To the best of my recollection, this is the story of my early years. Like me, it is simple and direct. It was inspired by my daughter Erika, who worked hard to gather the details, and later prepared for publication by my son, Rodney. Many of the essential stories were contributed by my brother Julian, whose memories and experiences were broader than my own. Without them, this memoir could not have been written.
I never intended this project to be a history lesson—just a collection of memories, feelings, challenges, circumstances, and inspirations that led me to Canada, where the family life we all share together began.
I want to pass a message along to my children, grandchildren, and hopefully great-grandchildren:
Value others on their potential, not their history.
Never give up. Always hold on to hope. Things will always get better if you do. Always.
• Despite the challenges of my life, I believe I was, and still am, very lucky. I have always felt this—that a guardian angel was watching over me every moment.