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Writing women's history one mother at a time... since 2004.



With few facts and fewer memories, it is not easy to paint a comprehensive picture of the totality, the gestalt of a person. Be that as it may, the following is an attempt to present, as clearly as is possible, a straightforward, honest depiction of my mother, unclouded by sentimentality and bias. These are the facts, as I know them, as pertain to my mother’s life. Let the facts, few though they may be, speak for themselves.

Note: as this is not my story, but my mother’s, I use the pseudonyms Dor for my mother, and Demo to denote my father out of respect for their anonymity. As far as I know, they are both still alive and would prefer this. That my father is being as forthcoming as he now is about mother and the details of our lives together is a truly wonderful thing, and I thank him for that. After a life of denial, it can’t be easy, and is testament to his good character.

Dor was born in Wollongong, Australia, circa 1927-8 and would now be 84 years old, give or take half a year or so

Dor was a delicate, pretty woman with blond hair, blue eyes and elven like features. She liked the color blue and feminine attire.

According to her ex husband, as recounted to him by her, Dor was sexually abused by her father.

Dor had a sister. They both apparently had the same wish: to leave their country of origin, Australia. To my knowledge, they both still reside in Canada.

Dor married Demo, a Canadian, in July of 1948, in Sydney, Australia. He was 18. She was 21. For Demo, it was a marriage of convenience, a sexual ruse, and thusly, ultimately doomed. Dor’s motives remain unclear.

In March of ‘49, after nine months or so of marriage, Dor’s not yet 19 year old husband left Australia, and her, for Canada and to enlist as a private in the Canadian Army. Dor traveled to Canada separately from her husband, via a stop in Britain to stay with her husband’s parents. During her stay, Demo’s parents wrote a letter to their son, entreating him to live up to his marital responsibilities. In 1950, a year or so after her husband’s departure, she reunited with him at Camp Petawawa, Ontario, Canada. Shortly thereafter, Dor became pregnant, and the family would remain at Camp  Petawawa until their first born, a son, arrived, on a Thursday, Feb, 20, 1951.

Dor and Demo traipsed their way back and forth across Canada at the behest of the Canadian Armed Forces, having another child, a girl, born at Vancouver General Hospital, in Vancouver, BC, Monday, June 8, 1953. When, in 1955, Demo was posted to Langar, England, Dor remained in Canada, in St. Hubert, Quebec, with the children. According to Demo, Dor ‘refused’ to go to England, electing to live alone with the two young children for a year and some.

Upon Demo’s return in 1956 from Britain, the family relocated again, this time to Ottawa, Ontario. Dor subsequently and immediately spent several non contiguous months in various hospitals for ‘emotional’ reasons, and within six months or so of Demo’s return, the children were placed in an adoption home as the adults had it out. Demo and Dor finally separated in October of 1956.

Subsequently, Demo retrieved the children from the adoption home, and filed for custody rights, citing Dor’s illness, disinterest in her children, in him, and in her ‘household duties’, and infidelity on her part, as cause for custody of the children. No mention was made of his infidelity and deep reluctance to be in this union. Demo was granted custody of the children. Dor hired a lawyer to petition for visiting rights, and for a short while she remained on the periphery of her children’s lives. Sometime in 1957, however, Dor lost complete contact with her children as Demo took them to Moncton, N.B., out of her physical reach. Her son, now six, would run away from his father’s home, and attempt to cross Canada by hopping trains, in an desperate bid to reunite with her. Finally, in December of 1957, Demo deposited the children in Manchester, England with his parents, in the unhappy home of his chaotic and tumultuous latter childhood, far from Canadian jurisdiction.

Entirely estranged from her ex family now, Dor at some point made her residence in Toronto, Ontario, and worked as a lab tech at Toronto Children’s Hospital for many years.

Dor would be divorced from her husband in 1962. The children remained in England.

In 1967, eight to ten years after her separation from her children, Dor was visited by her then sixteen year old, now homeless son. She let him stay the night while she worked a shift at the hospital, but in the morning upon her return, she bid him goodbye, doing nothing to encourage him to stay. Asked by Toronto Welfare to sign consent documents to allow her son to continue schooling in Toronto, as her charge, she declined. She had no further contact with her son during his brief time in Toronto, before he drifted to Vancouver, B.C.

At some point during her daughter’s stay in Toronto while attending university there, Dor would be in touch with her daughter, giving her a pearl necklace for her birthday.

In 1989 Dor was once again visited by her son, now some 38 years old. He had experienced an “awakening,” had tracked down her number, and was calling her to tell her of his intention to once again reunite with her. She had told him not to come. This time, upon his arrival, there was no answer to his knock on the door. A neighbor, witnessing the event, offered to call Dor on the telephone for him. “I don’t think she wants to see you” she told him upon her return. Was she even in the apartment? Dor did not appear several hours later when her son was hauled out of her building by the Toronto Police, creating a commotion as he left. He did not go willingly.

Dor reportedly made contact with her ex-husband in the late nineties, when she telephoned him regarding information concerning her legal status in Canada. Some years later, when asked about the call, Demo would report that she did not inquire after her children.

Dor has since moved from her last known residence, and her whereabouts have been unknown by her son or her daughter, or her ex-husband for several years. As far as is known, she is still alive and lives alone, somewhere in Canada.

These are the facts, verified, and as true as I know them to be. For any more, one will just have to read between the lines.


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