Do I look “Courtice”?

December 2, 2011 by  
Filed under Authors Corner

 Not that long ago, I was sitting at a local Tim Horton’s in Oshawa with my trusted friend of over twenty years.  He had just finished reading Aubrey, which was about to go to print. One of the things I love most about Jeff is that I can always count on him to be honest- brutally honest – good or bad. As he began to speak, an irrepressible grin spread across my face. Before I knew it, 30 minutes had gone by as I fired a battery of questions at him. I was delighted and more than a little impressed that he was able to recall specific details – a few times he corrected me. He said he thoroughly enjoyed the read.

Jeff’s one critique was that he was intrigued by the character of Bob and wanted to read more about this character. Armed with his suggestion, I revisited this character by giving him Siegel as a last name. Mr. Siegel is Gracie’s kind-hearted albeit crusty retired postal worker neighbour. The name Siegel comes from one of my physician partners, Dr. Mark Siegel, who I had the pleasure working with while I was with the Unattached Patient Health Assessment (UPA) project near Peterborough, Ontario in 2009.  As with Dr. Mark Siegel, Mr. Siegel is intrigued by astronomy, aeronautics, ancient ruins and civilizations and is fabulous in the kitchen. That is where the similarity ends, however, as Dr. Siegel could never be described as crusty.

This past summer, Miranda and I visited Boston to research the geographical layout for the story. While I was there, I was completely caught off guard by the beauty and power of The New England Holocaust Memorial. So much so, that I wrote this memorial into one of the scenes. Please feel free to visit this site to learn more.   In addition, I respectfully direct you to  and I thank Dr. Mark Siegel for his continued guidance.

I remember not that long ago I was having a discussion with a dear friend and he said something incredibly insightful that I don’t think I will ever forget. He asked me, “Do you look Courtice?” making reference to the fact that it was unlikely I would be discriminated against by virtue of my religion, ethnicity, address and appearance. History tells us, not everyone is so lucky. Thank you Cambridge for this life lesson.

This painting, entitled Road to Auschwitz, was painted by Gaston Lamirande in 2003 at the age of 84. Mr. Lamirande is a distinguished WW2 Canadian veteran. I understand he painted this artwork as a personal reflection of his wartime experiences almost 65 years earlier. He would have been barely 20 years old when he walked this road. Interestingly, the puddles have such clarity whereas the actual trees are more abstract. This painting is proudly hung in a private home likely rarely, if ever, exhibited for public display. I thank him for his sacrifice to his country and for granting me permission to show his art herein. It serves as a reminder for humanity to have tolerance for others and an intolerance to oppression.

Yesterday, I sold two copies of my novel to a stranger. With tears in her eyes, she told me that her father was a WW2 Canadian veteran. Leo was taken as a prisoner of war while his two buddies on either side of him were snipered. He did eventually come home to his family. I would like to dedicate this blog in the memory of Leo and his two fallen comrades as well as Gaston Lamirande.

Thank you for allowing me to explore the origin of the character Bob Siegel. If you would like to share your experiences, I would be pleased to hear from you. Please post your comments on the Aubrey Facebook  or on this posting just below.

Warm Regards,


2011 DEC 01