I was born in 1936 at the Country Hospital in Shanghai, China. There my family was part of a warm expatriate subculture that lasted until I was almost ten. We lived in Shanghai during World War II and were interned by the Japanese. The post-war permanent retreat from China created a life-long feeling of having lost my roots, of being an outside observer of the people around me, and of the place I was in.
At secondary school the subject in which I consistently won prizes was Mathematics. At university I met my husband Ronald (who later joined the faculty of the University of Toronto) studied mainly History and became interested in medieval times and a fan of the exceptional writer William of Malmesbury.
After graduation various opportunities presented themselves: with Britain's longest running daily newspaper, on a librarianship scholarship in London and with a major computer firm in Greenock. As she felt I should live at home until I was older, my mother vetoed these - so for four years I had a thoroughly enjoyable career teaching and running the Arts subjects at a nearby village secondary school.
During that time I joined with a church minister in preventing a striking historical village building from being moved 'to aid the flow of traffic along the village's main street.' It still stands where it has always stood.
Ronald and I had three children, now all grown up with three children of their own. We have been fortunate to live most of our lives in Canada a capable, modest and decent country with a distinctive culture, to which Canadians take a restrained approach.
As a young mother, I developed an interest in residents' activism. This led to my serving ten years as president of our association and an enjoyable six years broadening my experience on the City of Toronto's Planning Advisory Committee (described by a councillor as being composed of twelve citizens with a passion for the City).
By the time paid work beckoned again, Social Studies had replaced History in the secondary schools; so I completed another degree (an MBA., in Marketing and Applied Statistics) at the University of Toronto. A varied career in Social and Financial marketing research followed, during which I reached the title of vice-president and served as director of publications and national president of the industry's professional association.
The experience in Shanghai before and during World War II was a persistent prowler in the background. Retirement gave me the opportunity to write Gudao, Lone Islet. While reading for Gudao I developed a deep concern about the Chinese Holocaust that I feel still has not received the attention or action internationally it deserves. A second book,Shanghai Scarlet, in the same setting from the Chinese point of view, is now available. Another book of clear-eyed, often humorous and always affectionate essays on rural and daily life in Ontario, Canada is published Here Comes the Moon and a further one set in Toronto, Canada is available. A series of five adventure stories based on Shanghai Scarlet will follow starting 2018. These will be set in different parts of 1930s China: Shanghai, Peking, Tibet and Manchuria.
Public Speaking Engagements:
Probus - several around southwestern Ontario;
University Women's Clubs of Toronto, Leaside and North Toronto;
Wellington County Museum;
University Arts Women's Club;
National Council of Women (Toronto and Ontario branches); and
The University of Toronto Canadian Perspectives Lecture Series.