Brown, Susan

Susan BrownI Loved Bowling

I recently went on an Alaskan cruise with my attendant, Diane. I’d never been on a cruise before and it was such a treat. The water, in different parts of the inside passage, was a lot of different greens and blues. It was very beautiful. I don’t understand how the big ships were able to get so close to shore. I guess the water was really deep there. I didn’t get to see everything though because of being in a wheelchair, and the level of the railings sometimes blocked my view. One of the highlights of my trip was meeting the piano man. He was such a nice man and you name it, he played it. The music was nice and relaxing.

I have one brother who is ten years older than I am, and one sister who is three years younger. My brother is my parents’ natural child and my sister and I were both adopted, but we aren’t blood sisters. I was born in Vancouver General Hospital, and my adoptive parents lived in Burnaby. We moved to Richmond when I was ten years old. There was nothing there then; Richmond was all farms. I loved it in Richmond as a kid. My father worked for BC Packers. My parents were an older couple; they were in their late 40’s when I was little. I was a good kid and I had a good brother, but my sister was a troublemaker.

I remember going to a dude ranch in Aldergrove during the summer. Holiday Acres was the name of the place. I was maybe ten the first time I went. You could pick out your own horse to ride, and there were hayrides, and wiener roasts. I made lots of friends, and I had a crush on the camp leader; Robby was his name.

I went to a Beatles concert at the Empire Stadium when I was twelve years old. My friend’s mother took the two of us. At that age, I don’t think I really appreciated it. You couldn’t even hear the Beatles it was so loud, not a word they were singing or a note they were playing because of the girls and women screaming. You could hear the girls screaming miles down the street. I still have the ticket and the Canadian dollar bill with “the Beatles” written on it.

I loved bowling. I was four years old when I started, five-pin of course and then later ten-pin. I was part of a bowling league and I had an excellent coach. I did that all through my teenage years; I was the second best bowler in BC when I was thirteen years old.

When I was fifteen, my brother got a job doing work with a Newfoundland company that was building a fish plant on the Island of the Dead. So, we drove across Canada together. At that age, I got a good start at seeing the country, but I didn’t appreciate it then. We learned the hard way that you don’t make a right turn on a red light in Montreal-we got stopped by the police. It’s the silly little things that I remember, like how in Toronto, my brother had university friends who lived there. They were living in a rooming house and I remember on one of the big main streets downtown in Toronto there were go-go girls on the balconies of buildings.

Newfoundland was a hard place to be in for a long time. There was nothing green: no trees, no grass. It was a rock; you couldn’t plant anything there. The town we were in had a total of about two hundred people. They were all people working on the fish plant, with their families. I met a girl there, Linda Green. She was the same age as I was. I couldn’t understand one word the people there said because of the Newfie accent. Also, the people there never knocked, they would just walk into your house. Linda did that one day, yapping away at me and I didn’t know what she was saying. I found out that she was asking me if I wanted to go to a show with her and her sister. The theatre was actually a barn and in the barn there were benches you sat on, and there was a screen up. There was an old movie called Ten Thousand Bedrooms playing. I was in Newfoundland for three or four months and then my brother flew me back on an airplane. I returned and went back to bowling and babysitting and my friends.

When I got out of school, I worked in insurance and in a bowling alley. I worked behind the counter at the bowling alley. Then they put in a coffee shop and so I was giving out bowling shoes and then working in the coffee shop making hamburgers. The bowling alley is torn down now. Richmond is all new now; everything is new, changed.

I’ve been married twice and I have two children. I’m very good friends with my first husband, John, who is now a retired bus driver in North Vancouver. He’s the father of Richard, who is now 31 and lives in England. Richard is a landscaper and he’s been doing that ever since he was young. He’s married now and his wife is just twenty years old. Robyn is my daughter and she’s not had a good time. She’s 27 and has one child, Courtney, but Courtney is living in Squamish with her other grandma, who has temporary custody. So, I don’t see Courtney very much. She’s a very intelligent kid.

When my kids were young I took them bowling a lot. My son was not interested in bowling one bit. He was into music. One time he was in a band competition and they came in first. His father was a musician, and so was Bob, my second husband.

John and I divorced after nine years. I was in love with him, but I had always wanted to be with Bob. Bob had gone back east though, and John was similar to Bob, so maybe that is why I married him. I met Bob when I was sixteen, and I had been in love with him ever since.


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