In his essay Why I Write, from 1946, George Orwell famously proclaims Good prose is like a windowpane. I cannot say with certainty which of my motives are the strongest, but I know which of them deserve to be followed. It goes without saying, that any writer with the least bit of intention of having his work published, laying it all out there to be scrutinized, critiqued, pulled apart or improved upon, knows very well of what Orwell writes. The stark, blank page, comes alive with something that wasn’t there before, and all from the heart of the writer, his pen the entrance to his soul.

Be that as it may, today’s windowpane is filled with a backward glance at events that took place in the great city of Toronto, Canada, exactly one year ago this very weekend. Nothing earth-shattering, or newsworthy really, although the event about to be written about was going head-to-head with a World Cup soccer qualifier between Canada and Cuba (which Canada won 3 – 0 on the field, and 3 – 0 in the political arena, three Cuban players defecting and claiming Canadian asylum in the process). Close by in the same area, the Toronto Raptors were beating Detroit in a pre-season basketball game, 82-75 at the Air Canada Center; and the Toronto Waterfront Marathon was causing absolute gridlock in downtown Toronto .. Now where was I? Ah yes …

Enoch Turner Schoolhouse - 1848

Back in the early 1830s, a brewer from Staffordshire, England, by the name of Enoch Turner, arrived in the town of York on the shores of Lake Ontario, and established a brewery in the Irish part of town, known as Corktown (three guesses as to why it was named Corktown). By 1848, York had been renamed Toronto, the brewery was doing some kind of Irish business, and Mr. Turner had become a Gentleman of means. Putting the largess of his brewing enterprise to good civic use (now there’s an idea that needs to be sent to Washington D.C.) Gentleman Turner as he could now be referred to, established Toronto’s first free school (yet another idea for Washington D.C.) to educate the children of the poor Irish immigrants (no indication by the way, that the product of the brewery was making them impoverished). Additionally, Gentleman Turner coughed up the initial funding establishing an endowment for what we know today as the University of Toronto. There was definitely money to be made in the brewing business.

The Enoch Turner Schoolhouse as it is now known, has become the oldest surviving building in Toronto, and is being put to as good use today as the Gentleman Mr. Turner and his largess intended when he first had it built back in the day for the betterment of the neighbors around him. Drawn to the enticement of its architectural pleasures of antiquity on the occasion of a themed wedding orchestrated by son Andrew and his artistic bride Leslie, I shower plaudits on them both for a matrimonial ceremony that couldn’t have taken place in any better locale.

The old school hall ready ..

It is as hard for me today to imagine that a year in the life has come and gone and flashed before me in the proverbial “blink of an eye” as it is to imagine that great exposition from the Bible that “beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day” and also “a thousand years in thy sight are but as yesterday when it is past, and as a watch in the night.”

I have little doubt that Gentleman Mr. Turner was very much a man of Biblical principle as his biography reveals, and a true adherent to the other great Bible verse “do unto others as ye would have them do unto you.” The fact that he is still doing his Godly duty close to 150 years following his death is surely testament to the fact that we are all important in God’s eyes, and by being attentive to the needs of those around us, we will always be remembered, no matter how large or small our influence. The old maxim seems to be appropriate, especially-so with a schoolhouse connection: To teach is to touch a life forever.

So it isAndrew Leslie October 13th 2012 with a happy and joyful heart that I congratulate son and newly-acquired daughter-in-law on the occasion of their one-and-only first anniversary (obviously, since the next one will be numero deux) wishing them all the very best for a long and happy life, their love and respect for each other growing by leaps and bounds as they face life’s many challenges together.

As for the rest of the Orwell quote: Looking back through the last page or two, I see that I have made it appear as though my motives in writing were wholly public-spirited. I don’t want to leave that as the final impression. All writers are vain, selfish, and lazy, and at the very bottom of their motives there lies a mystery. And yet it is also true that one can write nothing readable unless one constantly struggles to efface one’s own personality. Good prose is like a windowpane ….

Wedding vows ..