"It would need powerful contrary evidence...to reject a statement...by a contemporary observer without a discernible motive for falsifying the record"
- Roman Britain; Peter Salway 1981
"For him that stealeth this book from its owner, let it change into a serpent in his hand and rend him. Let him be struck with palsy, and all his members blasted!"
This work has been more than twenty years in the making. Its basis is of course the journals that I kept at the time, beginning on June 30, 1970. They make a fairly unbroken, if uneven, record of the events and people of the seven years covered in this book. Some periods, such as 1972, are rich in detail. Others, 1973 and '74 for example, survive only in the briefest of notices.
It was in 1977 that I made the first attempt at organization. The records of 1973-1975 were copied from their originals (mostly single words or sentences written on the front or back of calendars) into a single journal.
Using this, and of course the original journals, I produced between 1980-83 what I thought would be the final version. It brought together all the entries, letters and notes that still survived. It was here that the events for the summer of 1973 were first put into written form (until then they had only existed in my memory).
In 1993 I bought my first computer, and one of the first projects was to transfer my journals to digital form. I had two main reasons for doing this: first was to make the journals readable, as my handwriting sometimes is not, and second was to make sure that they survived in other copies in case something should happen to the originals.
In the process, I began to add events and observations that were not part of the contemporary records, but I felt were necessary for understanding the sometimes cryptic originals. Through this process grew the idea that I wished these journals to be read not just by the people who had lived through them, but to also serve as a record of a brief yet unique period for any future reader.
Copies of what turned out to be the first draft of this work were sent out in 1994 to Ralph deSmit, Gillian Simons, Andrew McLelland and Lesley (Astle) Cadham. I was surprised to learn that Lesley became angry at the way she was portrayed. The others enjoyed it, and in fact began to search their own archives.
Ralph deSmit had kept a journal covering the period of November 10, 1972 to March 23, 1973. He supplied this, along with letters and his own recollections up to 1977. Gillian contribution consisted of letters for the period of 1973-74, along with some clarifications of events for 1973. Finally there was the journal of Andrew McLelland, kept between September 21, 1973 and May 25, 1974. It was these contributions that enabled me to reconstruct the events of 1973 and '74, which in my records were very dark.
Using my records, these new contributions, plus photographs (my own and Ralph's collections), film, drawings, books and newspapers, a new version was completed in September 1995. It included the addition of the period before September 1971, from a suggestion by Danielle deSmit that the journal should start at the beginning of high school. This was bound and distributed to Ralph, Gillian, Andrew, Chris Gobeil, Cornelis Vanderdonk, my two sisters Susan and Karen, Janet Donaldson and finally Dave Essiambre.
Turns out though that this was not the end of it. By January 1996, I had begun to make changes. This was partly due to corrections that the readers had noted were necessary, and also because additions were needed. In 1997, many notes that had been included within the body of the text were removed to footnotes, thanks to a suggestion by Gillian.
As Cory once said, this work will never be finished.
January 1, 1998
February 9, 2001
And indeed it is not finished.
Due to converting the printed to a web version in 1998-99, several text and formatting problems were discovered and (hopefully corrected). I still await the latest round of additions and corrections from Ralph...
August 10, 2002
The site has been updated with the addition of clips from the movies, in Flash 6 format.
December 15, 2005
Due to finally getting indexed on Google and the recent JRHS 50th reunion, this journal has been searched out by people looking to see if they or their friends are in it, and what crimes are recorded.
Surprisingly little I'm sorry to say.
September 21, 2006
Several updates, and converting the site to CSS...more to come
October 9, 2018
The site had been given a complete work over, with cleaner navigation, as well as new images, videos and sound files.