A Moment to Celebrate

Photo of Manitoba Writers bookshelf with Dickies From Gunton book on it.

Milestones – for a Manitoba Writer and Dickies From Gunton.

I was reminded recently how important it is to celebrate professional milestones, and to savour the moment when you have finally accomplished something.

For me, most recently it was this year when I first saw Dickies From Gunton: Canadian Brothers in Two World Wars – my book, displayed on the bookshelf, under Manitoba Writers. After writing professionally for many years, for the first time, my book was displayed in the bookstore.

The Dickie brothers also had their own milestones.

For Percy, it was in 1916 when Secondary Schools of Manitoba certified he passed the advisory board exam for promotion from Grade 8. His parents, who had never gone to school themselves, were so proud. Grade 8 was the highest level of education many of his generation including his brother would hold. During the Second World War, Percy would go on to complete his training as a war production job instructor. And then, in 1948, he was officially qualified as a journeyman in the trade of plumbing, with five or more years of engagement in the trade. The Province of Manitoba Department of Labor provided him with his Certificate of Qualification (Issued on time served, without examination) under their new Apprenticeship Act.

For younger brother Earl, it was in 1922 when he was finally old enough to join the Fort Garry Horse militia. And in 1929 when he qualified as Sargeant in the Non-Permanent Active Militia of Canada. And in 1939 when he served in the Guard of Honour during the 1939 Royal Tour in Winnipeg. And then, when the call for recruits went out a few days before the Second World War was declared, he hurried downtown to volunteer for active service.

With the Winnipeg Grenadiers, Earl would find himself among nearly 2,000 Canadians sent to defend the doomed British colony of Hong Kong.

The brothers would never have dreamed of writing a book, and now their story is shared in one.