I didn’t really watch Wind at My Back when it was originally airing on TV; when the show came on I was nine and more interested in cartoons and feel good shows like Road to Avonlea. I do recall my Mother watching the show, on CBC, and that the episodes I did see left me feeling if not unsettled, then nearly so. It wasn’t that the show wasn’t good, or that it was particularly disturbing in any way, but there was something about it that at nine years old I really couldn’t put my finger on.
Fast-forward over 15 years and I found myself working for the very company that had produced the show. I’m a firm believer that to do something right, you need to have all the information you can. So when my Mother mentioned that she wouldn’t mind seeing Wind at My Back again, I got her the DVDs and we watched it together; I figured it was research, that I was better informing myself. And as we got further and further into the show I finally realized what it was that had struck me so many years ago. Wind at My Back was darker than Road to Avonlea and Anne of Green Gables; it was real in a way that shone a light on societal issues: Children being taken away from their Mother after their Father dies, families being separated because of economic strife, and young girls becoming pregnant out of wedlock.
As an adult, with the blinds of youth pushed back, I can now appreciate what Wind at My Back was offering. It was difficulty and hardship, but there was hope. Always hope. Wind at My Back walked a tightrope every episode, balancing the emotional with lighter and humorous moments. But most of all it was a story of a family, who could have been any family during the 1930s. The Baileys and their triumphs, failures, hardships and laughter represented the best and worst of what life can throw at us.
I’ve formed an appreciation for Wind at My Back and the story that it told. However fictionalized, it’s reminded me of a lesson I think we learn many times as we go along down the road of life: that life is messy, and things are not always going to work out how you dream they will, but if you keep persevering you can overcome so many of the obstacles tossed in your way. I think Uncle Joe said it best when he told Hub and Fat, “”May the road always rise to meet your feet, and may the wind be forever at your back.”
By Adriana Pacheco, Sullivan Entertainment