Skid row life in Vancouver BC and the downtown east side of Gastown. Homeless street life between the Hildon Hotel, Gastown Hotel, Piccadilly Pub & Vancouver Provincial Criminal Court
I started selling, assembling, repairing, and upgrading new and used computers. Eventually, Envirotech Computers took an office just off Russ Baker Way in Richmond. The new office was located in the Airport Hanger on Airport Road South in Richmond. The primary occupant at the time was Time Air. They were a regional carrier in Western Canada.
I worked through the Christmas Season at the office at 5400 Airport Road South in Richmond in 1991. Early in 1992 John Lok left the business because of a conflict of interest, as he was a Canadian Airlines Employee. I was working for Canadian Airlines providing equipment for Pilot Training. He was also recycling Canadian Airlines equipment into Kinghaven and Peardonsville Drug and Alcohol Rehabilitation Centres in Abbotsford. In the spring of 1992 Envirotech Canada started importing computer notebooks for Vancouver area customers. Envirotech Canada continued importing computer notebooks from Los Angeles to Vancouver for sale locally and for wholesale distribution across Canada.
In October of 1992 Envirotech Computers moved to a new office on Voyageur Way in Richmond. Between the retail computers, commercial customers, business networks, and the computer notebooks I had a viable business. The second Christmas season for Envirotech Computers passed in December of 1992 on Voyageur Way in Richmond. In 1993, I had been running Envirotech Computers from Vancouver and Richmond for close to 3 years. He and the staff had built up the small business to 3 people before Revenue Canada decided to increase duties on the computer notebooks retroactively in summer of 1993. The importation of the computer notebooks eventually caused the failure of Envirotech Computers.
The border duties from Los Angeles were increased retroactive to a year previous by Revenue Canada. They changed their own position letter of a year ago, and Revenue Canada increased the duty by 2 1/2 times what the company had already paid. This covered a full year where the company lost money on every transaction for the last year, on the import of the notebook computers. The business was crushed!
I shut the company down, and left Revenue Canada with a $40,000.00 dollars in non collectable debt on the company. I was able to hold on to about $6,000.00 in cash which he had saved over the last few years. He took a trip to Mazatland Mexico for a month in late 1993 when he gave up the office lease. He returned from Mazatland in late December, when he was running low on cash. He ended up on the lower East Side of Vancouver once again renting a room at the Patricia Hotel again with no business, no job, no money, no income, and no immediate future.
Late in 1993, he fought to get the UI Benefits which Envirotech Computers had paid when it was in operation. For those who have never seen the lower East Side of Vancouver, it feels the way it looks at Christmas. The New Year began alone in the Patricia Hotel watching the Canadian Juniors with Paul Kariya loosing in a heartbreaking loss in Fussen Germany. The players went on to their new teams, and I tried to start over, but he fell into the Vancouver East Side. I choose to drown my business losses at the Piccadilly Pub in downtown Vancouver occasionally in the fall of 1994. This is where he met Jimmy the Junkie for the first time in the spring of 1994. Jimmy the Junkie was collecting welfare, thieving, home invading, and promoting his sideline with his white Pants on a Hastings Street curb. Jimmy the Junkie worked his curb with his white pants for extra cash in between his scores and home invasions. Through to this point, I had not seen Jimmy the Junkie living with a women.
Meanwhile, Rohel moved from the Patricia Hotel on 403 East Hastings St, to the Hildon Hotel at 50 West Cordova Street in April of 1994. The Vancouver Canucks were starting their playoff run which would end in a disappointing loss on June 14th, as the Vancouver Canucks lost to the New York Rangers in the 7th game. Vancouver had a riot after the loss. I watched from the Hildon.
I liked the Hildon, as it was closer to his new favourite bar The LampLighter Pub in Gastown. He enjoyed playing foosball at the The Lamplighter Pub where the competition was tense. The Vancouver Steam Clock lives in Gastown just outside the bar. It hoots and whistles and steam pours out of vents at the top and sides every 15 minutes. People like to gather and wait for it to sound again.
When at the Piccadilly Pub one day Jimmy the Junkie brought up computers with Rohel and like a fool, he did not say "No". He got to know more about Jimmy the Junkie and the possibility of buying computers from him. I learned that Jimmy the Junkie was living with his thieving partner "Jeff The Junkie" in a rooming house 1/2 block straight West of the The Lamplighter Pub called The Gastown Hotel at 110 Water Street. When facing the front of the building on Water Street, Jimmy the Junkie and Jeff shared the West Room on the 2 ND floor with one Queen size bed. They both collected their welfare checks here in the spring of 1994. Jeff becomes Number 3 in Jimmy the Junkie's crew. I has never seen Jimmy the Junkie with a women. He just assumes they were sharing the bed! Now, the stage is set for what becomes a short and painful experience of buying a few stolen computers in the downtown East Side of Vancouver in 1994. It just so happens that Jimmy the Junkie and Jeff actually live about 2 blocks from my place at the Hildon. My entire life is now 2 blocks to Becky's on Idylwyld Drive in Saskatoon, and 2 blocks to Jimmy the Junkie's on Water Street in Vancouver, for a total of 4 blocks on the road to Hell.
I started with my background in computers, existing customers, friends, and a Classified Ad. I was able to get together a few customers for Jimmy the Junkie and Jeff at the Gastown Hotel on Water Street in Vancouver. I sold a few computers provided by Jimmy the Junkie and Jeff in the spring of 1994. Personal computers were still quite expensive and their was still a strong used market value for computers.
