The summers of the past, particularly in the 60’s hold many memories of sun and songs and little worries…..laid back….relaxed and lazy – at least that’s how I remember them….but in ‘69 – the summer I would have turned 21 in August my dad and I had another famous screaming battle in the back hallway of my family home in Scarborough when I announced I was going to Woodstock with some friends. Despite likely not even knowing what Woodstock was my dad put his foot down and said I couldn’t go (keep in mind I was almost 21 and hadn’t lived at home for 4 years) my Dad and mom unequivocally said no I couldn’t go and so I didn’t. I’m sure most if not all of their decision was based on any parents decision to ensure the safety of their child….but in retrospect they had so little to really worry about…………. What was the worst that could have happened to me? I may have use drugs and got high ….may have had sex…..I may have been hungry and wet and dirty…but I doubt it crossed my parent’s mind to even think that I could be killed. I didn’t go…my friends didn’t go either….it’s a regret I’ve had ever since.This past week my youngest son….my baby………..who will be 21 in August 2016 left for Europe. He and his girlfriend Emma have been planning this trip for the past year……saving…changing their plans …their routes and their lives with each step. They are travelling to Holland, England, France, Germany, Czech and Italy before travelling to Iceland for their trip home………….thousands of miles….so many memories ……including two Euro2016 Soccer games in France….such a dream for them, such a lifelong learning experience. At first my hubby and voiced our concerns….the world has changed a great deal since that summer of 1969….a world that has not changed for the better….a world full of hatred toward sectors of our society…… and of larger cells of hatred toward the world at large…and a world that does not seem to see fit to make people responsible for their actions. Our concerns were clearly based on the knowledge we know and concern for our son’s safety and that of his girlfriend.
Ironically……I have raised my son to think for himself…far more than my parents did…to sometimes even question me………and I have to admit that often times…maybe most times…he’s been right. At a time when he has daily contact with us via his cell phone…world news at his fingertips……..and a head on his shoulder he bluntly pointed out that he was going as I had always told him he should never live with regret of not doing something he really wanted to do. And he’s right.
In the 60’s my parents and others only had the slanted views of very stilted news writers and radio broadcasters who had little knowledge of the world outside their own neighbourhood; they would read the words from the news lines and report it but really had little more depth of our world….and in 1969 the world seemed naively small and after WWII appeared relatively safe.. The issues within the confines of our own Country and that of our neighouring USA – the growing unrest of the race issues in the States were the most pressing issues that we really knew about. Terrorism in our own Country that was quickly shut down with the War Measures Act a few years later issued by Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau and ISIS was not even a consideration….we belived the the world was at peace more or less……………where the hell did we go wrong.
As my son boarded his plane and since…I have of course prayed everyday….ISIS and radical terrorism lurks behind every corner it seems…I woke up this morning to the horrific news in Orlando Florida where not only do we have an ISIS sympathizer but a killer who chose his victims deliberately because of their sexual preferences to make his ‘sick’ statement to the world. My son on the other side of the ocean was enjoying lunch in a local British pub watching his beloved soccer along with others after he and Emma took in Big Ben, Buckingham Palace and the Queen’s 90th birthday celebration…such a contrast…at least at that moment. In two days he leaves for France and will be attending two Euro Soccer games in stadiums filled with 80-90,000 screaming soccer fans…a dream he has had for years and all I can do is pray that on this side of the ocean I will be quietly watching the game in the living room or even in a pub here in Edmonton with friends watching the game to its completion without incident.
Over and over we hear that we cannot let fear stop us for that fear would also stop our freedom. And I totally agree. The differences between the summer I turned 21 and the summer my son will turn 21 may not really so different. As a parent I am struck by concerns for my son…as I’m sure every parent throughout the world………Despite the regret of not attending Woodstock, I continued to grow and learn and feel I have offered the world the best I could be– not only as an individual, but as a parent raising three wonderful children who each has taken a stand against the evils of the world. My youngest has stepped up to the plate and is living his dream. I have to stand behind that as I know what he gains from this trip will make him into a stronger leader, strong is his own convictions and his own beliefs in himself and allow him to live his life without the regret of missing something because of someone else’s fear.
Till next time……………