Seventy Years Ago

Ma and me at the house I grew up in. (circa 1951)
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On January 8th, seventy years ago, at precisely 10:30 in the morning, a scream of joy erupted from my tiny mouth as I gasped my first breath of life.

I don’t know if I was a planned addition to the St. Andrews clan or not, but I always felt loved by my mom.

My dad was different; his family never showed their emotions.

Growing up in the fifties and sixties, I attended a lot of friends’ birthday parties but never had one of my own.

Oh, my family would always celebrate each of our birthdays with a birthday cake, baked by our dear Ma, and her baking and cooking were legendary.

But I never complained about not having a birthday party, because my mom was busy trying to raise six children with a household budget stretched to the limit.

Ma did everything she could to make our birthdays special, and her cakes were b with love.  She loved each of us kids!

Ma would wait until everyone had finished dinner, and then she would use my dad’s lighter to light the candles on the cake.

Then Ma would hold the lighted cake up for everyone to see, as my dad turned off the ceiling light.

And then everyone would sing happy birthday.

At the end of the song, Ma would place the cake directly in front of you and tell you to close your eyes and make a wish.

But she always warned us to keep our ‘wish’ a secret, or else it would never come true.

Mom was superstitious but mostly kept those thoughts to herself.

Her mom – my Grandma Puffer – was ultra-superstitious.

I guess the apple does fall close to the tree.

But I have never considered myself superstitious – although I never walk under ladders.

Both my Ma and Grandma Puffer were religious, though.

My two older sisters, my brother, and I used to go to Sunday School every Sunday morning.

And every Sunday evening, the four of us sang in the choir at the church service.

We went to Christ Church (Anglican) on Mary Street in Oshawa, Ontario.

My mom would be sitting alone in the church during the evening service.

Dad only went to church if it was a wedding or funeral.

But while I was sitting in the choir, I would often watch my Ma as she sat there by herself.

And sometimes, I would notice her crying.

She wasn’t sobbing or crying loud enough for anyone to notice.

I remember asking her why she cried at church, but she wouldn’t tell me.

So, she probably had secrets.  Who doesn’t?

At the time, Ma was probably in her early thirties.

My parents had a loving relationship, and I don’t remember them ever fighting or arguing.

So, I’m not sure what was on Ma’s mind that made her cry at church.

But as I’ve often noted – we all have three types of secrets, namely: the ones we only tell family and friends; the ones we only tell our most trusted friends or family members; and the ones we keep to ourselves and carry to the grave with us.


My earliest photo

Danny (1951/2)

Danny (1952)

Top:Linda, Terry, Sandra, Me, Patsy, Leslie, Jack, & Freddy (cousins)

At North Simcoe School with brother Freddy

My first bike (used)

High School 1967-68

Christmas at parents' place in Georgetown

Danny & Annette 1978-2016
Danny, Annette, Alice, and Peter

At the cottage in Parry Sound, Ontario

With brother Freddy at niece's baptism

Cousin Donna during a visit at my parent's place in Georgetown (1972)

With cousin Patty in Calgary (1974)

Jesse James (1977-1986)

Dad's older sister at a family gathering in Pentiction in 1988.

On a sail to Vancouver Island (1988)

Our boat was a 26 ft. San Juan and I shared ownership with two friends

With older sister Leslie (1989)

Dad loved steering the sailboat on English Bay during a visit (1988)

Coffee with best friend Court Brooker in Langley (2008)

Cousin Alan at mom's place in Oshawa (2002)

Holly Golightly - she's a Coton de Tulear at 4 mos. (2008)

Hiding behind Danny in 2008

Getting zapped by radiation - 2 times at 7 spots around my throat area

I wore this during 37 daily treatments - I still have the mask

Reunion with Anethea, a radiation therapist who gave me the daily treatments

With Holly after cancer treatments ended (Nov 2009)

Mom's 85th birthday - she passed two years later.

