bed in his own room in a crib I had fully restored for him complete with a canopy. We then had a housewarming party on a plywood sheet in unfurnished living room. Guests sat on the floor. There was still so much to do inside and outside the house. But Christmas that year, I produced and painted a large Santa Claus on a hardboard sheet in my classroom after school. I fastened Santa to the house. That same Santa still appears on our home today. He was lost during the painful years that ended my first marriage. But my ex-wife finally cleaned out the past and in so doing restored Santa to us.
As 1968 dawned Lynn found herself pregnant again. I was overjoyed again believing many of the difficulties in our relationship were being put to rest. In the long run this was far from the truth. We never really learned to communicate. She had conversations with others but never with me. I wasn't listening. As usual, I was talking to myself. Fantasy prevailed. For example, being a caring husband I chose to forego all intimacy with my wife during both of her pregnancies. Throughout the spring, I threw myself into landscaping. I started with a poor man's designer concrete retaining wall. I made the forms with the help of Bob Beattie. I mixed and poured the concrete myself using only a shovel and wheelbarrow. My efforts in the yard were labour intensive and budget free. Still, fencing and screens I built then, still stand today. I loved my home. It was the first property my family had ever owned. My young son was wonderful. All was well for a time.
In a year that was marked by the assassinations of Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy. I began my Graduate Studies at UVic with an extension seminar at the University Of California Berkeley. Of course, I left my pregnant wife at home with a 10 month old child. At Berkeley, I was plunged into a world of political unrest. The Viet Nam War was raging and rebellion was in the air. Noble causes were everywhere. My eyes were opened. I was in the Land of the Hippies. I joined Students For A Democratic Society without realizing that the authorities considered that SDS was a Communist Front organization. At the end of the seminar, I returned to my provincial "backwater", Victoria and promptly took my pregnant wife and young son on a driving trip to San Francisco. The three of us travelled in a small British Sports Car. The play pen, in which Craig slept, was carried in a car top carrier. When we reached Ukiah California, I wanted to take my family to the sprint car races. She refused. In high dudgeon, I went anyway. My zealous anger was thoughtless. Still, I felt hard done by. Throughout the holiday she endured while Craig and I had a wonderful time.
In October, my second son Michael was born. He was beautiful but I was not there the night he was born. Lynn went to the hospital with her mother while my mother looked after Craig. I was at a meeting. The two boys as they grew, were to occupy bunk beds in the room where their cribs had been. Watching them grow and sharing their lives was a miracle to me. I could provide them with something I had never experienced, a real home. An added bonus was they were boys and many presents I bought them were for me as well. They were the things I had never had as a child. Listening, to my children on Christmas morning was a magical experience I will never forget. Dressed in his Doctor Denton's Mike would scout the tree. "Craig, he's been!" Then both would be off down the hall. It's memories like these that are the essence of life. Like Yeats, I could have "dwelled in that bee-cloud glade forever!"
Graduate Studies at UVic was an awakening for me. After my Berkeley experience, I read voraciously and I started to bring somewhat radical ideas and innovations into my classroom. Rows of desks gave away to pods of desks clustered and re clustered. The room took on a look more like a workshop. I became fiercely interested in the social dynamics of the group, trying to find ways to assure that everyone was part of the group. I even went so far as to have the "losers" in other classes transferred to me. Along the way, I found three mentors, John Wiens, Bill Stavdal, and Walter Muir. John was the Assistant Superintendent of the Greater Victoria School District. Bill was the Education Reporter for the local newspaper. Walter was an educational statistics prof at UVic. Walter taught me the fundamentals of rigorous research and introduced me to computer science for the first time. He also served on my Master's Committee chaired by Chris Hodgkinson. My hair was growing long and Walter nicknamed me the "Shaggy Ego"
My efforts were not always supported by the school staff in general or by the principal of the time Laurie Pimlott. The staff was social as a group but I was becoming rapidly expendable. The word among those "in the know" in the School District was "Dave Allan will never make principal!" Bob Beattie and I worked together on theatre productions. The highlight of the year was the Christmas Concert. and I took delight in writing humorous parodies of fairy tales like the Adventures of Wo Snite and the Devin Swarfs. Doc was heard to utter "Here comes the Quicked Ween! Swallow Me!" The kids loved the broad silly comedy. The place rocked.
The next year we had a seriously religious older relief teacher. Members of staff conspired. Laurie took Bob and I aside and told us we were out. This was to be a sober serious Christmas and Olive, the relief teacher, would produce and direct it. The difficulty was Olive could not get and hold kids attention. She couldn't teach and she most definitely could not lead. Staff were alarmed. Laurie was called in to see a rehearsal He was horrified. He asked me to watch. It was chaos. He asked for my help and I told him I could only do it if I had absolute authority. With that kind of control and with Bob's help I turned the whole thing around. In so doing, however, I alienated myself from most of the staff completely.
My five years were up. It was 1971. It was time to go. I was slated to go to another school as vice-principal. I went to see John Wiens. He said there was a school open for a principalship but he wondered if I'd want it. It was South Park, the oldest building (1893) in the School District. It was considered a grim environment. I jumped at it. At last, I might run my own show. He recommended me to the School Board. I was interviewed and I got the job. There was consternation in the ranks. "Dave Allan was different! Dave Allan will never be principal!" Well, Dave Allan was a principal. I had dodged another bullet.
On the home front things had changed as well. Rather than excitement, the news of my promotion received a flat response. The next morning Mike Gallo took me to breakfast and informed me that he was speaking for himself and Lynn as well when he suggested that I wouldn't be happy as a principal. He certainly didn't dissuade me. But the event brought to the surface a belief I had that Lynn was anything but faithful to me. There had been a crisis over another man during our engagement and there had been nagging but unsubstantiated incidents during our marriage. She even went so far as to tell me that I wasn't allowed to attend a celebration party for her bowling team. Still, Quid Pro Quo, I wasn't the most faithful husband and she never questioned my whereabouts to me.