2: FAMILY HOLIDAYSS
3: NEW YORK CITY
4: SUMMER ARMY
5: NASSAU AND JAMAICA
6: RULE BRITANNIA
8: THE SUMMERS OF '67 AND '68
10: THE NETHERLANDS
11: BACK TO GERMANY
12: FINAL YEAR IN DENTAL
13: THE SHORT HAIRED PART OF THE STORY
14: BACK TO MONTREAL
15: THE ROAD TO CYPRUS
16 CYPRUS / UN PEACEKEEPING
17: SIDE TRIPS FROM
18: CYPRUS WIND DOWN
21: ROAD HOME FROM CYPRUS
22: MEXICO Y ESPANA
23: AIRBORNE PARATROOPER
25:MOROCCO AND PARIS
26: THE END OF THE
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SUMMER OF '67 / '68
In 1967 I had a very enlightening time. First a bit of an emotional start. I had been dating a gal for 5 or 6 years. It was at best tumultuous as she had an alcoholic father. He was actually a pretty nice fellow; but, as in any addiction the family are the ones who suffer. As such , I was often at her house to make sure she could study in quiet. I helped get her through High School and I helped in her application to Nursing school in Montréal. She was in fact, smarter than she realized; but , a lot of confidence had been beaten down by family turmoil. Later in life my mother told me that the girl's mother had often called her saying we should not be dating as we were different religions. She was United Church of Canada, I was Catholic. In those days a marriage of people from two religions was called a "Mixed marriage". Most thought nothing of it; but , those that felt this way were vehement in their objections. So no doubt she had to endure a lot of grief at home.
I was encouraging through her nursing school years but the union was not going well. At the end of my third year exams she showed me the curb, as it were . It was a tough time, as basically she had been the only serious union I had ever had. And to make it a bit tougher my social skills were a tad basic. Mind you in my travels these seemed to increase and improve . As I have stated, I do not intend this tome to be a ":What I stud I was " so I won't get into that aspect of travels ..sorry for the pervs out there who expected more :).
We had a Spring clinic at the end of our third year exams . Our dental clinic was at the Montreal General hospital. Our first day was a familiarization tour. At lunch in the cafeteria, a revelation occurred..."Gad ! The Montreal General Hospital had a nursing school with some 200 lovely young ladies. I all but fell to my knees in thanks :) The two years at the Clinic were in fact very exciting as I met some wonderful people, some of whom I still contact. The clinic was very formative on my professional practice life. The professors and demonstrators were exemplary and my close classmates were a source of inspiration. As a health care professional I can look back on a satisfying career that had its' roots in the McGill Dental School clinic.
After the summer clinic , military summer training was at Canadian Forces Base Borden, then called Camp Borden. It was at the Royal Canadian Dental Corps School. We were doing clinical training on "real" patients under the supervision of excellent dentists. I was later transferred to Borden for two postings where I also attended several professional courses . It was a broadening experience and really gave dentists ,who were being subsidized in the Military, a heads up compared to what our classmates experienced. The previous summer I had met several of my Dental confreres in basic training; but, we were not in dental platoons. We were distributed throughout the two companies in basic training. This summer dental students from six Dental faculties were together. I found that we all had a high level of scholastic training and it would be foolish to say one school was better than another. We also had a great social life. This was encouraged by our senior officers. After one particularly spirited evening at the Officers' mess there had been some complaints about a few broken glasses. It seems we had come to the conclusion that "cross contamination" could occur from improperly cleaned shot glasses....Right :) So we would toss them into the fire place after a drink. Seemed logical at the time, accompanied by much mirth. That weekend I had some big social plans and I figured we might lose a weekend for our previous evening frolics. Our training officer came in that morning and said "Hey we were wondering when you guys were going to show some spirit ? " The School Commandant followed and said , "As long as it is in fun, no one is hurt mentally or physically enjoy it; but, that will cost you $ 5 each " It set a tone for my attitude in the Forces. Work hard and play hard and in as someone said in basic training , "The lowest thing you can be is a buddy fucker". Sage words ; but, sadly I found out about some intense back stabbing as the years went by. I think being a foot loose and fancy free bachelor bothered some people. And some who did some heavy back stabbing were in fact wandering a bit. Their business but hypocrisy bothers me intensely .
