At the end of Grade 9, the staff of the boarding school called Barney’s mother and explained that it was “not in Barney’s best interest” to return the following year. He left the Vancouver Island school but his trouble with structured learning continued as he was thrust into and out of Vancouver’s public school system. Finally he decided that he should be working instead of banging his head against an educational wall.
When I asked Barney if he mowed the lawn or worked around the house as a kid, he replied, “No. We had gardeners and everything was done for us around the house.” But he enjoyed working and started his first job at 17, working as a car-jockey at a local car dealership. He was clearing $1,000/month (a considerable sum in 1967) from his trust fund at that point, so he didn’t need a job or the $4/hour that it paid, but he loved cars.
He goosed his trust fund again and was soon living in a penthouse in Vancouver’s West End, featuring a spectacular view of English Bay. He was riding around town in a special order, triple-white, Lincoln Continental Mark IV – you could see him coming.
Later, he went into business with his brother-in-law and started a retail clothing store, “Jelly Beans for Jeans”. It was a successful venture and quickly blossomed into a multi-location enterprise with stores in BC, Alberta and Saskatchewan. Barney was pulling in $15,000 a month and was on the verge of following the success of his father and his grandfather when things went sour and the business failed.
He washed his hands of his entrepreneurial endeavour and focused his energy on martial arts training. Barney burnt the candle at both ends, alternating between rigorous workouts – one exercise involved leg kicks from a crouched position while holding someone on your shoulders – and extravagant parties at the home he purchased (and renovated) in the tony British Properties of West Vancouver.
He trained with the city’s best and over the next few years he worked his way up to a first degree Black Belt in Shito-ryu. It was a contrasting combination of characteristics, with discipline and dedication on one hand and rampant excess on the other.
(Exit by paulbence, fighter by kyleboy668, fireworks by bayasaa)