beebewitz bio

I was born in Canton, Ohio, and lived there until my family moved to a turkey farm near Sugarcreek, Ohio in 1972. In 1974, we moved briefly to Grand Marais, Minnesota, where I attended most of my 7th grade school year. In the spring of 1975, my dad was hired by a music engraver in Goodwood, Ontario, and we immigrated to Canada. In June 1976, we moved to a Christian community in Upsala, Ontario.

I spent my teenage years in Upsala working draft horses, trapping, hunting, fishing, farming, and having lots of fun. There was no high school in Upsala, so my education was a combination of experience mixed with night classes hosted by a retired school teacher (I did eventually earn a high school diploma by hook and by crook).

In 1978, I spent a few months at a ranch near Invermere, BC, learning how to train and care for horses. Lots of good memories there.

In May of 1984, I felt change in the wind, and co-started a logging partnership to earn some cash. I didn't quite know what what the change would be, but I assumed that it would require money.

In June 1985, at the ripe age of 23, I hopped a bus for San Francisco, then flew to Japan to (presumably) help a missionary friend raise horses to work a small farm that she operated as part of her mission work. I found out almost immediately that the horse idea was only that - an idea - and that she really needed help teaching English classes. This didn't appeal to my wild and wacky wilderness sensibilities, but I had little choice . . . I had spent most of my money on a one-way ticket. I ended up liking the work, and spent the next four years raising rice in the summer, shovelling snow in the winter (they get a LOT of snow on that side of Japan), and teaching English part time throughout the year. It was a turning point in my life.

In 1989, I returned to Upsala, and hung out in limbo for a few years. In 1992, I met a wonderful girl who was crazy enough to marry me. With the wedding date rapidly approaching, I decided I'd better get a real job, so a friend and I started yet another a logging business.

Logging never really agreed with me, but the alternate option of abject poverty kept me in the business until 1996, when the Upsala Volunteer Fire Department decided to hire a full time chief (who would also be training officer, secretary, janitor, grease monkey, and jack of every other trade). I applied and was hired. It wasn't high paying, but I liked the work, and it was unquestionably better than bushwhacking or abject poverty.

In 2001, my wife and I moved off of the Christian community, and rented a house in the village of Upsala.

In 2002, I applied to work as a contract instructor for the Ontario Fire College. My children (who were born in 1995 and 1998) were growing rapidly, and I needed to supplement my income. Happily, I was hired to work on an as-needed basis, and a new era of my life started. My English teaching experience was an asset, and I found that instructing soon became the best part of my working life.

I also enrolled in the Ontario Fire College Company Officer Program in 2002, and obtained my diploma in 2006. Almost immediately after graduating, I enrolled in a writing course for children's literature. My goal was to publish a series of stories that I had told to my own children over the years. Now it's 2012, and the stories are rusting away in an old, dusty folder, deep in the hard drive of my laptop. The silver lining is that I pursued writing further, and in 2007 my first article was published in the Web Exclusives section of Firefighting in Canada. From 2009 - 2011 I wrote for the Canadian Fire and EMS Quarterly. From January to May 2012, my articles were published in the magazine version of Firefighting in Canada.

I like living on the far-flung peripheral edge of the universe (as I call Upsala), but my family wanted to live closer to civilization, so in December 2011, I resigned from my full time position in Upsala to accept a part time temporary position as Manager of the Pre Service Firefighter Program at Confederation College in Thunder Bay. In May of 2012 I was hired by the Ontario Fire College to the full time permanent position of Northern Instructor, with responsibility to coordinate training in Northwestern Ontario. This means changes for me, including the start of a new career, and the end of my foray into the world of writing, at least for now.  

So there you have it. I was going to call this "a brief beebewitz bio," but after rereading it, I decided to drop the "brief." The saga continues . . .

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