Hi friends, lets go back a “few” years. Some of Alex/Sandy’s brothers and sisters have very little knowledge of this time of their brother’s life. Please, let me explain why Sandy and Alex are interchangeable. I met a friend here in Ontario, and when I spoke of Alex he wondered who I was talking about. When we arrived in Alberta he started introducing himself as Alex, which is what he was during his school years. I found it hard to change, as I know it was difficult for his family and old friends. So for many of these earlier stories I may call him Sandy. In recent years he was most agreeable to be called Sandy.
I promised Lynn I would share about our time living in Quebec. Maybe that will be next.
In early April 1970, Sandy and I, Jonathan and Michelle, headed out to Florida. Neither of us had been there, and off we went pulling a tent trailer we borrowed.
When we got to Georgia, Sandy decided we should go and visit, Uncle Walter Crawford and family. Uncle Walter, Aunt Martha and their two sons, Paul and Murray, left Toronto when Paul and Sandy were about 10 years old, and they had not seen each other since. Uncle Walter was an artist, and accepted a position with the Assemblies of God church in Georgia, as a illustrator for their denominations publications.
There are a lot of details I do not remember, (it is 43 years ago, at the time of writing.) But some I do recall, clearly.. Paul and Sandy had many similarities, and they seemed so pleased to see each other. Paul and his brother had done a tour of duty in Vietnam and although at dinner, dear Aunt Martha, tried to praise her sons for serving their country, Paul with loud and in no uncertain tones, refuted it, in a broad Georgian accent spoke of blowing families in tiny boats out of the water, and he declared in no uncertain terms “if they asked me to go again, I would say just take me out against the wall and shoot me now”. He had a son about the age of Jonathan, and he said he would move back to Canada, if his son was in danger of being drafted.
Also, racial topics came up. Again, Aunt Martha spoke of their dear black help that came to the house, and Paul mercilessly made a point of letting us know, “Yeah Ma, but how come she always comes in the back door?”
Paul purported,” I think the races should all intermarry and everyone would soon be a real nice milk chocolate color.” Later we all went down to the ice cream parlor for dessert. When Paul was alone with Sandy, who was starting a tiny little beard, he said if I grew a beard like yours, I would be out of the church and out of a job within the week. We never saw them again, although we thought we would. Our move to Alberta didn’t help that plan.
In the middle of that night, Uncle Walter knocked on our bedroom door, and told us that the Appollo 13 space ship was in huge trouble and we should pray, which I believe Uncle Walter did.
The next day we continued our trip to Florida. On April 17, we were in the vicinity of Cape Canaveral and Alex had a yen to go there. I wanted to do laundry, so he left the three of us in a coin laundry . Can you believe he got himself into the Space center, right in the middle of those now famous and dreadful moments, when contact was lost with the three men aboard the lunar lander as it broke through the atmosphere? There was real uncertainty as to whether they could withstand the heat.
When contact was lost with the astronauts the entire place was in silence as all the men, behind their monitors bowed their heads, the tension so overwhelming. When the voice of the astronaut broke through all the static, the huge building exploded into a mighty roar of triumph.
One of America’s blessed moments and Sandy was thrilled to have been there.