--- Marriage... Career and Education---

Well, in September 1962 I found myself at Craigflower Elementary as First Assistant where the principal, Bill Chater unwelcomed me. He demoted me by giving me a Grade 4-5 class while telling me he didn't want me. He hadn't asked for me and that I was foisted off on him by the District Superintendent, John Gough. He had lobbied to have Brian Wile, his favourite staff member assume the position. In fact, Bill enrolled Division 1, Brian enrolled Division 2 and I was relegated to Division 3. I was to be married in December and my relationship with my fiance was troubled and dysfunctional. Every day when the class got the least bit noisy Bill Chater would be in an open doorway glaring at me, hardly an auspicious beginning.

The school was over crowded and on shift. I got to keep coaching duties and started a house system because Brian's class was on shift and he was not available during regular school hours. I was determined to continue with a theatre program. The only problem was it had to be conducted out of a church hall more than 2 miles away. The parents helped as did the church auxiliary and we produced Nicholas Stuart Grey's "Tinder Box". The haunting hollow tree we built on site. The play was a success.

As 1963 dawned, I was newly married, attending UVic at night, and attempting to prepare a super modified race car that Geoff had purchased from Billy Foster to compete in a travelling circuit called CAMRA (Canadian American Modified Racing Association). Only 2 races would be at Western Speedway. I had briefly travelled the West Coast circuits as a single man usually after Summer School finished. A notable experience for me was sweeping the floor at Exhaust Specialties in Portland Oregon as Grant King helped construct Rolla Vollstedt's rear- engined Offenhauser Indy Car. Back with the Vantreight car in the summer of 1963, a real change took place. The car travelled and I was left at home.

Before summer I received a personal and professional shock when I discovered that Bill Chater was planning to replace me with Brian Wile for the 1963-64 school year. I found out when Dave Christian who had been at Gordon Head with me explained that his principal, as directed by the District Superintendent, discussed the coming year with him. Well, I had no such discussion with Bill. Angered, I confronted him. I told him I was being victimized by him. He took time to think it over and to his credit, he agreed with me and reinstated me for the coming year.

"To fully enter the real world I had to develop determination and build my own skills and knowledge in a decidedly unfriendly setting no matter where I went or what I did.
I'm not complaining just observing that my world view was severely buggered. I had to learn on the job by myself.
Jim and Sybil had already been condemned by society and it left Sybil bitter and angry to the end."

At the fledgling UVic that Summer, I had another catharsis. I was cruising towards my degree when I encountered a roadblock, Larry Bakke. There I was, exerting, minimal effort, remarkably like high school, rendering crude landscapes, reminiscent of the Group Of Seven. Looking to get Bakke on my side I pressed him to comment on a painting of mine, He asked me to tell him what I would like him to say about the painting and he would say it. Annoyed, I told him I wanted his honest opinion. He then told me that I should scrape the painting off the canvas because it made him sick. I was soon so frustrated and sick at heart that I contemplated quitting. I threw the painting I was working on into the trunk of my sports car. The trunk wouldn't close completely. When I reached home the painting was gone. I bought a bottle of gin and got drunk.

--- Catharsis---

That evening, I lost it. I could not bear the thought of failure. My internal tenacity took over. Fueled by more gin. I took every painting I had done plus the book purchased for collages and went to work. Nothing was precious. I tore into it throwing caution to the wind. I saw things on paper and canvas I'd never seen before. It was a focussed marathon. When I finished, I bundled everything together, went to the university and dumped it in front of Bakke. To my surprise, he loved it. Years later, I realized that he had challenged me to reach. In a very real sense he had liberated me.

I was planning to go on a holiday with my wife when out of nowhere Geoff Vantreight showed up and told me that I was needed to help repair the race car that had crashed at Salt Lake City. I threw off the traces and went on my holiday. When, I later hooked up with the crew. I realized I was decidedly unwelcome. I had friends in the racing community but Geoff was never one of them. He always saw himself as the benefactor. I never did.

Back at Craigflower in September, I received an opportunity that kept me close to Bill Chater for the rest of his life. In a school district reorganization, Grade 7 students were kept in the elementary schools. A week into the school year, Bill Chater approached me. He was having trouble with the sevens. He wondered if I felt I could handle them. I jumped at the chance and overnight I moved up to Division 1. It was a difficult group but I empathized with the "losers". I was one of them. They were my people. I stood up for them and they knew it.

That November, John Kennedy was assassinated and it shocked the world. As Bob Dylan noted: "The times they are a changing!" and in the backwater of Victoria BC, I was beginning to notice it. My world view was shifting.

Still, I was ill-prepared for marriage. When out with friends, I discovered that many married men maintained a single status and were unfaithful. Womanizing was rampant. The prevailing viewpoint was; women were chattel and they were lucky to have us. Also, you were expected to pose a very real threat to any male who approached your wife. Still, it was okay to cuckold others. I liked women. So, I joined the club.

With regard to marriage, my knowledge base was an anachronistic desert and my wife got to live in it. She suffered from depression and periods of almost catatonic withdrawal. My behaviour was selfish and thoughtless. It did little to build empathy between us. Because I had often served as mediator and peace-maker with my parents, I had the belief that I could fix my marriage whenever I got around to it. The coming years would prove how wrong I was.