I lent Jimmy the Junkie and Jeff a Hyundai 4 door Hatchback that I had previously registered under Envirotech Canada Computer Services in Richmond in 1992. I naively gave them the keys and address of the car. The car was parked at Ray Johnstone' s house on Austin Ave in Coquitlam. It had been parked there since I went to Mazatland in October of 1993. Jimmy the Junkie and Jeff stopped in at Ray's place on Austin Ave just East of the The John B Neighbourhood Pub in Coquitlam. Jimmy the Junkie and Jeff told Ray they were going to take the car, and he showed them where the car was located. Ray gave them a boost to get the car started, and the "computer bandits" were on the road. I really was a naive tourist in the downtown East Side of Vancouver. He was naive in giving Jimmy the Junkie and Jeff the car.Jimmy the Junkie and Jeff had the car for 2 - 3 weeks before the trouble started. Jimmy the Junkie and Jeff got busted!
They were caught by the police using my car to steal for someone else, as was admitted by Jeff. They were caught by the police speeding downtown after a theft or home invasion. It could have been either, because they had cash in their pockets. This was typical of Jimmy the Junkie The Junkie and Jeff The Junkie at the time. They were just too jacked up to handle any responsibility whatsoever. It's no wonder Junkies like Jimmy the Junkie and Jeff had a duration of about 6 months between sentences. Why did they speed downtown?
They wanted heroin! Whether, it was a theft or a home invasion they had cash. Jimmy the Junkie and Jeff were like impulsive 2 year old children. They had no self control. Whether they had cash from a home invasion or from a theft, like most 2 year olds they could not handle the responsibility of a new toy. Like 2 year olds, they lost the car, and they were punished by the law. This is just the way Jimmy the Junkie and Jeff were in summer of 1994. This may not have been the first time Jimmy the Junkie was busted racing downtown to buy drugs. However, it definitely was not the last time he would pull this stunt. Jimmy the Junkie the driver took the charges for the stolen property, and Jeff the passenger walked.
In the past, I had never dealt money with Jeff. But when Jimmy the Junkie was awaiting trial in his cell, he made one deal with Jeff. Jeff gave me an older box for a couple of hundred cash late in the summer of 1994. Jeff claims he had been trying to get a little cash together for Jimmy the Junkie's lawyer. Jeff and I also went to the Vehicle Impound Lot on Clark Street to look at the Hyundai 4 Door Hatchback. I looked at the damage, and he decided to leave the car in the Impound Lot on Clarke Street in Vancouver.
I went to Jimmy the Junkie's court date with Jeff about 1 month later. In the Provincial Criminal Court at 222 Main Street in Vancouver, the police testified that they had trapped Jimmy the Junkie who had been speeding. When the police had Jimmy the Junkie trapped, he tried to get away by driving through the cop cars. The police testified that they had him stopped. They testified that several cops had to jump out of the way to avoid being hit. The car took some body damage, and both Jeff and Jimmy the Junkie were busted using my Hyundai to steal computers for someone else. Arthur De Meulemeester was Jimmy The Junkies lawyer in Provincial Court. I was involved because Jimmy The Junkie was using my car at the time.
Arthur De Meulemeester was a well known trial lawyer in Vancouver, who generously donated time to Provincial Court Judge Jack McGivern UBC Criminal Clinic for 17 years. I signed Provincial Court documents in the Summer of 1994 supplied by Jimmy the Junkie's lawyer Arthur De Meulemeester, claiming my car was not stolen. I signed my document at Arthur De Meulemeester's in the spring of 1994 to help Jimmy The Junkie and Jeff, while I knew they were theiving together at that time. In hindsight, I don't mind people knowing they were sharing a bed at the Gastown Hotel, and that Jimmy the Junkie and Jeff were just a straight up rats! Jimmy the Junkies boy Jeff should have had the guts and the brains to put a stop to Jimmy the Junkie after the home invasion, instead Jeff turned himself, his friends, and his tribe into rats in the Port of Vancouver. Art was working out of his office at 202 - 119 Pender Street West, Vancouver BC. These documents were then submitted in court by Arthur De Meulemeester so the Crown did not charge Jimmy the Junkie and Jeff with auto theft. The crown had initiated the auto theft charges because Jimmy the Junkie had no paperwork for the car. I went in and signed a paper stating that the car was not stolen by Jimmy the Junkie and Jeff. Later, I watched in court as Jimmy the Junkie was handed 6 months by the judge in Provincial Court in Vancouver on Main Street.
This was the last time I had dealings with Jimmy the Junkie and his Crew until the spring of 1997. The lesson was simple, stolen computers are not cheap! In fact they don't even cover the cost of the car they lost. As for Jimmy the Junkie The Junkie in white pants on Hastings Street, and I thought he should best stick to his curb on Hastings Street with his thumb out! I had enough of the downtown East Side of Vancouver. It was time to get a job! Time to get a life!
After Jimmy the Junkie lost my Hyundai in the summer of 1994 I met Barb Miner downtown at the Lamplighter Pub. Barb was drinking with a friend on Water Street in Gastown in Vancouver. Barb had been living with her Grandmother in Langley at the time, while she was taking therapy for a head injury after a severe motorcycle accident while riding from Victoria to Vancouver. They went out together for a few weeks, before Barb brought I to see her parents Tom and Barbara Miner in Nelson, British Columbia, Canada. Nelson is situated 657 km from Vancouver. They left North Vancouver heading to Nelson. I was leaving my downtown lifestyle both physically and emotionally. He was anxious to leave that life behind him. Barb's family was great!
