We grew up impoverished and my parents had a difficult and stormy relationship.
They would often fight in front of us, which was distressing.
When I reached grade three, school authorities decided to place me in a select group that split time between grades two and three.
This was never properly explained to me and my parents never talked to me about it, but again, it left me confused and uneasy, especially since being in this “special group” elicited teasing and cruel remarks from other children. Eventually my parents separated and my sisters and I went to live with my mother and new step-father, which necessitated a school change.
I came to love Toronto and eventually moved in with my sister after graduation.
She helped me get a job as a receptionist at the IT company, Allcom, where she worked, and though I had no experience in IT, Diana's boss took her word that I was a fast learner, and I worked hard to prove myself. I picked up on information technology very quickly and seemed to be a natural fit in the business world.
For a short time I was bounced between grades two and three again before my step-father dictated a second move, requiring yet another change of schools.
This period of time was especially hard and I felt terrible about not being able to keep up at school.
Not only was it fun to work outside, it was also my first taste of financial independence.
I opened my first bank account and used the money to pay for my school fees, supplies and clothes for the next school year, which helped out my father a great deal.