The answer is pretty short and blunt: all other things being equal, I'd have carked it at the tender age of 22, leaving behind a wrinkle-free but otherwise ghoulish, emaciated corpse. This realization, when it first came to me, years ago, was pretty unnerving; these days, it's really just one of those "things that make you go hmmmm." Something to contemplate alongside this beer-centric history of Kitsilano (left and below), which Freddie and I discovered yesterday while taking shelter from the rain (despite my earlier homage, winter weather is wearing out its welcome!).
(By the bye, I 'd suggest clicking/enlarging these photos for a better view of the text.)
1910: The year my maternal grandmother was born, in Newfoundland, Conrad and Henry Reifel were busy brewing Bohemian Beer in a Kitsilano neighbourhood that now features, among other things, a pet supply store, a dog walk, several cafés, and condos galore. Type 1 diabetics? They rarely made it to drinking age.
1922: A banner year in Modernist literature (including works by personal faves, Katherine Mansfield and Virginia Woolf), AND .... Dr. Fred discovers insulin!! Yay! Diabetics can now survive long enough to develop beer bellies! And the Reifel brothers, having survived BC's experiment with temperance, can go back to brewing something other than ginger ale and Bohemian Light ...
Diabetes in the Depression? Yeah, that would've sucked. Even without the economic woes ... no test strips, no personal glucometers, no fast insulins or teeny-tiny needles. Lots of nasty complications.
Better than the alternative, however.
I believe that not a whole heck of a lot happened in diabetes treatments either. OK, yes, glucometers were big; fast insulins were big. And yet ... despite all the new-fangled and oft-useful gadgetry that has been developed in the time since my 1987 diagnosis, something tells me Dr. Fred would be dismayed to learn that there still, nigh on a century later, isn't an effing cure (I have no idea if he was in the habit of swearing, so I've toned down my own inclination).
Alas, Dr. Fred ... insulin and other diabetes paraphernalia have become like beer: why would an enterprising businessperson forsake the opportunity to peddle such commodities?
But those Reifels still feature.
Here we learn that not only were they brewmeisters; one of the sons was also responsible for notable buildings on Theatre Row (featured in this recent post) — including the Commodore Ballroom, whose dance floor was made bouncy with TIRES and HORSEHAIR. Man, I wish I'd known that when I was dancing to Doug and the Slugs etc.
Eventually, the Reifels' brewery was bought out by Molson's, still operating (odiferously!) next to the Burrard Bridge ...
Until two days ago, I knew the name "Reifel" only in connection with the bird sanctuary — a really lovely place, though not somewhere I would attempt to take Freddie any time soon, given his instincts!
Now the history is a bit broader.
So: I like certain beers, and I like all birds. Thanks to Dr. Fred, I've been able to enjoy an excellent variety of both — and to dance many times at the Commodore Ballroom. By the time Heather B joins History, I hope it will be as a "former diabetic," but, if not, c'est la vie.