They started driving on the # 1 Trans Canada Hwy heading southeast for 1 1/2 hours. They continued on the # 3 Crowsnest Hwy for 7 km, before they took the # 3 Crowsnest Hwy exit toward Princeton/Penticton/Osoyoos for 1 km. They merged onto the # 3 Crowsnest Hwy for 2 1/2 hours before making a left then a right to continue on the # 3 Crowsnest Hwy for 3 hours. Finally, they took the # 3A exit toward Nelson, where they merged onto the #3A for 1/2 hour, before taking the #3A exit to Nelson centre. I hoped that the paperwork he signed for Jimmy the Junkie's lawyer Art Demeulemeester at the court house on Main Street would not come back to haunt him.
Nelson is one of the prettiest towns in British Columbia! I was happy to have gotten away from the downtown east side in Vancouver. He like the Nelson situated on the shores of the huge Kootenay Lake in the Rockies. I met Tom Miner and his wife Barb for the first time that August. I had to ask Tom Miner if their was any relationship to Billy Miner The Legendary Canadian Train Robber? Tom Miner denied any family relationship. Tom was careful to point out that "most Canadians know they nabbed Billy Miner in Nelson. He went on to explain that people assume he came from Nelson. Billy Miner was born in 1847 in Bowling Green, Kentucky, and he did not come from Nelson. Tom was also convinced that there was no genetic link to his family in Nelson. I thought about Jimmy the Junkie and his home invasions. He was happy to be out of the Vancouver East Side where Nelson reminded him of his small town roots.
Barb and I spent the first night at Tom and Barb's house in Nelson. Barb slept in her old room, while I slept in the spare room. I was exhausted. The country air was fresh, and the silence of the small town made him incredibility relaxed. The next day they went to Winlaw with Tom and Barbara. The four of them went to visit Barb's sister Teresa. Teresa lived with Garland who would be Barb's future brother i law. Teresa and Garland had their baby girl Melissa (aka Precious). Winlaw was a very small town, and I considered it to be smaller than St. Brieux. I hoped Jimmy the Junkie and his Crew never went through Winlaw.
Teresa and Garland lived 20 minutes out of Nelson on Harasemow Road in Winlaw. Barb and I followed Tom and Barbara in their truck. They turned right at the # 3A Hwy, before taking the # 3A to the ramp to Castlegar. Finally, they merged onto the # 3A / # 6 for 21 km to Winlaw. Winlaw is situated in the Slocan Valley which is surrounded by the Valhalla and Selkirk Mountain Ranges. The weather was hot, beautiful, and sunny in late August of 1994, when Barb and I helped Tom and Garland drywall the ceiling of the shop on their acreage that first visit in August of 1994. I like Garland, Teresa, and Melissa. He was starting to think he could get a normal life on track after 6 months in the downtown east side of Vancouver.
Tom, Garland, and I finished with the roof on Sunday afternoon. It had taken two days to drywall the roof of the shop. Barb and I took this opportunity to take a 2 hour tire tube ride down the Slocan River. They were both in their 30's, and the sun, the riverbank, the river, and the mountains, passed by as they glided downstream on their tubes. They finished their tube ride down the river for 4 kilometres, and Barb and I made their plans to head back to Vancouver the next day. After the weekend Barb and I arrived back in Vancouver with Barb's car late Monday.
I gave notice at the Hildon Hotel, and his friend Bob in North Vancouver helped him find an apartment in the complex he lived in at North Vancouver. Barb let her Grandmother know that she was going to be leaving her place in Langley. I moved out the Hildon Hotel on Cordova in Gastown, and he stayed with Bob in North Vancouver for 2 weeks while the apartment was being painted and the floors sanded. They moved into an apartment at 2170 Dollarton Hwy in the Maplewood Apartments in North Vancouver. They took a ground level apartment facing Dollarton Hwy in September 1994. I started working again by buying, selling, upgrading, and repairing computers from the Maplewood Apartments in North Vancouver. There was no sign of Jimmy the Junkie, Little Mike, Mike, and Jeff. Life was normal.
I went back to work for himself in the computer business. While, Barb and I were in North Vancouver I advertised my computer services in the Vancouver Sun. He built a computer for one Fireman from The North Vancouver Fire Department. The customer chatted up my computers at the Fire House. The North Vancouver Firemen bought a good number of computers from I that Christmas in 1994. There was no sign of Jimmy the Junkie and Jeff, and their absence suited I. The dust had just settled from the Christmas rush, when Barb was packed to go back to Nelson for Christmas. Barb was excited, and they prepared to go to Winlaw and Nelson for the holidays.
Barb and I took Barb's car to Nelson for their first Christmas in Nelson. They both enjoyed Christmas in the Kootenay. They stayed together downstairs at Garland's and Teresa's in Winlaw. Tom and Barbara commuted back and forth from their house in Nelson that Christmas. Barb was having a lot of fun with Melissa, as she would have been close to a year old that first Christmas. While, Melissa did not really understand what was going on for Christmas, she was a happy baby! Barb and I enjoyed their holidays with Tom, Barb, Garland, Teresa, and Melissa. They returned to North Vancouver and Dollarton Hwy after Christmas.
Jimmy the Junkie and Jeff were a long past life by December 1994 in North Vancouver. Both Jimmy the Junkie and Jeff knew I did not cause their problems. They were stealing for someone else, how could I have had anything to do with their problems. Jimmy the Junkie in white pants on Hastings Street in Vancouver was gone! He could keep his "tricks" downtown. Barb and I were trying to get a life going together. They struggled to get started in Vancouver, and gradually I found more customers.
The Slocan Valley is between the Valhalla and Selkirk Mountain Ranges just outside of Nelson British Columbia on the edge of the Kootenay Lake in the Canadian Rockies. The Legendary Canadian Train Robber Billy Miner was caught in Nelson. Barb and I roofed in Winlaw, and they took their tube down the Slocan River. They moved in together in North Vancouver, before returning to visit for Christmas 1994.
