Regina, Saskatchewan Canada
After stumbling upon the MRHS59.org Website launched by Don MacLean, I have had emails exchanges from almost a dozen old friends that I have not had contact with in almost fifty years.
What an honor, what a privilege.....how exciting.
So here is a profile of what I have done in fifty years.
Briefly.......I have had two marriages.....the first was fine, the second continues to be spectacular!
I have six children........three with the first marriage.....three acquired by virtue of the second marriage
We have 12 grandchildren...
I have lost one parent, my Dad, and one brother, Gaylen (MRHS63)
We have lost one child, our daughter Raylene who died by stroke at 31 years of age and one grandchild, Thomas, who died from leukemia at age 10.
I attended Lower Canada College Senior Matriculation year - successful. I played football for LCC and won the school's Brooke Claxton Public Speaking Contest that year. I spoke on why I believed the Law of Gravity should be repealed.
Then I attended first year Engineering - Queens University - Not Successfully
- I was a disk jockey on the Queens Radio Station
- that provided many opportunities to meet girls.
- Bought my first car - needed car to take out dates - disaster - required many $'s
- Delivered 350 papers every morning around Kingston to pay for car.
- Spent the rest of the day in bed recovering from nightly partying and early morning paper delivery.
Returned to Montreal and my my Dad got me a job at Peat, Marwick, Mitchell, Accounting firm. (They were his Company's auditors)
Attended first year Accounting for CA at McGill - night classes
- Received perfect score at Christmas Exam - top of class - 450 in that class
- Never went back to another McGill accounting lecture.
- attended Sir George William's University Night Classes first year commerce.
- became Vice-President of the Evening Students and sat on their council.
- met my first wide, Marilyn, who was a full time secretary for the Evening Students Council
- When Peat Marwick learned I no longer attended accounting classes they asked me to leave.
I married Marilyn, converted to the Orthodox Jewish Faith (that's a story I will write some day).
Marilyn's Dad helped me enter the schmatte trade (rag trade)
Thus, my next job was becoming a Receiving clerk in maternity clothing manufacturer - "Precious Secret Maternity Wear". Rolls and rolls of fabric arrived, and I helped receive and carry the rolls to the cutting tables for the cutters.
Staying in the rag trade, I moved up to become a shipper for a Cocktail Dress Manufacturer - "After Dark Fashions" and shipped dresses all over Canada.
Then I moved back to the primary side of the textile industry.
I became the production manager for two large textile mills. One in Frandmere, Quebac manufacturing acrylic knitting yarn for the sweater industry, and a spinning mill in Sutton Quebec manufacturing carpet yearn for the large carpet tufting industry.
Within a year or so I was promoted at Yarntex to be a salesperson to the Carpet, Cloth and Knitting Manufacturers.
- traveled throughout Quebec and Ontario visiting textile mills,,
Sold pile fabrics (fake fur) to Montreal's children's outerwear manufacturers working for Dobbie Industries, Guelph, Ontario.
Opened Four Stores in Old Montreal - 1967 approx
- Souvenir Boutique in Coffee shop corner of Bonsecours and
- "Maison Bonsecours" - Canadian Handicrafts and Furniture corner of Bonsecours and St Paul Street
- "Au Coin" - Impulse Souvenir Items
- Ice Cream Store on Bonsecours Street - enormously successful!!!
Started manufacturing French Canadian Furniture Antique reproductions with a couple of Italians who owned a furniture manufacturing operation in Montreal's China Town. We built hutch's, chairs, as well as kitchen, dining room and side tables.
We found a way to make the furniture to look antique by pouring coke over it and then hitting the item with a light chain.
Started a Newspaper for Old Montreal - three issues.
Drove Taxi full and part time.....learned Montreal streets.....experienced Montreal's night-time culture.......drove during the War Measure's Act.....
National Sales Manager for French Canadian Jewelry Manufacturer - Robert Larin - traveled through Quebec and Ontario primarily calling on handicraft and gift stores.
Attended the New York Jewelry show
Imported Semi Precious Stones from South Africa
Purchased a Florist Shop in Ville St. Laurent - Harry's Flower Den
Designed built and operated an Environmental Growing Chamber using fluorescent lights
Grew 5,000 African Violets under these lights along with other Tropicals.
Ran out of money...had to hand the business back to the former owner...very unpleasant time.
Started greenhouse growing
Opened second florist Shop in Ville St. Laurent. Quite successful this time but I became ill. Handed shop over to an employee......
Went to work for Import Bazaar (similar operation o Pier ! stores) Set up the plant departments in seven stores around Montreal.
