I was born in Edmonton in 1980, the second son and third child of Andrew and Mary Lou Hoskin (currently of Thunder Bay, Ontario). The family lived in Manning (north of Peace River) at the time – and it is probable that when I refer to this time I usually say “they,” for although I lived there for the first two years of my life also, I have no memory of it. In early 1983, we moved to Brooks (in southern Alberta, just west of Medicine Hat). I’m pleased to say that my earliest memories are of this place.
I remember Vacation Bible School with the Legary brothers; the Drive-in movie theatre; 7-11 Big Gulps; a used book/comic store; paper airplanes; learning about swearing (through experience – though I never tasted soap for it, happily enough for me… though I can’t say the same for my siblings… who I may or may not have tricked into saying what they said…). I remember teaching myself to whistle, to snap my fingers, and the basics of piano playing. I remember my friends there: Warren, Ryan, Billy, Nigel, Johnny, Heath, Mark. There are a great many things I remember from Brooks – the quantity of which actually surprises me to some extent, as we were only there for 5 years. In 1988 we moved to Rocky Mountain House.
Rocky Mountain House is just west of Red Deer, Alberta. I grew up there. From Grade 2 to Grade 12. It was in Rocky that I made some real, lasting friendships (though with time these seem to be fading as well). My first kiss (well, with a girl who was willing … the girl I’d kissed in Brooks – only once – had been much more interested in running away screaming than in kissing). My second kiss (does it count when it’s in a stage play? that she was Anne (of Green Gables) and that I was Gilbert?). It was in Rocky that I got involved in canoe racing (a pastime that I would still love to be involved with, if I could find an outlet). It was in Rocky that I got into the most trouble (as high school boys are apt to do). It was in Rocky that I really learned the difference between right and wrong.
After I’d finished high school, I moved with my parents and younger brother to Thunder Bay, where I put in my four years of university. At first I studied music (2 years worth), and then I switched majors to philosophy (graduating with an honours degree, and a minor in religious studies). They were good years. I got involved with Inter-Varsity: both at the university level (ultimately attending the National Student Leaders’ Conference, though turning down the opportunity to serve as head of this student club for the following year due to honest admission of a need for personal maturation in some areas) and at the high school level (I was able to lead one of the high school christian fellowship groups for a year). I made some big mistakes at those times, but ultimately these were the things that made me who I am and prepared me for what came next.
I spent three years in Toronto at Wycliffe College, at the U of T. They were not easy years for me – I don’t think that’s because of the academic challenges (though I’m not belittling those, either). The story was told of a seminary student who went to a professor during his second year and said, “What a great time I’m having! At first, I was having such a hard time. During first year I could barely get up in the morning, and had no enthusiasm for anything I was doing. It was like someone was trying to make things horrible. Comparatively, it’s been easy sailing this year!” The professor replied, “I’m sorry to hear that. Satan works against all those who are threats, so you’re probably right about him trying to make it horrible for you last year. I can only surmise that if he isn’t working against you now, you’ve ceased to be a threat. I’m sorry to hear that.” True story? I have no idea. But the sentiment of it certainly bears the mark of authenticity. Satan doesn’t like threats. Well… the long and short of it is this: I think that I found first year the easiest of my years – I was consistently more emotionally distraught the longer I was in seminary. Was I becoming more of a threat to the devil? I don’t know about that – but I certainly didn’t lose my faith in seminary (which is one of the all-too-often appropriately placed criticisms levelled against seminaries).
Since then I’ve gotten married. Cindy and I met in Toronto (she was studying for her Master’s degree in Museum Studies). We spent about 2.5 years in Unity, Saskatchewan, about 2.5 years in Calgary, Alberta, and are now back in Saskatchewan (Swift Currrent, particularly). More about all of this can be found elsewhere.