Barb and I enjoyed the Maplewood area of North Vancouver. The area was originally known as Tsleil-Waututh by the Aboriginals who lived at the mouth of Seymour River. Tsleil-Waututh can be translated to "People of the Inlet". They were Coast Salish people who spoke the Halkomelem language. Their "territory" was about 1000 square kilometres from the Fraser River in the south to Mamquam Lake in the north. The white settlers put the Tsleil-Waututh First Nation members live on a reserve between what is now Maplewood Flats and Deep Cove on the north shore of Burrard Inlet. The Pacific Coast Aboriginals weren't in the ratting raping home invading Clan from Clavet. They were defined as Aboriginals, so they got their reserve from what would arguable become the most valuable real estate in Canada. Barb had eye surgery early in January to repair damage from her motorcycle accident. Meanwhile, Barb and I continued building up the computer business in North Vancouver.
Barb and I were getting along well, however Barb missed her family in the Langley area. I wanted Barb to be happy, and he gave in to her wishes to move to Aldergrove in February of 1997. Barb found a place on 272 ND Street in Aldergrove 1/2 block north of the Alder Inn Hotel. I justified the Aldergrove, Langley, Abbotsford area because he was doing computer work for Kinghaven and Peardonsville Drug and Alcohol Rehabilitation Centres just outside of Abbotsford. They gave their notice to the Maplewood Apartments on the 1st of March 1997, and they left the ghosts of the "People of the Inlet" behind!
The moving day started out poorly as Barb got into an accident while picking up boxes at the Liquor Store in the morning. She was shaken from the accident, however fortunately she did not sustain any injuries. The car took heavy damage on the front left bumper and fender. Barb and I rented a U Haul Trailer for the weekend. They were able to move in early because the brand new apartment was vacant since the 21 ST of March. They moved in on Saturday Mar 25th in one trip. Bob pulled the U Haul Trailer with his Subaru Legacy while Barb and I followed with the car loaded for the 60 km trip to Aldergrove. They headed west on Dollarton Hwy towards Amherst Avenue where they took the # 1 Hwy / Trans Canada Hwy ramp to Vancouver. They crossed the Iron Workers Memorial Bridge (Second Narrows) from North Vancouver to Vancouver. They followed the Trans Canada Hwy from there to where they merged left to follow the Trans Canada Hwy 10 km through Vancouver towards Burnaby. They crossed East Hastings Street, Lougheed Hwy, Broadview Park, Douglas Road, and Sprott Street as they entered Burnaby. They made the left turn on Sprott Street, before they turned right on to Kensington Avenue. They continued heading east on the south side of Burnaby Lake, before they passed by Robert Burnaby Park on the Trans Canada Hwy.
Barb, Bob, and I drove past Brunette Avenue towards the Port Mann Bridge in Coquitlam. They crossed the Port Mann Bridge over the Fraser River, before they continuing east past 104th Avenue towards Aldergrove on the Trans Canada Hwy. They passed the Tynehead Regional Park as they approached 176th Street. They continued on the Trans Canada Hwy passing the 200th Street Exit. They passed Willoughby Park and Walnut Grove Park before crossing the 208th Street Exit. They were out of the traffic congestion, and the move was going well for Bob, Barb, and I.
They crossed Glover Road where Trinity Western University is on the south side of the Trans Canada Hwy. They continued through Langley past 232 ND Street and 248th Street before turning south at Exit 73 on 264th Street. They came to the Fraser Hwy where they turned left towards Aldergrove where they turned left once again at the Alder Inn Hotel located at 27214 Fraser Hwy Aldergrove. Their new apartment with underground parking was 1/2 block north of the Alder Inn Hotel on Aldergrove on 272 ND Street. They were happy to arrive as the first tenants of the new 3 story building brick building.
Bob returned to Vancouver at the end of the day after they unloaded the trailer in the carport. Meanwhile, Barb and I had a lease for their new apartment on the second floor at the back at the back of the building which facing south. Barb loved the new place! She had 2 Uncle's in Aldergrove, and 1 in Maple Ridge. Her Grandmother lived just outside of Langley. I believed he had left his 6 month career downtown. He was over the loss of Envirotech Canada, and he was going to try to start over. He was a million miles from the downtown east side on Hastings Street.
Barb and I drank occasionally in the Alder Inn Hotel. Barb had a biker background in Nelson, Kelowna, Edmonton, and Victoria before she met I. She also knew "The Boys" around Aldergrove because of the family factor. Shortly, after Barb and I arrived in Aldergrove, Barb sat them down at "The Table" in the Alder Inn Hotel. It was her way to let "The Boys" know that she was with I. I was a little nervous. He was just a civilian. They stayed for a few drinks as "The Table" started to fill up for their meeting. Barb and I showed respect, and they left "The Boys" to their business at "The Table" in the bar. Barb and I had a normal life in Aldergrove. I has never had a problem with "The Boys". The 6 months in downtown Vancouver was distant history, and Barb was healing up from her eye surgery. Life was normal.
Barb and I drank occasionally in the Alder Inn Hotel from April 1996 - March 1997. They associated with patrons of the bar. Barb and I never sat at "The Table", as I has never had a "Patch" in his life. Barb and I showed respect in the bar, and "The Boys" went about their business. On one occasion, one of the boys from "The Table" came over to socialize with Barb, I, Jake and his girlfriend. Barb and I had been doing a little favour for Jake to help him get back on his feet. Meanwhile, the 5 of them sat together for a drink. Jake assured him that we were not going to be a problem even though he recognized Barb. We had a drink at a table. Life was normal in Aldergrove as the 6 month downtown East Side was now a distant past.
