John Parry

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England 1946-70

I grew up as an infant, toddler and pre-schooler in my maternal grandmother’s home in London.


At the age of 5, my parents moved me and my younger brother and sister to our own row house 5 miles away.  I had a happy, fortunate childhood that included a long walk to school from age 7, another brother shortly after, and a forest at the top of our road, complete with bomb craters and ponds.


At age 11, I won a full scholarship to a ‘boarding’ (residential) school some 4 miles away; just outside London on the fringe of Epping Forest.  My school career was fairly uneventful; marred by always being the ‘runt’ of my class, but illuminated by the occasional flash of academic promise and even by desultory distance running distinction.  


At the age of 15, I decided French would always be part of my life; and so it has been.  My academic prowess slowed as I discovered other interests; eventually I ‘graduated’ in undistinguished fashion.  After a six-month clerical work term in municipal government, I went to a young university in southwest England, studying Philosophy and Government.  Not having changed the world or achieved the requisite standards I was invited to leave, and returned to my parents’ home something of a stranger; never having lived there for more than a few weeks at a time.


By this time my earlier stays in France and the Channel Islands had ignited my interest in travel, and for three years I tried a wide variety of careers.  They included substitute teacher, library assistant, children’s librarian and several clerical positions.  My major goal was to save money to travel, usually by motorcycle, and I travelled five times to Europe in these years.


At 22, I became a trainee computer programmer, expanding my career horizons and wallet to the point where I could fly and also visit the other countries of the United Kingdom.  Persevering both with my career and my travels, by the time I immigrated to Canada I was a systems analyst, and had visited every then country in Europe, except Portugal and Greece.