“Twas a cool and foggy morning on that March 28th day in the year of our Lord, one thousand nine hundred and twenty-four; as the family boarded that immense looking ship (The Montcalm) bound for Canada, which was now going to be their new home.
Tom and his twin sister and younger brother, along with their parents, were finally going back to Canada after a long stay in England. Tom heaved a big sigh – he knew it was going to be a long and arduous trip – he was almost twelve now and remembered the trip from Canada to England a few years earlier. He didn’t know it then, but this would be the last time he’d cross ‘that big pond’ called the Atlantic Ocean. Tom’s parents were born and raised in England, and had originally migrated to Canada in the early 1900’s, and got married in Canada in 1910; and their three children were born in Canada.”
Tom’s parents had finally settled in a mid-size town (Port Arthur) in Ontario (which is now called Thunder Bay). Tom graduated from school at an early age; and put himself through high school working evenings at a local pulp and paper mill.
In his early twenties, Tom met and later married Claire – a young woman of French-Canadian descent. They eventually got married and had three children (Roger, ‘Lainie’ and Gordon). Tom joined the Canadian Navy during the Second World War, and was stationed in Nova Scotia. The family moved out there and lived in Shelburne, N.S. during 1944 and 1945. The family returned to Port Arthur in 1945, and lived in various places around the city for the next ten years or so. Lainie started taking piano lessons at an early age – even wanted to be a concert pianist at about age 15 – this gift of music brought her many wonderful experiences over the years. She volunteered as an organist at many churches over the years, including about 50 years at St. Kevin’s church just north of Sudbury. Anyway, at about this time, Tom was given a big promotion; and they moved to a new paper mill in Alpena, Michigan. Lainie had already started drinking and carrying on, and had left the family home; so she didn’t move to Michigan with them.
As time went on, Lainie met and married Ray, a man of native descent, who was working for the Ontario Hydro. They got married and had a daughter, Cindy; and a year or so later moved to a very northern place ‘in the bush’ where the Ontario Hydro was building a new dam. Ray was a heavy drinker (heavier than Lainie) and living in the bush suited him fine. In the winter the temperature got down to minus 65 degrees. They lived up there for six years – had a second daughter in 1964. Ray was transferred to another Hydro project just outside of Thessalon, Ontario in 1966; and the family lived there for about a year. The men working for Ontario Hydro went on strike at that time --- they weren’t far from Sudbury, Ontario; and most of the men went there to find work. The nickel mines were ‘booming’ at that time, and so Ray and Lainie and the girls moved to Sudbury (dubbed the nickel capital of the world); and they still live there at this time.
Ray joined Alcoholics Anonymous in 1971, and they had two more children after that, a son and a third daughter. As time went on, Lainie’s drinking increased; family problems got worse; and the couple divorced in 1985.
Lainie joined Alcoholics Anonymous herself in 1986; and her life began to change dramatically. Her parents were now retired and living in the Phoenix, Arizona area. Lainie enjoyed going there and being in the warm weather in the winters. Her dad, Tom, died of lung cancer in 1999, and her mom died in 2002; and she started missing the warm weather and the beautiful palm trees at that time.
Lainie re-married in 1990 to a sober man (Percy); and they had a beautiful black cat by the name of Midnight – they had a really great life, traveling often to the Nashville, Tennessee area– but Percy died suddenly of a heart attack in 1996. Lainie was pretty devastated, but didn’t drink over it. Lainie had been working at the local Taxation Center since about 1983; and retired from there in 2000. She moved into an apartment at the south end of Sudbury. After the death of her father (in an Arizona hospice), Lainie became very interested in hospice work, and became a volunteer there in 2000. She was also ‘climbing the ladder’ in A.A. service, and even became a New York Delegate in 2001. She had a pretty bad time of those two years, because of a couple of very interfering A.A. members. AND her precious cat died in 2002 – it was a huge blow to Lainie.
About this same time, she started dating a new man she met in A.A. by the name of Joe. He had a sister and brother-in-law who ‘wintered’ in the South Texas area (stayed on South Padre Island); and they invited Lainie and Joe to visit them; which they did for the first time in 2003. This started a HUGE change in Lainie’s spiritual life. It was as though she tapped a hidden source for herself – she cried unbelievably every year when it became time for them to return to Canada. It was as though she had lived there before, because she felt so ‘at home’. Lainie and Joe got married at a little church right on the Island in 2004 – on Feb. 29th (‘leap year day’). Their relationship wasn’t without problems; but Lainie continued to grow in spirituality. She eventually wrote four small books over the next six years. She also traveled to Jamaica with a Texas friend, who went there once in awhile to help with the orphans. This was a life-changing trip for Lainie!
She also traveled to Alaska and to Israel over the next few years.
Lainie had a lot of work to do because of her mother (who had told her early in life that she never wanted any girls, and who was quite angry with Lainie her whole life) and also over the two ‘interfering’ people in A.A. who had gotten her kicked off a big committee. But she did the work for a great number of years; and eventually got free of the anger and hate. She went on many spiritual retreats, and anger courses and so on. The A.A. friends both in Canada and Texas also really helped a lot. And she felt in early 2012 that she had finally rid herself of most of the anger. She now totally believed as stated in the A.A. Big Book that her main purpose in life was to “fit herself to be of maximum service to God and other people” – or to enable the divine purpose of the universe to unfold.
And she asks God on a daily basis to show her if there’s anyone she can help for Him, or anything she can do for him.
She’s planning at this time to go on a trip to Australia - a place she’s wanted to go since she was a child – perhaps she lived there before? Only time – and an Australian visit - will tell.