Life was normal. Barb and I were just making it on a little business from Kinghaven and Peardonsville. I sold a few computers from Wes Micro, and he spent a lot of time studying Internet Technologies. I ventured a little on to the wild side, and he put a few marijuana plants in soil on the balcony facing south in April. The huge balcony was perfect for a plant or two and they thrived in the direct unrestricted sunshine. Barb and I smoked a little pot instead of drinking, and it helped them make ends meet later that year. Bob came by occasionally to visit, and I was back to a normal life.
I liked living in Aldergrove. It was sort of like living in the country in a small town of 5000 people. Aldergrove was fairly close to Kinghaven and Peardonsville Drug and Alcohol Rehabilitation Centres which were his pet computer projects since Envirotech Canada in Richmond in 1991. In the early nineties, before Envirotech Canada Computer Services was bankrupted by import duties, I used to volunteer time and equipment to starting the Kinghaven and Peardonsville Drug and Alcohol Rehabilitation Centres Computer Networks. Bill Vogen was the Intake Worker at the Kinghaven Treatment Centre located on 31250 King Road driving the computerization of the facilities. Fortunately, Bill had a vision of the future, however Milt, Ursala, and Larry were a little slow in funding the new initiatives. Money was tight so I actually gave away a fair amount of time. They made up the difference between their aspirations and their budget by using recycled computer equipment. They were up to 15 web sites at both locations in late 1997 before Christmas.
Meanwhile, time flies as it does, and it flew to Christmas. On December 22 ND Barb and I caught a Greyhound Bus to Nelson for Christmas in 1997. Bob from North Vancouver picked them up in Aldergrove before he dropped them off at the Greyhound Bus Depot in New Westminster. The racing Greyhound left Coquitlam at 18:35 before stopping in Abbotsford, Chilliwack, Hope, Westbank, and Kelowna at 23:45 that night. They continued on at 12:01 on December 23 RD through Beaverdell, Rock Creek, Midway, Greenwood, Grand Forks, and Christina, Lake at 03:15 on December 23 RD where they got off the bus. It was a long bus ride in a packed bus that Christmas, and Barb and I were happy to be picked at the Christina Lake Bus Stop in Kelowna by Tom and Barbara Miner early in the morning. Tom and Barbara drove them the rest of the way to Nelson, where they spent the night.
The next morning at Walmart in the Chayko Mall in Nelson Barb and I bought a rug for Garland and Teresa. They continued on to Winlaw to visit Teresa, Garland, and Mellissa with Barb and Tom. Barb was once again excited to see Melissa who was 2 years old now. I spent time in the shop with Tom and Garland checking out the new parts store in the Shop. Tom and Garland had invested in an inventory of parts and tools for their Country Parts Store in Winlaw. The day passed quickly and Barb and I went to sleep early. Barb and I awoke on December 24th 1997 to the same routine in the Shop.
Garland also became the Winlaw Loomis distributor for the area. Napa added a Oxygen / Acetylene tank refill depot as well. These brought in customers and revenue. The days in the Slocan Valley were short, and the nights were long between the two mountain ranges. They all gathered together for Christmas. It was a scenic Slocan Valley Christmas Eve. They stayed through Christmas before catching the racing Greyhound bus at 08:20 by the Nelson Bus Depot for the trip back to Aldergrove on December 28 nth. I enjoyed the visit, however he was even more determined to capitalize on the developing Internet technologies.
They returned to Aldergrove after Christmas, and they fell into their routines. Barb dealt with the pain from her head injury by smoking what pot I had been able to grow that summer. She said it was the only thing which helped her, other than a gallon can of pills which she picked through from after the accident. She was taking a lot of muscle relaxants for her cyanic nerve. She was unable to get a regular supply of pain killers for her head injury. Meanwhile, she worked through the final flowering plants upstairs in the bathroom. It was going to be a lean winter for pain relief for the suffering.
While working at Kinghaven, I met Mike at Kinghaven and Peardonsville Drug and Alcohol Rehabilitation Centres in 1996 - 1997. Mike was finishing off his sentence, and this was what he called his soft time getting treatment for his heroin addiction at the Kinghaven Drug and Alcohol Rehabilitation Centre. He was on his way out of the system. He drove me back to Aldergrove when Barb and I were having vehicle problems. All residents at Kinghaven were required to volunteer for work programs at the Kinghaven and Peardonsville Drug and Alcohol Rehabilitation Centres. Mike was working as a volunteer driver for his "work requirement". He drove me home a couple of times. He told me of his heroin addiction, thieving, and auto theft for which he had been arrested and sentenced. He was looking forward to getting back on the street.
I did my best to keep the recycled equipment from Canadian Airlines in 1991 - 1992 while working at Kinghaven and Peardonsville Drug and Alcohol Rehabilitation Centres. I spent a lot of time on my computer discovering web based technologies, as he started a new crop of "pain medicine" for Barb. He salvaged a cutting plant in the window over the winter. He was able to take cuttings for twelve new plants. I started the pot cuttings after they returned from Winlaw for Christmas. They grew well in soil in front of the living room windows on the main floor of the two level apartment. The electrical lighting from Barb and I kept the daily light above the 12 hour minimum for growing pot plants. Their routine was simple while Barb and I began to have problems. They were starting to fight. They tried to get out and socialize to work out their differences.
