And that is how ‘Ramblings with Ron: A lifetime of memories polished by the passing of time,’ begins. Next, the reader is taken to Main Street – to a house with a back pasture that once went to Waterloo Street.
Ron Lane, 79, began composing his autobiography when he went back to school to get his Grade-12 diploma last autumn. He posts sections from the book he’s writing on his blog.
“They suggested that I should be writing,” says Ron, referring to his kids.
He affectionately calls them kids, but he quickly clarifies the fact his nine children – seven girls and two boys – are grown up.
Sheila Lane is one of the nine, and it was through a conversation she had with Ian Kent, a teacher at Gorham Memorial Education Centre, the idea for Ron to return to school transpired.
“Dad has always been a fabulous oral storyteller but had really never collected any of those (stories),” says Sheila.
She says she thought Ron would be eager to return to school to complete his education and write his story.
When Ron was in high school, he went as far as Grade 11.
“I’ve found it interesting. It’s sort of an open concept,” says Ron about returning to school so many years later.
Things looked a lot different when the blond-haired boy was going to school. He says he first went to a little school where the Lions Club is.
“When you grow old, you can sit by the window and watch the cars go by, or you can keep your mind busy,” he says.
And Ron has certainly been keeping busy. Sonya Eddy, one of Ron’s teachers, says he’s spent much of his time writing his autobiography while in class.
Ron says he spends three days a week at school writing. He also writes at home, but he says the majority is done in the classroom.
“Things that we’ve done, places we’ve gone,” says Lane, describing his book.
He says he enjoys writing his memories. Some of the things he writes about he might not have thought about for years.
“I think I’ve been able to see it through the eyes of a child, more or less,” Lane says.
For example, “I’m getting excited about the circus.”
Ron shares his memory in his book of going to the circus as a boy:
“The Circus came to Liverpool. They set up in the vacant lot at the corner of Payzant Street and Old Port Mouton Road. One of the attractions was cowboy Tex Ritter. John Ritter of TV fame was his son. He was at the end of his career. He rode in, horse up on his hind legs, and rode off. I was impressed. I could do that! I told my friend and I thought up a plan.”
His story doesn’t necessarily travel in chronological order but instead from topic to topic, says Ron.
That’s what Sheila likes so much about her father’s writing.
“He’s really capturing the spirit about the things he’s passionate about – the things that have been important to him,” she says.
It’s exactly how she pictured Ron writing his story – in a collection of memories, she says.
Sheila says she is extremely proud of her father for going back to school and completing his education.
“His approach with everything is to come to it with enthusiasm and to do it well, and I just really respect that about him,” she says.
But Ron isn’t the only person Sheila has to be proud of for finishing high school. Grandson and grandfather will cross their respective school’s stages to get their high school diplomas two days apart.
Ron will don his cap and gown on June 26, and the large Lane family will be there to cheer its storyteller on.
Though Ron isn’t certain how he’ll fill his time once school is over, he says he plans to continue to write.
He says he is doing the project is to leave a record for future generations.