The Young Man I Never Knew, William Harold Olivant

William Harold Olivant as a Young Man (circa 1940) – © 2011 W. G. Olivant , All Rights Reserved

Much of what I know about my father’s youth I have learned by accident over the years. When I was going to summer day camp my dad did not want my lunch bag getting confused with others (not that many had WW2 surplus shoulder bags). When I woke up the first morning I ground he had drawn an Owl on the bag in ink. This was not an abstract cartoon but rather a detailed pen and ink owl with the most amazing eyes. Later I found a mountain scene he had painted on the inside of a carton top. My father had dreamed of being an illustrator but like so many in life he had become sidetracked with the reality of taking care of his family. Dad was in the sea cadets during WW2 and calling up had ended by the time he turned 17 days after Normandy. In his younger years he loved to play tennis, until he broke his wrist and enjoyed hunting with friends. At 16 he left school to work in a shipyard building Corvettes for the navy. Yet my father valued education and never let it be doubted I would go on to university for the education he had been denied. Dad finished high school at night and I hope he knew how proud his son was of him when at 49 he began taking university courses.

William Harold Olivant at 14 months of age (1928) – © 2011 W. G. Olivant , All Rights Reserved


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