In the fall of 1997, Barb and I spent time with her Uncle Fred and his wife. They lived a block and a half northeast of their apartment on 272 ND. They visited for an evening before Fred started getting ready for sleep before work the next day. Barb, and I prepared to leave in the kitchen. Just as they were leaving they were met at the door by another visitor. They made room for the entrance of someone I thought I recognized. They all said hello. Barb and Fred's wife knew the visitor. Barb asked Fred's wife if she was going to be ok? She was not concerned about BJ. That's why I recognized the visitor! BJ did not appear to recognize I.
I thought this was BJ from the Clavet Roadside Inn in Clavet Saskatchewan in 1981 when I met Becky for the last time. I thinks this is the BJ from Saskatchewan, and Barb and I continued preparing to leave Fred's house. They left BJ with Fred's wife in the house. I was convinced this is the same BJ in all three meetings as they walked back to their apartment on 272 ND. Barb and I were invited over for Barb's Uncle Fred on February 9th for a pay per view boxing match. Her Uncle Fred ordered the Oscar De La Hoya vs Darryl Tyson fight. The 12 Round Junior Welterweight fight was fast and hard hitting. De La Hoya took the fight by KO in the second round. Barb and I walked home as they were starting tried not to fight over everything.
In march Barb and I had a fight. They didn't fight physically. Rohel has never hit a women, and he was not going to start that sunny Friday afternoon on March 8 1997. They were arguing about money, and I started feeling trapped in the endless arguments. Finally, I told Barb he wanted to leave her. They continued to argue. Finally, Barb realized I was serious. She stomped upstairs before returning after a few moments. She told I she had taken a hand full of pills from her gallon can upstairs. I had to call the ambulance because he really didn't know what was in the gallon container of pills. He phoned 911 giving the operator the information they requested. The ambulance arrived with the police on a possible overdose.
The system responded to the 911 phone call. The ambulance arrived quickly to attend help Barb. They questioned her on which pills she had taken. They determined they were going to bring her to the hospital. The police rang the door bell next as this was the way things worked in this type of situation. They questioned both Barb and I to determine whether this was a domestic violence situation. The two ambulance attendants prepared to take Barb to the gurney downstairs. They told I that they would take Barb to the Langley Hospital. The male and female police officers continued to question I, as the ambulance siren pulled out of Aldergrove towards Langley. It was only 20 minutes to Langley, and I figured whatever she had taken, time was on their side. I hoped she had not taken all of what she said she had taken?
The entire event occurred in the kitchen and living room area downstairs on the second floor on 272 ND Street in Aldergrove. The ambulance sirens faded out of range to the northwest on the # 1A Hwy, as the police faded towards the pot plants along the living room window. The male police officer went downstairs to fill out the report, while I helped the female officer pull out the 12 plants along the window in the living room. In March 1997 the plants were about 35 cm high. The officer asked I for a garbage bag, and they filled a garbage bag with Barb's pain medicine. The female officer asked if there was any more Marijuana Plants? I said no! She explained that they would follow the ambulance to the hospital, and they would call back later regarding charges for the cultivation of Marijuana Plants. She quickly explained something about cultivation, weight, and THC content. I stood for the words, but he was fading into shock. The female police officer left the apartment to meet her partner in the car. Meanwhile, I still had the Mother plant upstairs. He had taken the cuttings from the Mother plant before he started flowering the plant upstairs. Barb's head injury still had a little relief.
The ambulance and police were in and out in 30 minutes. I sat on the couch. He thought about what he had said to Barb. He was not as sure now. She had done this because of him. Maybe, they could still work things out? The Langley hospital called I to get more information about the drugs she may have taken. I explained there was 3 litres of pills in her coffee can, and they were quite surprised. I questioned why someone could have that much? I said her doctor should take some responsibility? Yet, Barb mostly wanted to smoke Marijuana? It worked for her! I was unable to help the nurse on the phone, however I had a lot of questions. He found out that Barb was in intensive care. The nurse tried to reassure me that she thought she would make it. I felt guilty while I did my best under the circumstances. He felt guilty. The nurse said that under these circumstances they would not allow him to see her for several days.
The female officer phoned late that afternoon, and she said it would take a few days for them to decide what would happen. I just assumed they would both suffer the consequences of the law. He had written a paper at the University of Saskatchewan when he was 17 years old. It was about pain. His paper compared the Canadian Health Care System to the British Model. The British were allowed to eliminate pain with Heroin. The British Model included Geriatrics Wards and Hospices where people were allowed deaths without suffering. The Brompton Cocktails found in British Hospices contained heroin, cocaine, alcohol and other pharmaceutical ingredients. The British Hospice model may have been unconventional, but why would the puritan torture the dying to death? I felt an eerie "deja’ vu". He wrote the paper because it was obvious the British Model for chronic pain and dying was civilized. What was humane about this? They would suffer the consequences, and Barb would suffer the pain.
I spoke with Barb's family by phone from Nelson over the weekend. He also spoke with Barb's grandmother. He kept in touch with the hospital over the weekend, and he ripped a slice off Barb's Doctor over the phone. On Monday March 11th I and Barb's grandmother went to Langley Memorial Hospital. I and Barb talked. They decided to give it another chance. They went back to their apartment in Aldergrove together. They spent the 3 weeks of March together in their apartment. I insisted that they would move to more affordable accommodation in the lower mainland when the lease ran out at the end of March. I was determined that they needed to be close to public transportation and a big customer base in the lower mainland. Barb found an apartment in New Westminster near the Skytrain. They hired a truck and driver to help them move from Aldergrove to New Westminster at the end of March 1997.
