Day 325 - Lloyd (3rd person I approached)
November 21, 2014 - It was gloomy, grey and extremely wet outside, today. Well suited for staying indoors, or seeking refuge from the dampness, in shopping malls. Lloyd was sitting reading a book when I spotted him. When I explained to him what I’m doing, he hesitated just long enough, that I thought he was going to say that he didn't want to chat with me.
“Sure,” he said, “as long as it doesn’t take too long.”
Lloyd was born and raised in Port Arthur before it amalgamated with Fort William to become Thunder Bay, in Ontario. He is the oldest of four children, with a brother and two sisters.
“My youngest sister was born when I was fourteen. I definitely did my share of babysitting to help out. I left home when I was nineteen, and my only regret is that I missed maintaining a closer relationship with my youngest sister. I would only see her at holidays or family gatherings. Fortunately, as we both got older, we’ve become good friends,” he said.
Lloyd went to what, at the time, was called a ‘separate’ school, which taught a curriculum influenced by the Catholic religion.
“I wasn’t raised in a Catholic home. My mother was Catholic and her mother was also Catholic. My grandmother was half Ojibwe First Nation, and grew up on a reserve in Ontario. She went to a residential school, but never spoke of her upbringing. They wanted me to go to a Catholic school. The nuns and sisters were very good at teaching reading, writing, and arithmetic. As soon as I could though, in grade eight, I left and went to a non-Catholic high-school,” he told me.
“I did well in school. As well as one can in a school setting. The things that were of interest and useful to me, I learned on the side. I was academic and read a lot. But I also played basketball throughout my school years. I intended to go on playing while in university,” he said.
“My first real teacher was Colin Wilson, the author. The first book of his that I read was ‘Introduction to the New Existentialism.’ I didn’t understand a single word, but it was the start of my own learning,” Lloyd said. He went to university right after high-school, with the intention of pursing a degree in psychology.
“I did my first year in general survey, then started psychology and ended up studying literature,” he said.
After graduating from university, Lloyd went to work for Canada Post. I mentioned that many years ago I used to work for Canada Post and worked with a man from Thunder Bay. As far as Lloyd and I could recollect details, we may both have known the same guy named Mike.
“I was the first long-haired mailman,” he said. Lloyd still has long hair, pulled back and tied in a pony tail with a long, deep purple scarf-like tie.
“I worked at the post office for a couple of years. I had a terrific motorcycle accident and I spent two years recovering from that,” he said. Lloyd hit a car while going about 65kmph, landed on his left hip, rolled and broke his ankle.
“When you’re on a motorcycle and hit something when you’re going 40mph, (65km) you fall off and continue going that speed. I couldn’t work. I was in a cast and then on crutches for a long time,” he said.
After his long recuperation, Lloyd changed direction, getting a job working as an income tax assessor.
“I did that for a while. I met a lady through work that I became romantically involved with, and moved to Ottawa to be with her. I would still go back to Thunder Bay in the summer and work for the post office,” he told me. He changed jobs again, working toward becoming a Registered Investments Advisor (RIA).
“My partner was working on her Master’s degree, and the plan was to relocate. She was offered a position at Lethbridge University. I wasn’t really enjoying the office work environment. I need to be outdoors. We got a good deal on an old, used car that had had a can of paint spilled on it, and drove out to Alberta,” he said, laughing.
“We didn’t like the look of Alberta as we drove through,” Lloyd told me. They spent a few months in Edmonton, before moving further west to Vancouver.
“We drove into Kitsilano (neighbourhood in Vancouver) and found a community notice board. We saw a vacancy for a place on Galiano Island on the sunshine coast, and decided to go for it,” he said.
“I knew some people here in Vancouver and on Galiano Island,days at the from the post office. A woman I knew was building a house there, and she needed a carpenter. I had always wanted to learn to build things, and she gave me a job. That was the first house I worked on,” he said. Lloyd went on to become a sought after carpenter, moving to Vancouver a few years later.
“I started my own company doing renovations. All the work I've done, has come through word of mouth. I’ve never had to advertise. When I started, I only did jobs on the west side of Vancouver. Over the years, the residential neighbourhoods have changed. I’ve worked jobs that are getting further and further east,” he said.
Lloyd has evolved professionally, yet again.
“I got a job working as a handyman for an organization that looks after cooperative housing and seniors care homes. Now I oversee the work. I don’t have to get my hands dirty anymore, and I’m able to work four days a week,” he said, smiling. He has a grown daughter who is moving back to Vancouver in January after spending eighteen years in Toronto.
“She’s been working with first nations youth and kids, in a support and learning environment. I’m so proud of her. She’s really embraced her First Nations heritage. I’m looking forward to spending time with her.” #notastranger