Until the autumn of 2007, my parents lived in the house where I was born, my father trying to care for my mother, who had been experiencing the symptoms of Alzheimer disease. When her condition deteriorated, and when other medical problems developed, she was hospitalized.
My father’s name is Rene, and my mother’s name was Rose. My father’s family lived in Graauw, in Hulst, and in Breda, in the province of Zeeland, in the Netherlands. My mother’s family lived in Zeeuws-Vlaanderen. My parents emigrated from Holland to Canada in 1952. They worked on a farm in Quebec for a few months. They have not talked about that part of their lives much. They were sponsored by a farmer, and had to work for him, but found the conditions were nearly intolerable. They found other jobs and stayed in Quebec until they had saved money for a car. They headed west in 1954 and got as far as Winnipeg. My father found work as a pastry chef at the old CP Rail hotel, the Royal Alexandria, and later in landscaping and construction. They encountered the prejudices of Canadians of the era against all immigrants, who were called DP’s – a stigmatizing term for refugees from shattered Europe. When he started to work in Winnipeg he began to call himself Ron, and he changed the family name from Dalmijn to Dalmyn, in an effort to make the name less foreign to Canadian eyes. My father stayed in the construction industry and became a foreman and superintendent. He later had his own business. In his retirement, he became involved in advocacy on water quality and waste management issues. My mother had a career in Holland as a midwife. Her career in Canada was the domestic manager of a fractious household. Her life was marked by health issues. She suffered from memory lapses and dementia. She moved to a care home in 2008. My father moved to the same care home in 2009. My mother died in 2010. My father’s health declined.
I am the oldest of 5 children.
- My brother Cam is a contractor and retail businessman. Cam and his wife Andrea have two sons.
- My sister Joyce is a lawyer working for Manitoba Justice. Her husband Joe Masi is with the Association of Manitoba Municipalities
- My brother Frank is a firefighter in Winnipeg. Frank and his wife Janice have three daughters and two grandsons. Frank and Janice have separated.
- My sister Teresa is an accountant and systems engineer for the federal Health Department. Her husband Gord Fleury is a Peoplesoft engineer for the City of Winnipeg. They have a daughter and a son.
I met my ex-wife, Janice Lee Wehner, in 1982. We were married in 1983 and separated in March 2004. Within a couple of years after we were married, I learned she was disposed to seeking spiritual fulfillment in New Age beliefs and that several members of her family were following alternative practices in nutrition and physical and mental therapy and had eclectic ideas about spirituality. I became estranged from my wife’s family after her sister and her parents traveled to England and India to pursue a vision that her sister received in a channeling experience, which required her to bring an cosmic message to Sting, the Dalai Lama, and the Pope. My wife’s family thought I should be more open to their ideas. I became distant. Jan chose to spend more time with her mother and her aunt. I became depressed and hostile, which magnified my tendencies to obsessive and self-directed things, and our marriage unravelled.
My daughter Claire lived with me since the separation, until early February 2006 when she took her first apartment in Winnipeg, as I moved to Victoria. She is completed her Bachelor’s degree at the University of Winnipeg, which is well-regarded for its undergraduate programs. She pursued a major in cultural anthropology and moved to Toronto to pursue a graduate degree.
My son David became a heavy user of marijuana when he was 14. He dropped out of school in January 2003 when he was 15. He ran away in August 2003. He lived on the street and in group homes under the care of the local Child Welfare agency. In June 2005 he moved to Halifax. After a few years, he made some changes and had stable employment from 2012 onward.