David Ace (Brother) - Wisdom

Click to Enlarge Image  Click to Enlarge Image

I asked my brother what object in his personal possession sparked significant memories of his life.  He chose to include a school portrait taken in the early 1950s.  My brother was attending L.J. Atkinson Public School in the small mining community of Garson, Ontario.  He was shy and quiet.  He said he never grew up identifying himself as Indian, British, Canadian or anything else.  He would go on to follow his own intuitions and integrity and move away to the urban center of Toronto.   


Click to Enlarge Image  Click to Enlarge Image

My brother was born on October 19, 1950.  He is my parents' second child, after the loss of my sister Carol Ann.  Born in the post-war baby boom years, he was among my grandparents' first grandchildren.  The family lavished him with love and attention.  Although my parents loved David very much, his upbringing was more disciplined and than mine.  It is always more difficult being raised first.


Click to Enlarge Image  Click to Enlarge Image  Click to Enlarge Image

David spent a lot of his early years at my grandparents home.  After the death of my grandfather in the early 1950s, my grandmother became the family matriarch.  Every Sunday, the entire family would gather at her home.  It was a time when all the grandchildren would get together, and play in the yard.  In the photograph on the extreme right, David is standing with our cousin Gail.  Gail loved to take care of David, and he was her favorite cousin. 


Click to Enlarge Image  Click to Enlarge Image

David grew up spending most of his summers camping and fishing with our parents and their friends.  My father would take David out in the boat with his dog Ruffles.  During the summer, my uncle George and aunt Florence, who were living in Toronto, would send their son Greg to stay with my parents and brother.  In the photograph on the left David is in the center, Greg is on the right and their friend Brian is on the left.  At an early age, Greg was sent to a Catholic boarding school in Toronto and instructed by nuns.  Later in life, he entered the seminary and was ordained as a priest.  David went on to negotiate his life through the 1950s and 1960s, in a time when Indian ancestry was something you didn't make known.  Both would take diverging paths that would distance themselves from identifying with their Indian cultural heritage.


Click to Enlarge Image

David grew up in the midst of four generations.  His great-grandmother, grandmother and father where all apart of his life.  He would never meet his maternal grandparents, and it would not be until 1965, before he would meet his maternal family in England.  Both David and I would be sent through the Ontario public school system.  It was more often than not a difficult, confusing and isolating experience.  Indians where not apart of Canadian history, and when we were, we were depicted as "primitives" or "savages".  It impacted on our self-esteem, ability to socialize, and gain acceptance in mainstream society.  Although David doesn't like talk about it, I remember in the 1960s, being chased after school by a group of older boys who threw stones at me, called me names, and mocked me with "war whoops".  Their name calling and antics hurt more than the stones. 


Click to Enlarge Image  Click to Enlarge Image  Click to Enlarge Image  Click to Enlarge Image  Click to Enlarge Image

David grew up in the 1950s and 1960s and was apart the radical social changes of the late 1960s.  He pursed his interest in the arts, attending college in southern Ontario for one year.  He returned to home for a short period, before finally moving and settling in Toronto.  David is eight years older than me, and when we were young, he always looked out for me whenever I got myself into trouble.  He is a kind and gentle man, and has achieved much in his lifetime.  He will always be my older and wiser brother.  I have great respect for his sense of independence, integrity, honesty and wisdom.  He has taught me to stand up for what I believe in and to honor my parents.  For these reasons, David represents wisdom in my life.