In the fall of 1999 I was on a book tour set up by my publisher Cynthia Wilson of Caitlin Press. As publisher Cynthia knew everyone of any journalistic significance in British Columbia. My book “The Ghosts Behind Him” was about my son Bruce’s battle with the symptoms of schizophrenia.
Cynthia knew Rafe Mair and was in on a secret that very few others were privy to. The loud, gruff, often confrontational CKNW radio talk show host suffered from clinical depression. During my interview with him he confided that if he didn’t take his antidepressant medication he would dissolve into tears in a very short time.
Rafe Mair passed away yesterday. Today I’m remembering when my cousin Florence drove me to the large building in New Westminster where he ruled in his glass and chrome domain. Florence and I sat all alone in the waiting area listening to Rafe’s angry rasping voice in a telephone interview with a politician named Moe Sihota who was part of the NDP government of the time. Moe seemed to be holding his own in the conversation but I was pretty intimidated. When it was my turn to enter Rafe’s glass enclosed cage I expected to be eaten alive in a lion’s den.
I was surprised to meet this friendly, soft-spoken gentleman who appeared to be far more of a pussycat than a lion. And Rafe was an excellent interviewer. He admitted that he hadn’t read the book but his queries and gentle comments drew the devastating story out from my heart and soul.
From my perspective Rafe Mair was a class act. And he went out of his way to let his audience know about the book signing I was to do in Langley that evening.