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But the cost was terrible: more than 60,000 were killed, 172,000 wounded. A modern-day troubadour, Gordon Lightfoot has touched the lives of millions of people with his thoughtful, evocative portraits of Canadian life and landscape.
There are no more Canadian combat veterans alive to recall the horrors of the First World War, but their voices and memories live on in the archives of the CBC. He's a musician steeped in the folk tradition, his catalogue of songs, including such classics as Canadian Railroad Trilogy and The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald, earning him a place in the pantheon of Canadian icons.
And despite growing up in an era when the centuries-old mantra to get married young was finally (and, it seemed, refreshingly) replaced by encouragement to postpone that milestone in pursuit of high ideals (education! Oh, I know—I’m guessing there are single 30-year-old women reading this right now who will be writing letters to the editor to say that the women I know aren’t widely representative, that I’ve been co-opted by the cult of the feminist backlash, and basically, that I have no idea what I’m talking about.
In some ways, I meant it: we’d both dreamed of motherhood, and here we were, picnicking in the park with our children. The dream, like that of our mothers and their mothers from time immemorial, was to fall in love, get married, and live happily ever after.
Of course, we’d be loath to admit it in this day and age, but ask any soul-baring 40-year-old single heterosexual woman what she most longs for in life, and she probably won’t tell you it’s a better career or a smaller waistline or a bigger apartment.