I moved to the Tipperary Apartments at 220 Manitoba Street in New Westminster on April 1st 1997. They rented the ground floor apartment on the left beside the front entrance on Manitoba Street. The bedroom window of the apartment that they rented is visible in the picture to the left of the entrance. Once they packed their boxes into the apartment, Barb and I hung and dried the "Mother" plant which harvested about 110 Grams of Marijuana. This would be the last of Barb's pain medicine. The Aldergrove police had the rest of her pain relief. They also overheard the neighbour at the back of the building getting evicted. Barb and I asked the property manager if they could move to the apartment in the back of the building over the parking facing south directly in front of the entry doors. The property manager of the Tipperary Apartments agreed, but they would have to clean the place up themselves.
Meanwhile, Barb and I tried to enjoy greater Vancouver by the middle of April 1997. They decided to stop for a beer at Piccadilly Pub on Pender Street in Vancouver. I sensed that the bartender recognized I. He was also working the bar for the Piccadilly Pub in 1994. That was when Jimmy the Junkie and Jeff lost my car in 1994. The good looking bartender with black hair at the Piccadilly Pub knew how to keep an eye on what was going on in the bar and upstairs. He made a call. I knew that their was a recognition factor when the bartender called upstairs immediately. It took less than 5 minutes for Jimmy the Junkie and "Little Mike" to walk into the Piccadilly Bar. Jimmy the Junkie and Little Mike walked straight up to Barb and Rohel, sitting at their table in the bar in the middle of April 1997. The four of them sat down at the table along the wall directly across the room from the pay phone on the wall. They caught up on the news.
I was surprised that Jimmy the Junkie and Little Mike remembered Barb from 1994. I had thought that Barb had only met Jeff. Barb and I visited Jeff at the Gastown Hotel on Water Street in 1994 after Jimmy the Junkie and Jeff had lost the Hyundai. They visited Jeff at the Gastown Hotel before Jimmy was convicted in the Vancouver Provincial Court. "Little Mike" was now hustling in the Piccadilly Bar, and it was his turn to share a Queen size bed with Jimmy the Junkie upstairs. I was unsure why Little Mike took Jeff's spot in from 1994? Jimmy the Junkie and "Little Mike" shared a queen sized bed on the second floor of the Piccadilly Bar with a sizeable window facing Pender Street. I was not sure where Little Mike went when Jimmy the Junkie found love on the curb with his white pants. In any event, I was happy to leave after a couple of beers. He knew where this life went from the summer 1994, but Barb gave their phone number.
It is the middle of April 1997, and Rohel met Jimmy the Junkie's Crew, again! They were each met under different circumstances. They met by chance over the last 3 years. I knows Jimmy the Junkie and Jeff from 1994. I knows Mike from Kinghaven and Peardonsville where he was their computer network contractor in Abbotsford in 1996 - 1997. Finally, Rohel met 'Little Mike' in the spring of 1997 with Jimmy the Junkie in the Piccadilly Pub, where he was sharing the queen size bed with Jimmy the Junkie. These 3 junkies fill out Jimmy the Junkie's Crew. It is April 1997, and Barb and I have just moved back to the lower mainland. They were approved to move across to the apartment at the front of the building at the Tipperary Apartments on Manitoba Street. They only unpacked what they needed to make it through the month, so they could move easily at the end of the month. There were boxes everywhere. I was surprised when Jimmy the Junkie left his crew behind, and he drove his Honda Civic to the Tipperary Apartments on Manitoba Street in New Westminster a few days later.
Jimmy the Junkie had their number from Barb, and he came by the Tipperary Apartments on Manitoba Street within a few days in April of 1997. Jimmy the Junkie was driving an old Honda Civic with multi coloured body parts. He would have dropped in early in the third week of April. Barb and I were still in their original ground floor apartment to the left of the entrance. They were living among their boxes, and they would be moving across the hall at the beginning of May. This is why Jimmy the Junkie came to the old Tipperary apartment on Manitoba Street. He came to the back of the building in the third week of April. He visited for the afternoon, and slept over for one night. Barb was feeling sick. The next day Jimmy the Junkie and I brought her to the Royal Columbian Hospital. They added fluid to her, and the hospital released her within a few hours. Jimmy the Junkie left with his Honda Civic, after he dropped Barb and I at their Tipperary Apartment.
Jimmy the Junkie dropped by the again towards the end of the third week in April 1997 with a box of junk computer parts. Barb and I were still in the old apartment to the left of the entrance at the Tipperary Apartments. They were still waiting to move across the hall. The boxes remained packed full of household items. However most of the boxes were recycled boxes which had Barb's family's phone number, address, and contact information. Barb's parents had sent her personal items to her from Nelson to North Vancouver and Aldergrove by Canada Post. Her parents were meticulous in providing full return address information including their contact name, phone number, address, and town. The contact information was everywhere. I explained the junk parts were not worth anything to him. He was able to take a few memory chips with salvage value off the circuit boards. He was also able to get the printer working. The box went into the dumpster with the components. Junk is junk, whether it is stolen or not!.
Needs to be added, Barb was having enough of Jimmy the Junkie. She told him the apartment was hooked up. Several days later Jimmy the Junkie comes by and sort of laughs. He says the apartment is not hooked up. Rohel had no idea where Jimmy the Junkie would have gotten that information. He was certain the apartment was not hooked up. How? Which Patch with knowledge could tell him this? The boys should know a patch which could bring him up to speed.
Then on April 26th 1997 Jimmy the Junkie came by to tell Rohel he had a computer to sell. I met Jimmy the Junkie the next night downstairs in the Honda Civic. They used drugs before hauling the computer and monitor upstairs into the old apartment. I told Jimmy the Junkie he had already talked to a friend in North Vancouver, and his friend may be interested. His friend dropped by the apartment and he picked up the computer on April 28th 1997. Jimmy the Junkie arranged to go to North Vancouver on Monday April 29th to be paid. Jimmy the Junkie was paid in front of I by the customer. The customer in North Vancouver witnessed Jimmy the Junkie giving $ 100.00 to me for connecting the two people. I considered my part in this to be done. Jimmy the Junkie obviously considered his part done as well. He went on his way downtown to buy drugs. I said "Don't get caught speeding"! I had made my last deal with Jimmy!
