Latin America 1950s 6

Part 6

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The Second Group to leave for Latin America=

These reminiscences were submitted by John Hayward

I am taking time out of my busy schedule (afternoon naps, squash, movies, biking, and golf) to update the last 40 years. Anyway here goes - Of all the lads that went to Panama I was the last one to join Commercial Cable Company in London. I was finishing my national service in the RAF at the Air Ministry when an employee of CCC attended the signal centre seeking employees for the Company. I was demobed two weeks later and took him up on his offer. Having recently served in the Middle East I still had the urge to travel and was pleased when CCC accepted me for one of the Central American positions. I was the second group to leave with Paddy McMahon and Peter Stevens - we were met at Tocumen Airport by Mike Merry who drove us into Balboa and our new home at the bachelor’s quarters above the cable office. We arrived Jan 1 or 2nd 1960 and what should have been a 3 year tour turned into 10 years leaving for good Dec 17 1969. After taking several technical courses I was transferred to Fort Kobbe where a HF Radio receiving station had recently been installed. I worked there for 7 years, married Jan, the daughter of Balboa's station electrician, and lived on Cable Heights. The job was boring as hell but we certainly enjoyed the lifestyle. We left Panama because my job was becoming redundant and left for Toronto Canada - our son needed medical attention and the Sick Children's hospital in that City had such a wonderful reputation. We left Panama in 90 deg. heat and arrived in TO which had a temp of only 15 deg - Jan was devastated and I still haven't heard the last of it. Canada has been good to us and after a painful couple of years flitting from job to job I was hired by The Royal Bank of Canada (I had been managing a finance company at the time) and worked for them for 30 years retiring in 2006. Jan had been working in early childhood education as an executive director for a resource centre and for 6 years as an ECE teacher at one of our local universities before retiring. How could we ever forget our time in Panama and the wonderful friends we made - Mike, Rod, Chris, David Owen and Warwick, Peter, Ted, Malcolm, Dennis, Negro and all the local employees at the cable company - they were truly special. We are snowbirds for two months driving to Florida in January - we are still close to John and Irene Porter, friends from Panama, and we rent a place in Punta Gorda visiting them on a regular basis. We will be in Florida in January 2010 and maybe we can catch up with you in Miami or somewhere half way such as Naples. Iain, our son, has been married 8 years and he has been with Bank of Nova Scotia for the past 20 years - he and Di live 18 miles from us. We would love to hear from anyone who remembers the "Old Days". John and Jan Hayward.

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