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Who Am I?

Ron Dodds

Gidday my name is Ron Dodds.  As you can guess I am not originally from these parts.  I was born in the far south of New Zealand in the city of Dunedin.  We were a working class family of 5, my sister and 3 brothers.  My dad was a coal miner and my mum was a homemaker, meaning she didn’t work outside of the home.

Can you imagine a childhood without a television, a computer or a cell phone.  Well in spite of not having all those toys we had a marvelous childhood.  Fortunately we had a family of 5 boys living next door so we always had a good group for playing many games.  Rugby, soccer, cricket, marbles, and cops and robbers were some of our favourites.  We played outside until dark and on weekends we hiked to the beach and rolled down the sand dunes, played rugby on the sand and swam in the surf.

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I have fond memories of my primary (elementary) school.  I do remember 2 significant events.  One was the only time I got the strap and it was for reading in reading class and the other was when our school burned to the ground on New Years eve.  Unfortunately we didn’t get a longer holiday!!  At the end of primary school, much against my wishes, my parents insisted on sending me to a large prestigious boys school in the city.  At first I really hated it as I didn’t know anyone but as time went by I settled in.  However as my 15th birthday loomed,  I was determined to quit.(15 was the legal leaving age).  In spite of my parents arguments I presented myself to the rector (principal) to advise him but my knees shook so much I couldn’t do it!  On leaving high school I continued on to teachers college to become an elementary teacher.  In year 2 of my course I decided I wanted to get a university degree so I began taking courses part time.  I continued working on my degree part time over the next 9 years while I taught in various parts of the country.  Finally I earned my masters degree  in education from the University of Auckland.  At this point in my life I decided I needed to broaden my experience overseas so I applied for a job in Ontario.  I has somewhat of an advantage as I had trained and taught as a teacher of the deaf.  My particular skills were very much in demand at that time.

So--- I arrived at the E.C. Drury school for the deaf in Milton Ontario.  The culture shock was enormous for me.  Sport was different, some language and expressions were different but I soon adjusted.  I began teaching in the high school and was promoted to Department head after 5 years and then to Principal, a position that I held for 25 years.  During this time I also completed a doctorate in Education at the U of T.

As I was single at this time in my life I agreed to meet a friend in a bar in Waterloo and there I met this beautiful red headed woman named Margaret(Peg) and we will be celebrating our 30th wedding anniversary next year.  We have no children of our own but we each have children from a previous marriage.  My son and daughter live in New Zealand and Peg’s son lives in Los Angeles.  We also have 5 grandchildren and 1 great granddaughter.  Unfortunately they all live outside of Canada.

When I retired we decided to take an extended trip to New Zealand to spend some time with my son and daughter and their family and also to “check on” my brothers and sister.  Peg sold her shares in the commercial building company that she worked for as a partner and decided to go into temporary retirement.  While there we bought a lot as an investment.  On returning to Ontario Peg went back to work in the building trade for her brother and I became “Mr. Mom” for 5 years. When we returned to New Zealand we decided to build a house on our lot. My brother (who was a builder) and I (who did all the work as his labourer) built our house.  For the last 9 years we have been spending the winters in New Zealand.

I have many interests that contribute to my “very” full life.  I try to stay fit through walking cycling and swimming.  I am also an avid canoeist.  I also enjoy reading, photography, computer work, woodwork, socializing and travel.  I also sing in a choir and am presently learning to play the ukulele.  In addition to New Zealand we have also travelled extensively with an organization called “The friendship Force” whose aim is to promote international friendship and understanding through cultural exchanges.

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