“I was born in London, Ontario, but spent only eight or nine years there before my family moved to North Bay. It ended up being the greatest positive experience of our lives and was something that stayed with me.
I had plans to be a journalist and went to Carleton’s School of Journalism. After that, I had a career at the Toronto Star and Vancouver Sun.
I went to Seattle to visit a cousin who was a Catholic priest, and God called to me and said that I should become a priest.
Priesthood was the farthest thing from my mind—I don’t think I was behaving that badly—but I was having a great time in the 1970s with the long hair and rock and roll.
I did end up revisiting the idea and went to the seminary, where I later became a priest in London and Northern Ontario for 11 years. Love came calling and I made the decision that I was going to marry and have a family of my own, which meant I had to leave the church.
When I met my wife Susanne, I became an instant step-dad to three children. And within about a year, she was pregnant and we’d be expecting her fourth—my first, Adam.
At birth, the doctors announced Adam as a girl. But my wife at the time intuitively thought the pregnancy was so much like when she carried her son, so we called the kid in the womb Adam for six months.
We were all shocked when out comes a girl from all appearances, and so we decided to name that girl ‘Rebecca-Adam.’ Over 22 years, Adam took us on this gender journey, and when he was around 18, transitioned from female to male. I used to think I knew the meaning of true love, but my boy taught me what true love really is: to be who you are and to love who you love. Adam died by tragedy in a seizure-related incident when he was only 22 in 2016.
I worked on the Hill for three Members of Parliament for almost 14 years until 2017. In my so-called retirement, I became an author and wrote my first book Soar Adam Soar, published in 2019.
I just published my second novel—Father Rick, Roamin’ Catholic—a wicked faith memoir full of politics and social justice from my perch on the left. People are invited to the launch of my new book on April 19. It will be held at the Parlour on Wellington Street starting at 7 p.m.
I have seven, sometimes eight ideas in my head for future novels. At some point, I’m definitely going to slide over from the non-fiction memoirs to the fiction world.
I moved to Westboro in 2019, though I came here all the time beforehand for the market, the Great Canadian Theatre Company, and to see the rocks on the river. I love Wellington Street with all the coffee shops, pubs and patios.
The neighbourhood and the people have so much charm.”
Story collected by Charlie Senack