My Socials Final (Biography)

Hello everyone. This is my biography that I made for my final for Social Studies this year.

My life? Yes it was a good one. One I can look back on with a smile on my face, one that I am proud of, but it did not start that way. . .

I can remember everything that has happened to me since I was born. I even remember some things from before I was born, but you don’t care about that. I was born to poor Irish immigrants Megan and Peter McSmith on August 25, 1845, in the new and glorious country of Canada. Or that is what they told me. Christened Ably Jonas McSmith of the not-so-noble house of McSmith, I grew up in one of the first slums of the country, backstreet Toronto. It was a rough neighborhood for immigrants and I got in fights often as a boy, usually losing. Education was mandatory but not enforced, so I received no formal schooling, but the ways of the streets became my soul and I could still tell you how to navigate it in fullest detail. This came to my aid when my generally-bad luck turned for the better.

The day was October 21, 1860. I was walking home after doing some errands for my mother, when I noticed noise coming from the alley. I looked down it and saw a boy, about ten, being roughed up by a couple of older boys. I have always been one to look out for myself but this boy intrigued me, so I chose to save his life. I rushed down the alley, dropping mother’s groceries along the way, shouting to the older boys to get their attention. They barely had time to turn around when my fist plunged into the face of the closer of the two, spraying blood from his nose and mouth, knocking at least two teeth out. The first boy hit the ground, unconscious, and the second boy dragged his friend out of the alley and away to whatever safety he could find.

The little boy I had come to save had been cowering in the corner this whole time, shaking like a leaf, and he tried to shrink away when I asked if he was alright, scared of me and what I could do. I tried to calm him but he was too scared, so I tried a change of tactics. I walked away and stood outside of the alleyway, waiting for the boy to calm his nerves and come out to talk in his own time. After about 15 minutes he came out, still scared, but no longer shaking. He thanked me, and I told him it what I had done was just the right thing to do. He asked me for my name; I told him. When I asked him for his, he told me: Hugh John Macdonald. I was not familiar with the name, so I asked him where he lived. When he gave me an address, I took him home.

We walked out of the slums into the richer part of town, and then we walked out of the richer part of town into the incredibly rich part of town. I was quite surprised at the obvious wealth of this place. The only time we had fountains in my neighbourhood was when the local plumbing broke. And that was the nasty, public flush toilets used by a whole building of about 50 people, because it was so revolutionary. I looked at Hugh again, and noticed that his clothes were smeared with grime, but undoubtedly top quality. We stopped in front of an absolutely astonishing mansion with every extravagance money could buy. I knocked on the door and a maid answered. She had a disgusted look on her face, but this changed to surprise when she saw Hugh. She rushed back inside, only to come out again with the head of the house. He was a tall man in a rich coat, and I recognized him from all his pictures in the newspaper. He was Sir John A. Macdonald, Prime Minister of Canada.

On my way home, I stopped to pick up mother’s groceries that I had dropped. The milk was done for, but everything else was fine, or so I thought. When I got home, mother was waiting for me with a dark look emanating from her eyes. She asked me where I had been. When I told her about Hugh John (cleverly leaving the fight out), she bubbled over with anger and slapped me across the face so hard I hit my head on the doorframe. I woke up to her screaming something about how all the Scottish and all the Politicians are corrupt and corrupting and that I was to never to go there again.  After that event I went back to my regular life and didnt’ see Hugh for months. I never stopped thinking about him, though. After a while I often found myself walking through the richest part of town, looking for the Macdonald residence. I would never go in, never knock; I would just watch. Watch and wait for Hugh to come out. Then we would talk. It was never about heavy topics like expansion or politics, only normal things like life in general, and how it differed between us. It was an unusual bridge of the classes that did not happen very much, if at all. This was a friendship that ended up being productive for both of us.

After we had been talking for a few months, Hugh and I started teaching each other. Hugh taught me how to read and write, and I taught him the ways of the streets, the slums, and the people who lived in them. He believed he would go into politics like his dad, and I wanted a better future. These simple talks and teachings blossomed into a friendship that lasted many years. I saw him become a powerful and influential member of the Conservative Party, and myself. . . a school teacher. This, I admit, is a bit of an anticlimax. This was not the job I had always wanted, but it got me out of the slums and into a nice house, with only the occasional student to upset my routine. I still got the weekly letter from Hugh, though. There was one in particular that was the final turning point in my life, for the better.

I received my usual weekly letter from Hugh on April 23, 1873 without thinking much about it. It was always the same thing:  stuff happening on Parliament Hill, the latest scandals, and other truths about the politics of this country. This letter was different though – lighter, in a sense. This week’s letter would be short, I knew. I had already read about the Pacific scandal, and I knew Hugh’s father would have to step down soon, as many had done before him. I remembered my mother’s tirades and smiled to myself thinking how she was always right, even after death. He was losing his grip on everything, even that precious railway of his. Nothing in that letter could surprise me, or so I thought.

The letter was small, but very elegant. It had an envelope that was much more expensive than Hugh usually used. When I opened it, I saw two kinds of handwriting. I recognized Hugh’s immediately, it read:

“My dearest friend Ably,

You would not believe the news I have for you today! I finally told my father about everything you have done for me, and he has decided to reward you by pulling every last string he has. . .”

The letter continued to thank me for everything I had done since we met, but suddenly the writing changed to a hand I did not recognize. After a bit of reading, I realized that it was the writing of Sir John A. Macdonald himself. It was a letter of recommendation for the Senate. My friend’s father used the last of his influence to make me a senator. There was no escaping my joy at the prospect, but it also filled me with dread about the possibility of being shut out because of the scandal. This fear was lifted shortly thereafter when I read that he sacrificed his own position as Prime Minister so that I would not be kicked out by the other members. This act of selflessness was the reason I took the job. Well, one of the reasons.

When I first took my seat in the cabinet, I have to admit I was sweating buckets. The other senators were all better at politics and none of them seemed to like me, but I don’t blame them for that. They were all elected. I was placed via recommendation. This stigma remained for a few months before they warmed up to me, and accepted me as one of their own. After I got used to the role, I loved being a senator, and continued to be one for the rest of my working life, until I retired at age 67. I saw Canada become a mighty country, in size and economy alike. I also saw how much one person can affect a whole nation with a single idea. These experiences, combined with my hardships and friendships, make me believe I lived a good life to its absolute fullest. I never did forget Hugh, but he soon slipped off the political radar after his father left, and his letters stopped coming. Wherever he is, I want him to know it was all because of him that I ascended away from a dark and dreary fate, and allowed my children to escape the path I had to endure. Thank you.

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