“Where you used to be, there is a hole in the world, which I find myself constantly walking around in the daytime, and falling in at night. I miss you like hell.” — Edna St. Vincent Millay

Lynda must have realized that if she had a driving licence, she could have helped me with the driving on our recent trip to Florida.  Right after the annual Sidewalk party, she decided to take the driving test and she passed it.

Be that as it may, I found out that Beaver Lumber Company was in the business of leasing cars for the executives in the company.  Typically, every three years those cars were replaced with the newer models but instead of sending those cars back to the dealership, they used to sell those cars to the managers in the company for the price of the lease which used to be very reasonable.  Now that I was a manager, I was entitled to buy one of those cars.  It so happened that when I went to discuss the possibility with the guy who was responsible for the cars, he said right now I have a Ford which you can have right away and we sealed the deal.  

We decided to trade our Colt with another used car for Lynda. I got the Green Ford a big car as our family car and she had relatively a small Maroon car for herself.  Lynda was happy.  She used to do the grocery shopping and drive Adam around for all kind of activities.    

During the infamous inflation crisis of the 1970s, Pierre Trudeau’s Liberals imposed strict wage controls on workers in late 1975. The federal government created a handpicked corporate-aligned “Anti-Inflation Board” to impose below-inflation wage caps on collective agreements across the private and public sectors.  Wage and Price Controls were comprehensive government restrictions on the maximum rate at which wages and prices may increase during a specified time period. As a result of these controls, the management salaries in Beaver Lumber Company were frozen. 

I went to work on one Monday in 1978 and Gord popped in my office to ask me if Lynda is at home.  I said she must be as she’s not working at the school this morning.  He said call her and tell her that somebody from Beaver Lumber Company will come to take the measurements of your townhome to replace your carpet.  

He looked at my face and realized that I am having difficulty to process that information.  He said to me that as a result of the freeze on the management salaries, I wasn’t able to give you a raise last year.  I know you deserved a raise, therefore, I made a deal with the company in an unconventional way to replace the carpet in your house instead of the raise which you didn’t get. Hope Lynda will be happy with that.    

Lynda was thrilled with the idea as she got most expensive carpet laid down on all four levels of our townhome right away.

Now things were under control at work, we decided to take a week off and go to Bancroft.  

This time instead of going to the same place where we had been last time for a week, we decided to do something different. Lynda made a reservation at Fred’s Cottages for 2 Bedroom 4 Season Cottage for a week. The cottage we rented was located on the lake and it was very big and comfortable.  We had late breakfasts in local restaurants and mooch around in the town.  If I remembered correctly, we went to see:

  • Egan Chutes Provincial Park;
  • Mineral Museum;
  • Papineau Public Beach; and
  • The East Conservation Area

We used to go back to our cottage after lunch and I tried to nap for a couple of hours but Lynda and Adam used to go out again for shopping or just strolling. We used to go out for suppers not too far from where we were staying.

One afternoon, Adam and I rented a small boat to do some fishing but didn’t have too much luck.

We remembered to take the piece of paper with us which showed the ownership of the land. This paper was given to us as a down payment for the townhome that we sold in Bramalea.  We tried to follow the directions to determine the actual location of the land but it got complicated. Unfortunately, the Land Registry office wasn’t located in the town to clarify the address or seek some help. We decided to leave it for now.

It was a very good week in Bancroft weather-wise and we relaxed and enjoyed our time in Bancroft, immensely. Better yet, I never got any calls from my office for trouble shooting.

One Friday when I got home and started changing to take Lynda and Adam out for the cheap supper, Lynda came in the bedroom and said to me that hope you are not going to work tomorrow. I said I just wanted to pop in to check something out in the office tomorrow but that can wait. I asked what’s up. She said Maxine wanted to see us. Instead of keeping my mouth shut and listening to her, I said you mean she wanted to see you. She got mad with me and said, don’t start with me Buster.

In any case, we went out on Saturday to pick Maxine from her foster parent’s house and take her out for a nice lunch. We had very nice meal together and Maxine was utterly charming. This was her 4th or 5th foster home and she had it up to here with all of them and she wanted to come home. I knew she was capable of making convincing arguments and making sad faces but Lynda appeared to be persuaded. However, I was neither impressed nor convinced. I was just being the bad guy. I said Maxine, please listen to me carefully; nothing has changed in our household. We are the same people you hated to live with. I am the same Muslim who mistreating an innocent and helpless Jewish girl and it’s not going to work. I know your mother missed you a lot but my suggestion to you is to try your best to listen to your foster parents and social workers who supported you wholeheartedly.

The next thing we knew that she started crying which was another powerful tool for Maxine. I knew that I was being difficult and probably Lynda hated me for that but I wasn’t prepared to take the risk of putting Adam through another series of upsetting episodes.

Our Story – Chapter 17