author Fred Irwin

Fred Irwin

I was born in 1937 in Brantford, Ontario, Canada. Both my parents were orphans and grade school dropouts, and wanted nothing more than for me, my older brother and sister to live beyond their own dreams. My father, my life-long hero was a fun- loving extroverted storyteller. My mother was mostly silent and strong. Dad was an old-time barber, a union leader, politically engaged, and a great debater, who sang to customers who came for a shave and a haircut, but also to go to the back room—read the racing form and to bet on the horses. That’s right my Dad was a small-town bookie!

I was reading the racing form and picking winners in high school. My dad taught me about money; from whence it comes and how it circulates through the economy. He placed side bets if his risk was too high that day. I sometimes laid off his bets to other small- town bookies on my bicycle after school. I was fully engaged in his daily business. He would come home at night and plunk his cash roll on the table for me to count. He took the difference and entered it in his little black book as “takin’s.” I cherish one of those little black books today.

His business peaked in 1949 when our family got its first car, but his health declined rapidly from that point. At 21 my father was off his feet for a year recovering from rheumatic fever. He was left with an enlarged heart that led to his early death at age 56. He lived to witness my graduation in 1963 with an MBA in finance and marketing. I was diagnosed with childhood arthritis at 13. We were told that my condition was inherited from my father and that I might very well grow out of it.

At the height of what I call my first business career in 1972 I had my significant emotional event (SEE) forever changing my sense of gratitude for life and the need to give back in every way possible. I was diagnosed  with rheumatoid arthritis, and took a full year off to recover as my father did when he was 21 years old. 

My personal SEE, and the love, appreciation and connection to my father  provides the strength and motivation for me to identify COVID-19 as a global SEE, and to link the recovery from that SEE to my own recovery, leaving out the story of my second business career; and jumping straight to my volunteer career now into its 15th year of  learning, innovating, connecting  and celebrating the future of building resilient communities using the Transition Towns model as interpreted in Transition Town Peterborough Inc.

NOW IS THE TIME! Is my first book to be published. After my second business career I wrote a book titled The Flight of the Wild Goose that told the story of the origin of my life time mantra and spoke to what I thought I learned in my two business careers …one before my SEE …one after my SEE. This book seems dated and insignificant now. My plan is to weave its contents into my memoirs titled An Ordinary Difference for my children and grandchildren.

All the best and cheers!  Fred

Fred Irwin book