Submitted by Frank Proctor

Serendipity – defined as making unexpected and fortunate discoveries, a fluke, a stroke of luck. The unraveling of this tale requires me to share a bit of personal history. I’m Frank Proctor, a veteran radio announcer/actor and author of the children’s book “The Day the Welland Canal Monster Met Santa.

I’m new here in Hamilton. I have had the love of two women in my life, Di Nyland, whom many will recognize as “Tracy” in the Trouble with Tracy, a CTV production in the early 70’s as well as a recognized Director and choreographer of many plays and musicals. We were married for almost 45 years. She passed away in 2014 at the too early age of 70. I thought my heart would break but then I was so fortunate to meet Shirley, a woman who helped me through my grief. After her passing in 2023 and having shared our life for 9 years, I was reminded of some sage advice from a grief counselor. “You don’t get over it, rather you get through it”. And that’s when the most amazing thing happened. My eldest son Kelly and his wife Kitty said “Don’t worry Dad we have a soft-landing spot for you at our home in Hamilton”. This may be a regular occurrence in many other cultures but not so much here in Canada. So, at the end of August last year I became a Hamiltonian and have been slowly trying to find new adventures and new friends.

The first of two serendipitous moments happened when Kitty, a nurse at a local doctor’s office brought home a publication I had not seen before; North End Breezes. Though I have just turned 82, I remember with fondness being employed as a Sunday evening copy boy for the London Free Press when I was 16. This lowly job helped gain a love and respect for the fourth estate. Noting The Breezes has been in existence for over 50 years is reason enough to celebrate. Intrigued by this feisty paper I decided to go to the office to meet a member of the staff. I was greeted at the door by two wee friendly dogs and coordinator Brenda Duke who made me feel most welcome and issued an invitation to submit an article. It was the kick in the backside I needed to get moving and do something constructive. Hence this article.

I’m planning a follow-up serendipitous moment about Beautiful Scars at Theatre Aquarius. The performance was mesmerizing! Congratulations to the cast and crew who delivered a powerful and touching show with wonderful harmonious music under the direction of Bob Foster. That night solidified my decision to attend every performance in the future. But the extra treat was the unexpected meeting of a very special person who was seated next to me. For Serendipity Two, stay tuned! (Sorry, Old habits are hard to break)