Jimmy the Junkie was gone for about a week with his wealth, before he turns up at the Tipperary Apartments in early May 1997. He was broke. He tried to sell I an old hard drive. I told Jimmy the Junkie he was not interested, and he would not buy any more computer equipment. Jimmy the Junkie was furious. I explained that "it was just not worth the headaches, given the cost of computer equipment. While, a person could easily spend $1500.00 on a new computer, everything Jimmy the Junkie and his Crew had would be used equipment. The reality was I didn't want anything to do with Jimmy the Junkie and his Crew. I dug in telling Jimmy the Junkie that he just did not want any more computer equipment. I stayed firm. They argued until Jimmy the Junkie decided he needed to use the washroom.
I heard him walking down the hallway, and he opened the washroom door. It seamed that he was taking quite some time in the new apartment washroom. I decided to check out what was taking him so long. When I arrived in front of the bathroom door, he noticed Jimmy the Junkie standing in the bedroom directly to his left. Jimmy the Junkie was looking at the moving boxes, and he was writing in a little notebook. I didn't think much of what he was doing at the time in May of 1997! I walked him back out into the living room where they sat down again at my computer desk. I remained determined that there would be no more computer equipment coming from Jimmy the Junkie. Suddenly in frustration, Jimmy the Junkie abruptly changed the conversation to 'Little Mike'. Jimmy the Junkie told Rohel that "Little Mike" had Hepatitis C early that day in May of 1997.
Jimmy the Junkie was laughing about "Little Mike"! He said he would never get tested for Hepatitis C! Why not? If Jimmy the Junkie would not get tested, how did he know "Little Mike" had Hepatitis C? I reasoned "Little Mike" must have been tested. Then Jimmy the Junkie went on telling I that "Little Mike" thinks he caught Hepatitis C in Edmonton. Then Jimmy the Junkie thought that was funny. I didn't consider it funny at all, since "Little Mike" and Jimmy the Junkie were sharing a queen size bed above the Piccadilly Pub in Vancouver. Why would Jimmy the Junkie not get tested? Why would Jimmy the Junkie laugh about Edmonton. I knew he being threatened! I hoped Jimmy the Junkie was just blowing hot air. I was determined that there would no more cash from I. I just wanted my normal boring life. Then Jimmy the Junkie changed the topic of conversation again. He talked about "the boys".
During the end of April, and the beginning of May, Jimmy the Junkie has been listening to Barb talking about her biker days in Nelson, Kelowna, Edmonton, and Victoria. Jimmy the Junkie didn't have a lot of respect for that either. Now, Jimmy the Junkie said "he was never going back to jail". He laughed. Then in the same breath he said, "Yeah, you don't want to mess with the Hell's Angels". Then he laughed again. It was one of those conversations that I just didn't need to hear. I have never had a "patch" in my life, but I also have more respect for bikers than a junkie on Hastings Street swinging his backside with white pants. I sent Jimmy the Junkie out the door. I had enough. Jimmy the Junkie did not take it well, and he vowed to get back at I. He said "if that's the way you want it that's the way it's going to be". He left. Hell was starting to crack in May 1997.
I continued with my computer work, while Barb brought in new customers with her phone sales. Barb worked the phone doing telemarketing for "Computer Hardware and Internet Programming". Barb had an excellent voice for phone sales. She started adding new customers along the Skytrain in the lower Mainland. I did the "On Site" computer service, and I kept upgrading my Internet skills. Barb sold a half a dozen web sites, and I was starting to get paid to work on the Internet. He needed a place to run multiple sites under one DNS. He registered DNS under the name of Wholeo.com to develop and display web sites. He brought in high speed Internet access to the apartment on Manitoba Street in June. The ISDN connection was a 2 BRI or 128 Kilobytes per second high speed connection with BC Tel.
Barb and I coupled the high speed access in their apartment at Tipperary place to a promotional web site about Stanley Park in the spring of 1997. The site was about a wild squirrel. Barb and I would feed the squirrel at the window of their apartment on Manitoba Street. They nicknamed the squirrel 'Wholeo', and Wholeo.com was served up as a storybook tour of Stanley Park. Wholeo is your guide! They took pictures of Wholeo, and they took photos of Stanley Park. Then I needed a server to serve and build small web sites on the Internet. Meanwhile, He contained to provide "On Site" computer service to make ends meet. Barb was successful in bringing in new "brick and mortar" customers with her telemarketing. When they combined the Internet income and the 'On Site' income they started making a living. I was starting to believe Jimmy the Junkie was just blowing smoke.
In July, I signed a one year hosting agreement with Simon Fraser University's June Francis and Tim Devlin to host Wholeo.com. He used FTP access to Simon Fraser University computers to develop and display the in your face web sites. The servers were located at Vancouver Harbour Centre in Vancouver. The western end of the Trans Canada Fibre Optic Trunk ends in the Tower at Vancouver Harbour Centre. The trunk spreads across the province from this point of origin. This point of origin could send the promotional web site down the Fibre Optic Trunk across Canada and around the world. I was drawn into the Internet Technologies each day. The tower at Vancouver Harbour Centre was definitely the place. SFU was the affordable access to these technologies. I was prepared for the new technologies, but he did not know which project he would be doing. It would come soon!
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