rjmendera was born ralf szymendera in Wetter RUHR GERMANY: His grandfather on his mothers side fled from the russians after WWII and his grandfather on his Fathers side fell during the war.RJ grew up on the Bahnhoff Strasse IN HERDECKE WITH AN AUNT Renate and an UNCLE Gerhardt.The uncle took him to local football matches.RJ spent time pretending to serve customers at KNIERIMS Restaraunt when he was about 7, and later worked in huge HOTEL BARS in the North of British Columbia,like THE INN of the NORTH in PG.
His grandfather had a TAILOR shop on the Bahnhoff str and his mother Irmgard was a Seamstress.IRMGARD SZYMENDERA won a german doubles kayak championship with the HERDECKE KAYAK CLUB in 1952 before ralf was born. In 1963 rj's life took a dramatic twist when he flew from the industrial heartland of the RUHRGEBIET to the wide open spaces of a huge albertan ranch near Calgary,,the GRAHAM RANCH:ralf grew up playing with Juliet Graham,later CANADIAN EVENTING TEAM, and the two graham boys Andrew and Nicholas.The GRAHAMS were well know equestrian people--PIP founded THE TACK SHOP chain in
Canada and was fond of rally driving.NICKI Graham rode at horse shows with rj's stepfather,then ranch foreman,in and around Calgary. On the other side of the coin ,ralf learned to fish and skate with the COWAN Brothers ,Bert and Harry,whose family were caretakers at an exhibition ground across the main road.
In 1965 rj ,who adopted his stepfathers family name at that time,(SAMEIT), moved to Penticton British Columbia with the family,which now consisted of a younger brother Franz-Otto and three sisters-Angela,Ute and Cornelia.