It’s more than Scarberia

Aileen Hill, one of 150 Scarborough Neighbours honoured.

I wouldn’t have known that she was my neighbour. But it turns out that in more ways than one, she and I have been connected. First, we have both supported the arts and those who create them. Next, we are both the children of immigrants. But for me the surprising aspect of our neighbour connection is that Aileen Hill and I both have Scarborough roots.

“I was born here,” she told me, “then, moved with my family to the Caribbean, but have now come back to Scarborough.”

Simple actions. Astonishing results.

Leslie M. Miller, lieutenant in the Canadian Corps.

The padre stepped up to the lectern this past Sunday morning in Shedden, Ont. The audience at the community centre for the Remembrance service settled into silence. The clergyman unfolded his papers, that I thought would contain a prayer, a piece of scripture or perhaps the words of a hymn. But, no, he looked out at the assembly of cadets, veterans and the public in the audience and introduced his Nov. 11 thoughts this way.

“From simple actions, come astonishing results,” he said.

Organized chaos

Suddenly, people in the room felt a great deal of tension. A man rose from his seat in the middle of the auditorium. He cleared his throat. He appeared to muster his courage in front of several hundred others in the audience and a platform of political dignitaries. He looked to the moderator and began to speak.

“I am a taxpayer in Scarborough,” he began, “and I see the Scarborough subway extension coming, but I have a serious question…”

At precisely that moment, in the corner of the hall some sort of air compressor or ventilation pump clicked into gear. And the gush of air and the grinding sound of its motor all but drowned out the sound of the man about to ask the dignitaries present that serious question.

No honour in silence

When I attended public school in the village of Agincourt (now part of Scarborough) because it was nearly a rural school the playground was sizable. Still, during recess, the boys in my class had to find the tallest maple tree – just off school grounds – to climb. The principal realized if one of us were hurt, he’d be liable. So he declared the tree “off limits.” That didn’t stop us. One day, we were blithely enjoying the tree, when out strode Principal Kilpatrick in a rage. Everybody ran for cover… except me.

“Were you playing in that tree?” Kilpatrick asked me directly.

“Yes,” I said, because I couldn’t hide the fact.

Gives with the best of them

A few years ago, a good friend of ours in town began working on some special projects. They were pieces of handyman work. Things such as ramps alongside staircases, wider doorways inside houses and railings and handles for people with temporary or permanent disabilities. He got the work because Kate Thompson-Hawks (from Durham Access-to-Care) knew that he understood the needs of her clients.

“We knew you’d be fair,” she said, “and you’d do a good job.”