So my Dad packed us up, I suspect with some hesitation thinking that my mother was tricking him into running off to another country with the kids and leaving her behind with one of their biggest assets; the business. She is a smart woman. I guess it was a different time back then, spouses trusted each other. When I think about it, I understand my mother’s hesitation, she was going from living a life where she was free to pursue business ideas and being an equal to moving to Portugal and having that all taken away. Portugal was a macho culture where women were not equals and the government was ruled by a dictator. People disappeared during that time for making ‘unpopular’ political statements. Thankfully at 18 months, I didn’t possess many political views yet, so I felt relatively safe. My only political aspiration was for socializing binkies for everyone, but to date no one had gone to prison for binkies.
So, my brother father and I moved to Portugal. The Atlantic Ocean now separated me from my mother. I guess it was best that my geography skills were lacking back then, because knowing that an entire ocean separated my mother and I would have depressed me.
My Dad soon found a job, which meant he didn’t have time to care for us, so my brother and I got shipped off to live with his mother; my paternal grandfather had already passed. She lived in a small town called Bombarral, some 30 miles away from his new job. My Dad would visit us on the weekends, but otherwise we were left with my grandmother. A couple doors down from her house, lived her sister and brother-in-law (the folks seen on the left side of the top photo holding my arm). My brother had an advantage over me in this new environment, not only was he about 5 years old when all this went down, but he already knew my grandmother from the time she has visited our family in Canada. To me she was a stranger.
And so it was that at the tender age of 18 months, I was living in a strange land with a strange adult. But on the bright side, Life was still Great, I had my brother with me and this place was more like Bay Area California weather, not the frozen Canadian Tundra. This was as bad as it could get, it was just going to get better hereon in!