The summer of 1967 started on a mixed footing for me. As I explained I was shown the curb unceremoniously; but, in short order I found this to be an immense blessing in disguise. In April of 1967 EXPO '67 opened. It was perhaps, the best World's Fair ever. With the advent of high tech and instant and world wide communications, the concept of a World's Fair may have passed. But this summer was an amazing venue for my curiosity and growth. I still recall April 27, the day the fair opened. Some 350,000 people attended the opening day where less than 200,000 had been anticipated. There were some 64 nations at the Fair. There were also some interesting pubs and restaurants that featured items from the nations . One was a German Haufbrau Haus.The beer at teh Haufbrau Haus was what was then an exorbitant $1 a bottle :) . The news make the papers and the managers were quick to report that the beer was in fact in 1 liter bottles , larger than our pints. All was well in the world :) There was also a great British pub where they served Brit beers, which I would become familiar with the following summer on my trip to the UK. My first pavilion visit was to a small one, the Ethiopian Pavilion. As I entered a man came up and in a warm smiling way said, "Welcome to Ethiopia" Wow what a start to EXPO for me. He showed me around and asked me to try their great coffee. Years later in Addis Ababa I would again enjoy this treat.
As a newly minted single lad I began to notice the many beauties out there :) As I said my pick up lines were weak but it was fun to try. Expo had many positive assets. I attended EXPO 67 close to 60 times and I visited all pavilions at least twice. Several were of particular interest. The Ontario pavilion had a fantastic film called , 'A Place To Stand'. The latest in multi image technology was in play . I also figured how to sneak in, I passed people exiting and I pretended to have forgotten something inside, I would would slip into a washroom then I and join in when the new crowd came in... France had a great laser display, one was a powerful looking affair that could melt steel, a portent of things to come. Japan had a room sized computer that could translate Japanese to English and French and it played a "voice" back with the translation . Now i-PODS can do this. It was a start and all new to us. I also tried my first push button phone. I called my mother from the site and told her of the wonders I was seeing and I explained the push button versus dial phone. Alexander Graham Bell culd not have been more excited .
The Russian Pavilion was interesting as the cold war was very active. On one occasion we were speaking to a Russian guide when a cute gal wandered by and his head did a 180 degree turn . I said, "Hey you guys are just like us" To smiles all around. The Czechs had an interesting display where actors on stage interacted with the film on screen. Two of the actors defected and opened a successful artistic candle shop in Old Montréal.
One one occasion I was wandering about with a undergraduate classmate who had spent two years on University Service overseas in Trinidad. I found out later that he had earned a great reputation as a Calypso singer. He introduced me to the wonderful sounds of the steel drums. I had heard of them but seeing them in person was a musical adventure. They are crafted from old oil drums, the tops are shaped to replay notes in a musically accurate fashion. Bob had the lingo down and when he approached a drum player he said "You pan sweet mon" Again a broadening experience as I always sought out local music in my travels.
My parents said they could put 4 or 5 of my training mates up if any wanted to come to Montreal. We did this on several occasions and the lads enjoyed the experience. Montreal has always been advanced as far as night life is concerned. The lads were particularly surprised that one could wander about with a beer in hand while in a pub. They also liked the 3 AM closing hours compared to the last call at 11PM in Ontario :) I think Expo changed Canada a lot in that tight and restrictive and in fact meaningless laws were dropped .
I also got to see so great talent at Expo. One thrill was "The Seekers" from Australia. Their lead singer Judith Durham has a superb voice. They were from Melbourne. As I have mentioned my parents spoke highly of Australians due to their RCAF involvement. As well I was in a correspondence with Tony M in Australia, a pan pal I later met in '73 in Melbourne and who visited here in '08. We now Skype regularly...great guy :). So seeing The Seekers was a memorable concert. I also saw Canadian Legend, Gordon Lightfoot. He was on a stage near the Canada pavilion among some tall pine trees. It could not have been better for his style of folk music. I saw many shows at various pavilions, that reflected the music of various countries. This was another goal for me to achieve. Take in music as I traveled :)
All in all EXPO '67 was just what I needed. It helped to reduce the effects of the end of a relationship, and it was an incentive to travel.
