Auto-Biography: Chapter 1 - Childhood
I was born into this world on February 25th, 1982, originally as the son of Brenda Davis. My name was first deemed to be Darrick Davis. My birth mother was 16 when she had me, and had chosen to give me up for Adoption following the advice of a priest and a doctor. At the time it wasn't typical for a 16 year old to be able to support a child. I was adopted out to a wonderful family which became my family as far as I knew it. I was then known as Scott Thomson. My older sister Leanne is 7 years older. She is the biological child of my parents.
My childhood was good. I grew up in a small 'village' called Thornhill, Ontario. It was just North of the Toronto border, and located within the Town of Markham, which is now a City. My mother was a stay at home mother, who had a work from home part time job. My father was a banker and then a financial controller, who worked hard to provide for the family. Sometimes too hard, as eventually it was revealed that he went into debt to try to provide for us. I would say we were doing alright, but I wasn't really spoiled at all. I had a few nice toys, but I didn't get anything I wanted. I often had to be creative and build things like forts or 'go karts' myself. I would find things in people's garbage like old computers or TV's, and old lawn mowers, and I would fix them up or take them apart and see how they worked and recover good parts to use in other things I build.
I had a few friends growing up, but I enjoyed tinkering more so than socializing. I would construct huge 'crawl through' mazes in the basement out of furniture and create huge garden towns with my hot-wheels and tonka trucks. The mazes were neat because my friends and I would take turns playing hide and seek in them - and the hiders could re-arrange them. And then the lights would be turned off and the seekers would have to navigate the maze in the dark. Super fun.
At one point I was crawling on some furniture in said basement, and it collapsed under my weight and caused some of my front teeth to be pushed up and have the circulation cut off. They turned black after a while, but then on a trip to Disney Land I tripped and fell at the fountain, and hit my big front teeth again, and this had a magical effect of knocking them back into place, and the circulation returned, making them white again.
I also used to enjoy playing Cops and Robbers, and would always be the cop. The neighborhood, I am sure, was very familiar with the sound of my siren that I was able to produce with just my voice. This is when I first began playing with radios / 'walkie-talkies'. I had some challenging 'robbers' who I used to play with. Namely Stephen Murphey, and a kid named Conrad, there was also a kid named Kevin, I believe who was more so Stephen's friend, but often hung out with us. Many a times we had some wild chases, in some cases ending up with me ramming my bike into the bad guys bike and then tackling them on the ground and wrestling them into some play handcuffs that I had. Funnily enough the toy store (probably adult play cuffs) that I had, were not strong enough and Steve was able to break out of them. So I think early on in my childhood I actually acquired somehow some real Smith and Wesson handcuffs.
I ended up modifying some of my dad's old golf bag caddy's, and with a little work, I was able to throw together a little airplane once in the garage one summer. I used a long 2x4, and some 2x2 struts, with some garbage bags as a 'fabric' to create a wing surface. I also installed a motor on the front from an old lawn mower, tho it wasn't really usable. This little contraption I built did fly! I towed it on my bike really quickly down the road, and it did take off. It pulled me off my bike as it climbed, and then rolled to the right, crashing into a neighbors garbage can in the process. Kinda neat!
I was also collecting and 'borrowing' traffic cones and road signs at this tender age too. I was fascinated with trucks, cars, and roadways. As well as the rules of the road. I remember I once built a stop light with the help of my dad. I think I was maybe 6 or 7. One of the more memorable Christmas presents was one that my Mother and Sister got for me for free. They had been out doing some last minute shopping, and had found a Construction Traffic Barrel nearby, and had brought it home to place beside the tree for me. I was so excited.
I was raised Roman Catholic, and in the Catholic school system during my whole school tenure. I was an Altar boy at Good Sheppard Roman Catholic Church in Thornhill, Ontario. I was in boy scouts and played a lot of sports. Baseball, Football, and most commonly Hockey, where I earned awards as the 'Most Offensive Defenseman' in my region. Hockey was indeed my favorite sport, and continues to be so today.
By the time I was 12 I was printing my own circuit boards in the garage. Once I spilled the chemical (ferric chloride) used to etch the boards, and it burnt a hole in the garage floor. My poor dad was so upset with me. But yes, I would build my own electronics and keep myself busy. I was selective with what topics I cared about at School. Some I excelled in, others I just barely passed because I didn't care enough about them. My mom was always there to help me with my homework. My dad was a good dad too, but there were many times that I was a bratty kid and butted heads with him. But he did generally keep me in line. I will admit that there were times that I was a lot to handle. I still can be that way too.
When I was around 11 or so, my father decided that we needed to do one of two things for the household. I recall it was a very serious meeting in the kitchen, and we as a family had to vote on it. The choices were having an in ground pool installed - which would raise the value of the home. Or having the basement remodeled in order to make it into an apartment to rent out. The choice for us kids was simple, The Pool! Who wanted strangers living int he house? And loosing the basement was a horrible idea for me, as that is where much of my tinkering occurred. Not to mention spin the bottle, and other such early adventures with members of the opposite sex. Little did we realize that there was a motive to this choice - and that motive was to help recover some serious debt that my father had built up.
The pool was built, and I had a blast. I learned to swim very quickly, and was in the water often. I am sure it didn't help matters with the bills when I would turn the heat up fairly high and leave the pool heater on. But what did I know about finances at this time in my life? I think perhaps that is why I am still not great with finances. Finances were not often really talked about when I was a kid, because I think my dad didn't want to really reveal how bad things were.
I was also curious about emergency services at this young age, and would follow the fire trucks to their calls. One of the calls I ended up going to was a horrible fatality of a mother and child which were crushed when a dump truck crashed through their house after losing control on a highway. I had been on scene through the whole search effort, and was aware of the tragic details.
I ended up coming across a kid around my age who was a neighbor to the victims. He was very excited and animated. There were about 28 fire trucks on his small street, and 2 medivac helicopters had landed during the event to evacuate other victims from a church bus which was hit in the process. The child explained how he was friends with the kid who lives in the house, and told me they were playing with him outside when his mother had called him in for lunch just before the truck hit. I knew the child's fate, but didn't want to be the bearer of bad news, and so I only solomely said 'gee, well I hope you friend ends up being rescued'.
The other child said 'No, he and his mother are already dead.'
I replied, surprised, 'Well, aren't you sad about that? that is horrible.'
He chuckled, and said 'Nah, it is okay. We didn't like him too much anyhow.'
I walked away. I didn't realize it then, but that interaction changed me and caused me to grow up very quickly. I had no time or energy to direct toward immature or child like behaviour as I ventured into my high school years.