History, Pre-Me

In those old theatrical playsheets and in old silent films, they often showed the cast of characters up front, before the first scene of the story began. I figured maybe I could do that here too, to give you a little background before you dive into all my stories.

In no particular order, here are some of the main characters I’m writing about. These were real people from my family.

Ernest John Love
Me. A mix, a mutt, a Canadian amalgam of all the heritage and influences mentioned below.

Kimberley Anne Love
My dear little sister, Kim. The things I write here about her are based on my own memories, not hers. Her life story is her own to tell, not mine (although she knows that if she ever wanted to write something about her life, memories, or feelings, I’d be happy to help).

James Evan Love
My Dad, Jim, was born in Prince Rupert, BC in October of 1921. He was the second of five kids; three brothers, Bruce, Eric, and Charles, and the youngest, his sister Patricia. Their parents were Albert Bruce Love and Margaret McCallum Owens. Albert Bruce had come out from Prince Edward Island with his brothers in about 1903, and a number of them worked in the town power or telephone company. Dad’s Mother, Margaret, was born in Northumberland, UK (near or related to Newcastle, perhaps?). She was a tireless parent and homemaker, devoted to her family and to her own siblings, who would live with her in the new country.

My Dad left high school after grade 10, hoping to be a journalist one day. He worked as a welder, truck driver, and stable hand, and entered the Army near the end of WWII, where he became a marksman and a Military Policeman. After that, he was a Fireman in Victoria, and had at least one terrible story to tell from it. He entered the Air Force in the 50s, where he got his “college” education, learning tons of math, radio communications, and electronics. After that, he worked as a Chief Engineer in TV and radio and finished his career as an RF Engineer and Electronics Technician at the TRIUMF research facility at UBC. He seemed defined by his work, his intelligence. He’d had many jobs and an endless supply of stories.

Those are the definitely the highlights. That’s the story he’d have liked me to tell about him. He came from a proud, hard working, blue collar family of mostly English and Scottish descent. He didn’t trust salesmen or politicians, and deeply resented his landlord. Dad was proud and convinced he was usually the smartest man in the room.

A lot of my interest in the primacy of science and technology was due to him. He never doubted science, engineering, and physics. He had no patience for metaphysics, philosophy, or faith-based beliefs.

He could also be the most complex or contradictory person. I loved him, I respected him, and I feared him. He did damage, and that may come out more as you read more about him.

Angela Huntley Love (nee Clarke)
My mother, Angela, was born in Victoria, BC in June of 1931. She was the only child of Edna Usula Marks, and Ernest Huntley Clarke (from whom I got my first name). Angela and her family moved a lot in her first 17 years, living in Victoria, Prince Rupert, Vanderhoof, Cloverdale, and Esquimalt, where she finished high school. Her friends described her as the most popular and beautiful girl in school. After high school, she and her parents moved back to Victoria, where her Dad Ernest lived on Cook Street for the rest of his life.

Angela was known for her life-long love of music, singing, and theatre. She was very beautiful, resembling Vivian Leigh and Judy Garland. She sang as Alto-Soprano, played the piano and violin, and was a cast member in the Victoria Gilbert and Sullivan Society, playing in many amateur theatre productions like “The Mikado” and “HMS Pinafore”. Angela was shy on her own, but loved music, and would blossom into laughter with a silly joke or the prodding of a friend. I think her high school days in Esquimalt, and her theatre work in Victoria might have been the high points of her life.

Angela had a happy, silly, playful side, doodling little cartoons or reciting something from Popeye the Sailor. She also had a sad, insecure, and bipolar side, and would tend to self-medicate with alcohol from her teens onward. She’d been engaged once or maybe twice before meeting my father at CHEK TV where they both worked. As she grew older, depression occurred more often, and she really struggled. By the age of 46, she became deeply depressed and tried to drink herself to death, resulting in permanent brain damage and various full-time hospitalizations for the rest of her life.

Ernest Huntley Clarke
I loved and looked up to my Dad as a kid, but it was my Mother’s Dad, Ernest, whom I truly put on a pedestal. As far as I knew, “Poppy” (our name for him) behaved the way I thought grown-ups were supposed to behave: with dignity, humor, peacefulness, and real integrity. He was wise, caring, and reliable. In the brief couple of years that our family lived with him late in his life, I loved and idealized Poppy more than any other man. I still do.

Edna Usula Marks
Edna was my mother’s mother, who insisted that we call her anything but Grandma. It made her feel old, so she said “Call me anything. Call me Sam!” and so to my sister Kim and me, she absolutely became “Sam”.

She was, in my memory, a cold, quiet person, who might occasionally be sweet or funny to me as a little boy. Sam absolutely cherished my little sister Kimberley though, like a rare doll, but seemed to not know how to interact with me at all.