Several times in my life I moved to start all over again. Back in 1993 after my marriage of twenty-three years was clearly over and my mother in BC had been diagnosed with fifth stage melanoma and given only a five percent chance of surviving more than a few months I decided to move to BC to be with her during her remaining time. Our last matrimonial home had been sold and my parents and I had driven my van down from BC to Brampton to get rid of everything left in the house. Despite the fact that my wife had always agreed that it would be fifty/fifty if we ever split up that soon changed. She had rented an apartment for her and our daughter so she wanted pretty well everything out of the house for the apartment. I had a lifetime loathing for lawyers for good reason so I always said that we would never resort to lawyers if we split. By my accounting she got about ninety-five percent of everything we had, most of which was from my hard work over the years with zero help from her. I wasn’t planning on taking any of the furniture all the way to BC anyway so she got all that. Two things that really peeved me were that she wanted all the Rosemond prints that I had carefully collected during our marriage plus she wanted the thirty-five Charlie Brown books that I had also collected, not one of which she had ever opened a page on. As annoyed as I was it wasn’t worth a legal fight so I let her have them.

Flash forward to 2007 and the disaster that was my renovation in what was Westbank at the time. My doctor was very clear in telling me that I had to get out from under all the stress I was dealing with and I had decided to move to Panama. I sold off thousands of dollars worth of stuff, mostly all of my very expensive tools, but also some things like furniture, dishes, small appliances and pots and pans. I still had a lot of personal stuff left, actually five large storage bins worth and I left these with my buddy Wade to ship to me when I got settled in Panama. He had moved them to his mother’s ranch and when she was away her place had been broken into and everything, including my bins, had been stolen. Among my prized possessions were two framed prints of those you get done where you dress up like the old West, one with my parents and brother and sister, and one with my wife and kids. They were both awesome and irreplaceable. The other thing was a large (about three feet by a foot) framed print of both my kids when they were young that Tracy had given me as a gift back in 2000 and it read “a father holds his children’s hands for a while, but their hearts forever.” Again, irreplaceable.

After I was forced to return to Canada I eventually moved to London, Ontario and started building up possessions all over again. Over the years there I went from things I had got through welfare to having my own decent furniture, a big screen TV, a nice bike along with some biking equipment, a great car (yet another Honda), appliances and so on. When I planned to move to Ecuador I donated a lot of clothes to Value Village but I also managed to sell a lot on Kijiji. Again I was left with a lot of things, like tools and my bike that I didn’t sell. A friend at the time offered to sell everything for a commission so he took several bins of stuff. Over the next few months while I was in Ecuador he sold a lot, including my bike, but never paid me a cent. I only found out what he sold from people who wanted to buy whatever it was. He refused to answer my many emails and let me know what was going on. Eventually he stopped responding to people who wanted to buy stuff. Just a total crook and at a time that I was desperate for money in Ecuador.

When I was forced to return to Canada, again, I had to sell everything I had acquired during my time in Ecuador. I had a number of small appliances, like a coffee maker and toaster, a really nice large screen SONY 39″ monitor, an EPSON printer I hadn’t even used and a bunch of dishes and pots and pans. I sold a lot of it for decent money but got nothing for things like my Logitech wireless keyboard that I paid a hundred dollars for and my brand new leather cowboy boots that I paid three hundred dollars for and never even worn because of my foot problems. I gave Patricia at least a hundred dollars worth of food and things I had left. She also managed to score my cooler bag that I had used to carry my insulin to Ecuador.

The point of my post is to do whatever you can to protect the things that are irreplaceable. I had every opportunity to scan the two old West photos so I could have reprinted and framed them again. Both photos were very special because my parents are both gone now and I have no relationship with my brother or sister, plus obviously I am no longer married and my children have decided to have nothing to do with me so there won’t be any more photos. I might also say that back in the day we didn’t have smart phones or digital cameras for photos and video, so we took pictures. In my younger days I never realized how important photos of my kids would be now that I’m older or even video of my son in his hockey years before he gave it up. My ex got all the photos when we split so today I have nothing. I did scan and post a few photos that I had, but not nearly enough for the twenty-three years that we were together. I would encourage everyone to take as many photos and video as you can. Someday you will treasure the memories, believe me.

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