SUMMER OF '68
After an emotional and enlightening visit to the UK and Ireland as I have described in another chapter, I was more than ready for my third summer of training at the Royal Canadian Dental Corps School. It was called “Phase three” training and it was held at Camp Borden, later to be known as Canadian Forces Base Borden. Borden is located north of Toronto, near Barrie Ontario. This aspect of my life is again a part of the “short haired” section of the title of this e-WEB book . It was a busy summer, we spent time on the clinic floor under the tutelage of excellent dental officers , Majors Taylor, Donnelly and Sills, who oversaw and supervised our clinical treatment of patients. It was an excellent hands up the ladder for us, as we would return to our Universities with additional skills and training for our final year of Dental school.
As well as clinical training in Borden we spent a week in “the field” at the Armoured Corps Base in Meaford about 100 km away on Lake Huron. The clinical learning was augmented by the fact that we were in a “field” military setting. It was a new dimension to dental treatment in that we were treating patients in portable clinics. These were in fact the back of 2 ½ ton trucks that were set up as dental clinics. During our week in Meaford we experienced what it was like to drive in a tank. With a bit of a hang over we went on a "tank" demonstration ride one morning. I was fortunate enough to “have control” of one of the huge machines. It was interesting veering into the woods and seeing and hearing trees scattering. They are in fact impressive and no doubt scary sites if one is in battle. We were given a demonstration of how several tanks in the woods can be deceptively hidden. The training officer radio'd to them and the three tanks took turns revving and running about in the woods. He told us how the sound was hard to isolate and one never knew if it was one tank or several, nor where they were. Very impressive. I also ran a few 10 km runs along the gravel roads. I am not a "distance" runner but it was a nice work out. The base was built on several farm sites that were seconded to Military training. It covers 68 Sq. Km. and was opened in 1942. On a few of our "excursions" we came across some old farms. I am an antique collector so I spent a bit of time looking about, mindful of possible unexploded shells. But , I didn't hit the jackpot; but, it was somewhat exciting to wander about old farm houses and try to visualize teh people who have lived there for decades before it became a military site.
When we got back to Borden we prepared for a week in Washington DC . We were flown down on a Buffalo transport aircraft. Not all my phase mates were exactly thrilled at a plane that taxied about before take off with the back ramp open. A few years later I was to take Paratrooper training and my first jumps were out of the back of such a plane. I loved it J
Out trip to Washington was my first encounter with VIP treatment. We were treated as welcome guests by our hosts in the U.S. Navy and U.S. Army Dental branches.. We toured Walter Reid Army Medical Hospital and Bethesda Naval Hospital. Gen Shira of the US Army Dental Corps spoke with us, he was their Commander as well as being a renowned Oral surgeon, as well Col Bashkar, a renowned periodontist ( gum specialist) spoke with us. Col Bashkar went on to become commander of the US Army Dental corps. He continued to lecture to civilian dental groups after his retirement. Both senior officers spoke to us and not at us. This really was a nice introduction to the mutual respect fellow military dentists can have for each other. At both facilities and later at the National Institute of Health we were introduced to the latest technology in dentistry. It was an educational experience and one that made us enthused about the careers that lay ahead.
We also had an opportunity to see many of DC’s historic and architectural sites. The Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument were the most impressive from a grandeur point of view. But, visiting the White House may have been the highlight of our tour. Sadly when one looks back from our post 9/11 viewpoint one can really appreciate the fact that it was possible for tourists to casually visit the White House. We had a tour, along with other groups who had reserved time. The White House of course carries an immense historical significance which was not lost on us.
The Lincoln Memorial, the Washington Monument and the Smithsonian were all on our agenda. It was really an interest packed tour. As well we visited Arlington Cemetery and visited the Tomb of John Kennedy. He was a man who influenced a lot of our generation with his charismatic style.
