More memories of my past,
There was a stream, a runoff, in the high school wood lot. A friend called the spot "Little People Island" which evolved into the myth that fantastical tiny people lived under the rocks and would come out and drag you down under if provoked. We would build temporary dams out of rocks and silt to block the stream.
I vaguely remember an abandoned building that some of us neighbour kids would sneak inside. I think it was an old storage shed used during events. Maybe that is where my fascination with abandoned buildings came from? There were two others I remember going into as a teen, one an old garage and the other a storage building in a nearby town.
I have several memories of crossing the old railway trestle at night. My mother did not know we kids crossed it until my late teens or early twenties. It stood about one hundred and fifty feet above the Saugeen River and was later modified with walls to allow safe pedestrian passage as part of the trails network.
I remember one time walking home from elementary school for lunch and stopping to play on the steps of a church on Second Avenue. I lost track of time until my father drove up and angrily told me to get my butt home. I think I was under ten.
I remember a friend shoplifting candy from a store downtown on the way to school. I did not and I recall not hanging out with him much after that. He was the special kid in school, you know, the one who ate glue and got detention often.
I remember as a treat, growing up in a modern traditionalist household, how we would have toast with peanut butter and jam or marmalade while watching the floor model television. McDonalds was considered a treat and junk food was never a daily meal - ever. The basement rec room had wood paneling, a purple? sofa, and a red cushion and black metal chair. There was a big oil furnace and I remember grates in the ceiling you could see upstairs through.
I remember playing around the big maple tree in the playground at our elementary school. We would walk only on the roots pretending that the bare soil was quicksand or lava.
I remember going eighty kilometres (fifty miles) per hour on my ten speed bicycle while out on a country concession north-west of town. Not really a big achievement nowadays but at the time it felt awesome moving at the same rate as cars.
I remember the sound of the engine as I lay in the back seat of my parents Maverick as they drove home from shopping in the local towns. I could tell how close we were by the sound of the transmission.
I remember being one of the hosts of the guests for Dare to Care in secondary school. I belonged to CARE, Citizens Actions to Renew Earth. I created a posted that won second prize in the contest for an ad campaign for the lung association or something like that. The world's too small to smoke. I created a wood thingy, figures sitting on a log, that someone important with the school board took for his home. I set a weekly record at school one year for eating two hot dogs and 2 chocolate milks, grade eight it was, in under two and a half minutes. I ran for students council in grade eight and grade twelve for the years, lost both times.
So, there you go, memories I wrote down on a spring day.
I have been thinking lately about memories from my childhood, for lack of a better word 'traumatic' events that would shape my personality in later years.
I find many of them center around my mother. Now I should make it clear by most standards I had a "normal" "stable" childhood with no real want of money, attention or sense of love.
These memories are going to be completely random by sequence, but are, some decades later, still a part of my thoughts.
There was a time I recall as a child being, what I thought at the time, locked out of the house. I was not very old, maybe under ten. I tried the door and it would not open. I remember banging and even kicking it to no avail. Finally I crawled on my hands and knees down by the cellar window well to bang on the window. My mother was in the basement doing laundry, which later explained why she did not hear my frantic attempts to gain entry to the house. I remember feeling scared that I was being intentionally locked out and ignored for whatever reason. Looking back on it now it was one of many signs of the early onset of my general anxiety disorder.
The other day I was stocking products (March 2018) and I came across a wooden spoon. My father was the primary disciplinary in our household and really bad behaviour would prompt an open handed smack on the butt. It did not happen often but when it did it was definitely attitude changing. My mother, on the other hand, lacked the physical strength (guessing) to restrain and discipline a growing boy. This is where the wooden spoon came in, taking the place of a hand. I guess it is similar to a paddle used in the school days of my parents, outlawed most places in the seventies. I remember the spoon turning a light blue colour and thinking it was the result of all of the times it had been used. The thing is, looking back, I never wore jeans or blue pants that I can recall so why it turned blue (by that reasoning) I will never figure out. I guess perhaps it was because of the saying "black and blue" to describe the bruises from a real whooping (which I never got by the way).
I remember many autumns, two or three at least, building 'walls' out of leaves in the backyard. I think I was in my early teens. I would design floor plans of houses out of leaves. If my life path had been different I would have been an architect.
I did not learn to ride a two wheeled bicycle until I was twelve. I remember in March I finally figured out how to keep my balance. I rode down a neighbour's angled driveway and onto the slush shouldered street. I still did not really have the hang of it when my bicycle was stolen a month or so later and left hanging on the fence at my elementary school. I had to walk it home and the embarrassment I felt in front of my peers prompted me to learn. My first bicycle was a metallic orange and chrome one speed. I lost it after leaving it under the bleachers of a nearby baseball park. I never saw it again. It was replaced with a blue bicycle, the handlebars snapped off one day as I rode up the high school street. Next was ten speed, followed by a mountain bike.
I remember visiting a cousin frequently in the city. One time we thoughts it would be fun to soak wads of bathroom tissue under the tap and throw the wads out of a second storey window and out onto a busy street. Our parents only caught us when we went to retrieve the wads, splattered on the asphalt, and a car honked at us (me, to be accurate).
A neighbour down the street I grew up on had a pear tree in their backyard that a few of us kids would liberate ripe pears from each summer. I think they knew it was happening but we never got caught.
I recall a time, under age twelve, that i picked pretty flowers in the wilds across the street and took them home. I quickly learned that they were poisonous, known as deadly nightshade. My horrified parents informed the neighbour who proceeded to spray and kill off the plants.
I have a vivid memory of my grandparents house on the street by the river. I remember a view out the front window from a kitchen area and the long grass backyard with gardens down to the water's edge. My mother told me I was under five years old when they lived in that house.
I remember climbing trees, in particular the cedars, across the street from my house. They were perfect for climbing and friends and me would sit high up in them for what seemed like hours. Another tree nearby stretched out over the hill. It could be climbed but with less branches for support and the concrete retaining wall below I did not climb it that often.
It is late, I will write about more memories of my childhood another night...
I was asked the other day to recall my 9/11 story "where were you on 9/11?" and I thought I would take the opportunity to answer that here.
I was at home, in Powell, Ohio, watching the morning show. I believe it was the Today show on NBC. I can not remember the specifics, but I do remember watching as they showed the aftermath of the first plane hitting the tower. The media was portraying it as an accident and showed pictures of the smoke rising from the tower on fire.
The thing I remember the most about that day is when they grounded all the air travel. They said how flights across the country were being immediately grounded or diverted away from the United States. One of the alleged hostage planes flew over Pennsylvania, just one state away from us.
I went outside to the front deck and just stood there and listened. It was quiet all around. I could still hear the traffic on the main roads and the interstate but not a single plane or helicopter in the sky. In a city of over two million there was always at least one of one or the other.
I remember the silence and the ominous feeling that something was not quite right.
The feeling was reinforced by the school buses coming an hour early as schools, offices, every thing government was shut down and evacuated hours early.
I went to work late that night. They were playing "patriotic" musak and not good stuff like 'Born in the USA' or 'American Woman' either or any real "American" bands. Instead a lot of classical pomp and circumstance that sounded more pathetic than patriotic. It was the same dozen or so songs played over and over for hours.
When I think of nine eleven I think of standing on the front deck just listening and looking at the light clouds in the blue sky.
Ad Revenue / Orange Key Fund Pending Donations to Charity:
of that balance the total donated to charity was:
Open a Tangerine account with my Orange Key
and get a bonus!