Life for Family Left Behind - Cathy Wirick

Leaving the United States

Time 0:02:43


My parents disowned us because we were leaving the country, my father told my husband to pull up his pants and be a man. So, that was hard. And leaving behind all my friends in my town, um, my high school, my, everything that I was familiar with. It wasn't the same when I went to New Haven, Connecticut, because I felt still I was in the States, but coming to Canada, he wouldn't, my ex-husband wouldn't have been allowed to leave Canada, he was wanted by the FBI, so that was really hard. My parents did come around, my dad put up a display in his jewellry store in the window. "These weapons of war are obsolete, shouldn't war be?" And he had shells from his tanks that he put up in the window. And that was October 17, 1969, so it didn't take him long, so July, August, September, October, so in those few months from when we'd left, he finally did his own research and came to the conclusion that fighting in Vietnam wasn't a good idea. And I loved him for it. And he got a lot of flack from people in town and especially because when you had your own small business then in a town, you had to look respectable and had to be a certain person and my dad threw that to the wind and just said what he wanted to say right on the street you know. So that was hard. And then, um, my husband's parents were supportive, and so when we came to Canada, my, his father would carpool to work and everyone in the carpool, everyday gave him a hard time about his son being a draft dodger. So, that was sad. And the FBI visited his mom twice in Newark, Delaware to tell her that, if you can convince your son to come back and fight for us, we'll forgive him for leaving the country, twice they visited her. So, you know, all those things were hard...


Oral History 16.03.02CW with Cathy Wirick
Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21