Opened a huge plant store in the West Island Mall. Operated very successfully for seven months until the Center decided to renovate and seriously raise the rent making it no longer viable.
Fun Fact: I organized a Plant Jamboree one weekend for the Temple Beth Tikva in Dollard-Des-Ormeaux. I think we raised $25,000.00 for the synagogue and Hebrew School.
Sales Manager for Greenhouse Operation in Richelieu, Quebec......
Imported Tropical Plants from Florida....acclimatized them...then reshipped....especially to Woolco and Woolworth Stores
Took a 53 foot truck full of tropical plants to Newfoundland in the middle of winter.
Sales Manger for Dinnerware Manufacturer. Sial....traveled North America visiting top retailers.....Macy's, Bloomingdales,
Sold Residential Real Estate in Montreal's West Island Area for Wavis and Century 21 Real Estate.
Started a Relocation Referral business called Executive Relocation Services. Brought together Canadian Independent Real Estate Companies across Canada.....
Played with McGill Chamber music group.....Montreal Civic Orchestra.....did Broadway shows with Beth Tikva synagogue....Pajama Game. Chicago....
Church music at Christ Church Cathedral. Handel's Messiah.
1983 - Moved to Regina
Sold Investment & Residential Real Estate. Century 21 Dome (Conexus) Real Estate
We rented 2 Mercury Topazes, has telephone installed in each of them (we were way ahead of our time on that one) and we started selling Real Estate .... we sold over 100 houses a year for a couple of years 1984 and 1985....made some good money ... and loved every minute of it.
We used to eat out every night in a different fine restaurant, and some not so fine, and we had at least a liter of wine every night between us.
.Married in Toronto in 1985 - Honeymooned with USA auto trip.
Acquired Rental Properties with partners.....eventually owning a share in 85 suites, collecting rents.
Built 4 duplexes acting as the general contractor.
Basement - Boom - Bust ---- Basement - Boom - Boat?
1985 - Started Building computers in our basement
Boom - had to move out of basement to large building
1989 - 1992 - Built 15,000 computers...had 47 people working.....
April 1991 - Video from one of our very few Vacations during this time. Flew to Edmonton to visit the Edmonton Mall, rented a car and drove to Jasper Lodge - Really boring 18 minute video of our roadtrip.
April 1992 - Won an ABEX Award for business excellence......then within 2 months we hit rock bottom.
That year (1992) our margins dropped from 32% to 11% because of strong local competition...we lost $20,000 a week of gross profit....in 10 weeks we lost over $100,000 of equity and our business became totally insolvent. We closed the doors, lost everything, 45 people lost their jobs, and we lost our reputation.
Complete disaster...lots of very upset people......we should have moved out of Regina and started again.
Lessons Learned: NEVER go bust in a small city and expect to do well after that!.
Oh, and also, never give away Windows and DOS in the same City as the RCMP head office for commercial crime!
We were prosecuted under Canada's new Copyright Act - and made an example of.....
Helene, Unknown Pirate and John Duncan - January 1992 Microsoft Bandits!
Lots of TV and Newspaper coverage.....we were front page news for months.
Back to basement to start over...
Custom built computers -
Started selling Courses online - www.duncans.ca - we now offer close to 2,000 computer and business skills courses online.
Computer Camps........Young People program.
About this time we stopped smoking - groan...that was really hard! But our bodies were suffering and our wallets were thin.
We stopped drinking in 199???? - same story. Bodies were deteriorating and wallets were still very thin.
Started one of Canada's first eWaste Recycling Companies - www.ewastecanada.ca
Here is a short video taken in our building for a Television show on eWaste recycling.
Hosting Websites for Others - www.duncansonline.ca/hosting/pricing.htm
Discovered how to retire with debt using a four letter word - eBay
Selling Surveillance Cameras and Capture cards worldwide
- practicing violin (Vivaldi, Bach, Beethoven)
- walking and exercising every day (Tony Little Gazelle)
- losing weight - eating smarter!
- taking a graduate course on the Internet on Religious History - hedging my bet!
Other personal websites
Son Richard's Photography sites www.richphotography.ca www.sledbound.com/
Short video of Teddy May 2008 (2 minutes - crappy sound)
Yah - right! - well maybe?? - we do plan to live forever!!!
As our income is now Internet based we are free to start traveling.
First Major Trip - Muskoka Lakes - July 2008 - Family Reunion - Mom's 90th Birthday
Notes to self---
Dates: Married - Children - Jobs and Careers - Deaths