This was 1968 and there was unfortunately a noticeable chill in the air due to then current racial conflicts in the US. So were told to not venture from the hotel at night unless we were driven in a taxi or with someone we knew. I picked up a case of Canadian Beer at the Embassy and took a bus across town to visit some people I knew from Montreal. The sister of my former girlfriend had married an American. When I got to their home they took special care to warn me never to do that. Considering the various ventures I encountered, in future travels I will share , I guess I was just getting off on the right or wrong foot, depending on how one sees it. St Pesmo the Bewildered, the patron Saint of teh Naive Traveller was again a companion.
As a group of 22 young lads in their early 20's, this was also a time for some levity, as it were . A visit to the Canadian Embassy introduced us to the world of Duty Free ( Where I got my Canadian beer plus some libations for myself). So the occasional rollicking evening was de rigueur :). Our hotel's air conditioning system was down so we would come back after a warm day in full uniform to a hot room. A nice shower was the standard procedure. One fellow decided to have a bath...to to help him cool off I filled a waste basket with ice and went in and dumped it on him. He chased me down the hall naked just as the house security man came by. I yelled, "this gay guy is after me stop him". Now as I have said, I have nothing against gay people this was just a funny remark one might make when chased by a naked man. If you are into fun and games this will bring a smile, if you are serious " How boring" so be it :). Sadly some of the back stabbers loved to take this sort of thing and run with it.
Some people we met told us about the Wolf Trap Ravine . It was a beautiful outdoor venue. The night we went the main act was Sergio Mendes and Brazil 66. Boy, the “Boy from Ipanema “ was on cue for sure. It was my first live concert with a Latino group. As my travels progressed my tastes in music grew, which alone was a wonderful discovery. The opening act was someone I had never heard of, Jose Feliciano. He is from Puerto Rico and plays a soulful guitar with matching vocal skills. And good things come in two's I guess, as he too was Latino in style, Spanish from P.R. This concert was a first in some many ways, out doors, Latino music, and in a foreign country. In my strange way of juxtaposing events this added up to a multidimensional evening.
Despite the limitations of wandering about at night, or even going far astray in the day time, the trip to DC had many aspects which I enjoyed. Even the racial tensions were a learning experience. Coming from a background that was outside the sphere of the racial tensions, it perhaps opened some empathy for “differences” which I would encounter in future travels. To their great credit the US has advanced a lot in this area. Compared to KKK billboards from my first trip to the US south things have changed.
The summer ended on a positive note, which seems to be a trend . We had a wonderful Warrant Officer (WO) in charge of our graduation parade. W.O. Crump (real name) was with the Canadian Guards Regiment. He took particular pride in ensuring that we were “well turned out” for our parade. Daily practices for a little over a week got us ready for the graduation parade. The night before our final practice I got my fellow Dental Officers interested in playing a little prank on W.O. Crump. We spent over an hour rehearsing “wrong” moves for the next day’s practice. When a platoon is brought to “Attention” the left leg is brought to the right leg and an “attention” stance is taken. We rehearsed the right leg move. A right turn was called out as a left turn and when we “marched” off the call was “By the left quick march” which meant that the left leg moved first and the march continued. In this venue we reversed it and the call was “By the right quick march”. The next morning at our practice we went through the “drill” and after a few seconds W.O. Crump realized he was being taken , or at least that is what we thought. He enjoyed the efforts we had made and it was actually a warm moment. One would have to have military experience to appreciate this but as with any good natured fun it was well received by all. The day of our parade W.O. Crump came to wish us good luck, we presented him with a nice bottle of Scotch and he was visibly moved. Great moment.
This ended our summer training in the Royal Canadian Dental Corps School. The summers had been formative in many ways. One thing I always recall was that we were encouraged to be Officers first and Dentists second. This meant we placed the Corps and our subordinates in high regard. Later in life this came to fruition and was a life changing asset. Later sadly I also encountered some officers who put self and career first which was disheartening at times.
I had spoken to my phase mates a lot about my cheap trip to Europe. I had also made plans to travel on standby to Germany for 4 weeks , after our training. I must be a good salesman as 6 or 7 others did the same thing.
THIRD PHASE TRAINING '68