Why My Brother Did Not Fly

My brother was in the air force in the late 1950s, wiring power stations on the DEW line. He reached points in the Arctic earlier than most of us knew they existed. He was in his late teens, trying, I suppose, to figure out what he would do with his life. While he wasn't a pilot, his responsibility was quite remarkable for his young years. Or so it seemed to us in his family, still 'at home' in Bourlamaque, Quebec, although away at school during the academic year.

It seems bizarre now that we did not know until years later that during this time, John was in a plane that crashed as it came in for a landing in Edmonton. He broke two legs. For years, before I knew this, I thought it quite odd that he would not go far afield, at least no further than he could drive or travel by bus or train. He would sit up through the days and nights en route from Winnipeg when he came to visit family in Toronto. I believe he did the same thing in the other direction when he went to see our sister in Vancouver.

When we were all adults and he came to Toronto to visit our mother on one occasion, he stayed with me that week and we talked more than we had in ages. It was then he told me the story of the air crash and I understood finally why he would not fly!
Posted on May 4, 2012 .