Santa Danny at Santa Claus get together in 2012

Santa Danny's first appearance at Chemotherapy Room (December 2012)

At the inaugural Vancouver Web Festival (2014)

Headshot 2014

Headshot 2014

At Oral Dentistry on 65th birthday

As a mobster in the film Dead Simple (2015)

With Pat & Harinder walking (May 2015)

Keynote speaker at cancer fundraiser (2015 & 2016)

With singer Amanda Wood at a cancer fundraiser (2015)

Visiting the home where I was born and raised in Oshawa (2015)

An old haunt in Oshawa

At Qualicum Beach (August 2015)

Reunion with Vicky the radiation therapist (my 40% survival story)

Cancer Fundraiser walk (2015)

With Lui Pasaglia

Half-way marker

Dancing with Marie - street vendor in Montreal - bought 2 of her hand made bracelets (October 2015)

Santa Danny with Bob & Ferret Bueller at Urban Safari Rescue Society (November 2015)

At oral dentistry department of cancer centre

Santa Danny at North Shore Neighborhood House with Sue Hunt

Visiting schools to teach children the value of giving

Dental professionals at cancer centre

Keynote speaker at UBC Dentistry Research Day (2016)

Volunteering at the cancer center where I was treated

A selfie - my first

Mom and Dad's place in Oshawa, Ontario

Maurice, Gerry and Allan (Spanky) at a reunion

Gal pal Connie on Mother's Day 2018

She passed on September 13, 2019

Connie's son Ralph who lives in Edmonton (my adopted brother)

Verni, Connie and Brenda at Ambleside in 2018

Care Dog Findley RIP

Headshot 2020

Headshot 2020

Headshot 2020

Headshot 2020

Headshot 2020

At Kevin Clark Studios

Kevin's wife Tricia does hair and makeup (she's beautiful but shy)

I get new ones every two years, the latest without a mustache

Kevin's done all of my headshots since 2007

With Mouna, my gorgeous dentist

Watcom Falls, Washington

NW Tulip Trekkers

Tony 'n Tina's Wedding Show - I was Tony Nunzio Sr.

Tony 'n Tina's Wedding Show

Tom, Danny & Norm (oldest teenagers) at a Holly Tree

Margaret added beauty to the walk

Phillip, Rita, Agnes, and Lawrence at Expo torches

White Rock Pier is always a thrill to walk

And the Promenade in White Rock is the icing on the cake!

On my eleventh anniversary from cancer treatments

These Radiation Therapists save lives every day!

Hard not to fall in love with them...

A dear friend with a million dollar smile

It is always nice to visit the same room where I had my treatments

One of my first gigs after the cancer treatments

Last Chance Casting movie - my first movie role after cancer

Rosie, a live tarantula, during a break in filming of Last Chance Casting movie

Suzette was one of the producers of the movie

The cast of the movie Last Chance Casting - it's now a web series

Suzette and Brad were great to work with and so were my fellow cast members.

With Suzette who is the founder of the Vancouver Web Festival

Another bird to love at the Vancouver Web Festival (2015)

This is my worldwide ranking on the IMDb site

Love walking at Garry Point in Richmond

Four-legged Oreo Cookies at Garry Point Park

Actually, they're Dutch Belted cows (from the Netherlands)

August 10, 2020 - sunbathing nude for first time at Wreck Beach

Sunbathers enjoying the sun - photo by Pete

A sunset at Wreck Beach - photo by Pete

Sannie and me on the Sunshine Coast (Sept 19, 2020)

Breakfast on the ferry on our way to Langdale

Drinking my nutrition shake for breakfast

Happy to be in Gibson's Landing - the first attraction...

was the Holy Crap Cereal factory

Beautiful smile - beautiful heart!

Love walking on piers

My nickname for Sannie is 'sweetheart' - the name suits her

Sannie's nickname for me is Grandpa - the name suits me

In Roberts Creek - stunning rock formations

Not sure what the name of this plant is but its leaf is larger than Sannie

Famous site of the Beachcombers television show ('60s)

Filming a tv commercial

Camden & Danny

October 17, 2020

Mom & Dad's place in Oshawa, Ontario

November 2, 2020 walk

at the Promenade

at the train station

in White Rock, BC

November 5, 2020 walk

in Spanish Banks...

unusual driftwood...

resembling furniture...

doesn't it look like a chair?

... it's why I walk

Got this in 1966

December 10, 2020, I decided

to get a name put on it...

Mike, the artist

makeover of the tattoo

with this tribute to my dog Holly

My new digs in White Rock

1 1/2 blocks from beach

Enter from side of house

to the rear entrance

of my garden suite

Nice private yard...

no maintenance...

perfect for lazing...

with Holly

A covered area, too!

Living room area

Excellent appliances

Nice bright rooms

Master bedroom

Two full bathrooms

Laundry in the suite

I am going to share a couple of secrets with you today, on my birthday.

