Remembrance Day

Remembrance Day
A Facebook note from 12 November 2008 at 23:26

One of my favourite people of all time is Ted Scaysbrook. A decorated war veteran who was a staple at the mall every November. He stood for hours on end, always with a smile on his face, in full uniform, including his purple heart. But that is not where we met…it’s just the last time I remember seeing him.

Ted had been a staple in my life for many years; he was employed by the York Region school board as a janitor. He remains to this day one of the sweetest, happiest and most influential people I have EVER met.

You can ask most of my schoolmates over the years – Ted will be someone they can recall very fondly. He made a point of talking to EVERY kid he saw – he knew hundreds of us by name, and had nicknames for many that he remembered and used – for years after. I don’t know if his intention was to model kindness and love, or if it just came naturally. Whichever way it happened, to me he is probably about as close to an angel as I ever expect to meet.

The best thing about Ted was that he never had favourites. He treated everyone with the same amount of enthusiasm and interest; we were all special. I remember playing the Tin Man in our rendition of “The Wizard of Oz” in 1978 or 1979. My costume was made of sheets of Bristol board that had been spray-painted silver. I was unable to bend my knees in this getup, so Ted carried me up & down the stage stairs every time I was on – which was quite a bit! He was also there every night to provide the scary thunder sounds, using a piece of sheet metal.

People in high school would sometimes laugh at me when they heard Ted call me by my nickname – Squeak – but I was proud of my name. I was proud to know Ted.

Despite all of the horrors he must have seen during the war, he never wore it as a burden. Instead he used his life experience to help enrich the lives of others in thousands of small ways; grasping your hands in his as he lowered himself to look straight in your eyes and say with a big smile “How are ya today?”. His positive energy made it impossible to be anything but as happy as he was – even if just for that moment.

He was also never shy when asked about the war. He would tell you with tears in his eyes just how awful it was and how we should all work hard towards caring for one another instead of fighting. And he walked that talk every day.

Every year at this time I remember Ted and give thanks for not only his sacrifice as a young man, when he went off to fight for every freedom I have, but also for the gift of having known such a fine human being. He shaped me perhaps more than any teacher.


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. samstein
    Jan 17, 2014 @ 17:49:36

    I also remember Ted, he was a very kind, gentle man! I smile when I think of him. lol. ps. I remember seeing him at the beer store a lot. ( I worked across the street, lol)


  2. Maria Malott
    Jan 18, 2014 @ 02:55:46

    This is so touching, Shar.


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