They are not earth-shattering secrets, and I may have shared some of them with you already.  Here they are:

  • I dislike onions, green peppers, olives, seafood, and especially pork ‘n beans.  None of these should even be a part of the food chain.
  • I dislike the color green.
  • I dislike opera.
  • I dislike lineups – for anything.
  • My favorite number is 3
  • I love to give gifts, but I feel uncomfortable receiving them.
  • I have only loved four women in my life, and two of them were my Ma and Grandma Puffer.  I loved them unconditionally, all my life.  Sadly, they’re no longer alive.
  • I hate saying goodbye to a best friend
  • My first love married a wealthy chap – whose birthday is also January 8th, although he is a few years older than me.  What are the odds of that happening?


Although I’ve never had a birthday party, I will be celebrating this birthday at my dentist’s office.

Mouna, Debbie, and all of the staff at Croydon Dental are like family to me.

I enjoy flirting with all of them and watching their eyes light up when I arrive with a tub of ginger snap cookies from Trader Joe’s.

If you’ve never tasted these cookies – beware!  They’re addictive.

I’ve never tried them, but everyone tells me they’re awesome.

Mouna and a shy Debbie (2018)

Mouna, my special angel

My second family

Mouna and me (Jan 8, 2020)

My 70th Birthday

I’m bringing each of them a tub of cookies.

Santa Danny teaches children the importance of ‘giving’ instead of ‘receiving’ material things.

He also encourages that giving should be all-year-long – not just at Christmas, birthdays, anniversaries, or other special occasions.

Giving will make your heart feel warm, and that’s a good thing.


In closing, I’m now seventy years young.

I don’t feel old, and I hope to live until I’m 103 years old.

And I plan to celebrate all of my future birthdays at my dentist’s office.

As for my birthday wish – I no longer make one.

My last was when I got diagnosed with cancer in 2009.

Dedicated to Dr. Mouna Hachichou and Debbie McDonald



Today’s tune from Danny’s library (purchased):

If I Can Dream – lyrics

There must be lights burning brighter somewhere
Got to be birds flying higher in a sky more blue
If I can dream of a better land
Where all my brothers walk hand in hand
Tell me why, oh why, oh why can’t my dream come true, oh why

There must be peace and understanding sometime
Strong winds of promise that will blow away
The doubt and fear
If I can dream of a warmer sun
Where hope keeps shining on everyone
Tell me why, oh why, oh why won’t that sun appear?

We’re lost in a cloud
With too much rain
We’re trapped in a world
That’s troubled with pain
But as long as a man
Has the strength to dream
He can redeem his soul and fly

Deep in my heart there’s a trembling question
Still I am sure that the answers
Answers gonna come somehow
Out there in the dark
There’s a beckoning candle, yeah
And while I can think, while I can talk
While I can stand, while I can walk
While I can dream
Oh, please let my dream
Come true, oh
Right now
Let it come true right now
Oh, yeah

Songwriters: Walter Earl Brown
Produced by: Mac Davis

About Post Author

Daniel (Danny) St. Andrews

An almost famous Film, Television & Stage Actor (as in almost pregnant) living in Vancouver, BC His other passions include cancer patient advocate (he had stage 3 throat cancer), walking with the Vancouver 'Venturers Walking Club, and of course, spoiling his dog, Holly Golightly. If you like the stuff he writes about - please leave a hug (or a comment).
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By Daniel (Danny) St. Andrews

An almost famous Film, Television & Stage Actor (as in almost pregnant) living in Vancouver, BC His other passions include cancer patient advocate (he had stage 3 throat cancer), walking with the Vancouver 'Venturers Walking Club, and of course, spoiling his dog, Holly Golightly. If you like the stuff he writes about - please leave a hug (or a comment).

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8 thoughts on “Seventy Years Ago

  1. Happy Birthday Dan. You have finally joined the rest of the Bedford 70+ year olds. Enjoy your day and year. Hugs

  2. Thanks, Diane and Dale! I remember each of us reaching our 50th birthdays but it seems like only yesterday! I hope to see you guys this year – maybe, Holly and I will try hitch-hiking across Canada. That would give me lots to write about. Hugs and Luv, Danny

  3. Wow…70 years young….sounds fantastic now that you joined our 70s club…where has the time gone as it seems only yesterday we were celebrating 50 birthdays…Sending you best wishes on your special day …enjoy

    1. Thanks, Donna and Garth. Yes, and I’ll always remember celebrating both of your 50th birthdays. We sure have some wonderful memories of our times together – especially those weekend trips to New England. I hope to come to the Maritimes this year. Hugs and Love

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