1: Childhood

Okay where do I start.

I was born many moons ago, the month of February if you must know; Ive always felt that I was probably born on a very stormy day because for some reason I always feel a pleasurable surge of electricity go through my body when a storm is approaching.

As a kid I was quite unruly, at least that's what I've been told.

My mother likes to remind me that I have always liked to dance to the beat of my own drum and I must agree that she is spot on.

Some of my earliest memories were of when I had managed to get myself into some kind of trouble. It seems that I starting retaining childhood events  when I was three or four years of age.

I can remember not being permitted to cross the street without having adult supervision, in other words I was not allowed off our front or side yard.  I would intentionally kick my ball so that it would land in my neighbors yard, and its not like I had a choice, I really needed to cross the street to retrieve it, needless to say, it proved not to be such a great idea; it usually landed me in my room for having disobeyed.

I don't remember doing this, but Mom tells me that when I was very young there was a skating rink directly across from our apartment, so after I was put to bed and making certain I was asleep, my folks decided to go skating for 15 or 20 minutes, in the meantime I got up, took a chair, climbed to the top of the fridge, took a pack matches and proceeded to light a fire, thankfully they came home before I burned the place down.

I do remember having a friend by the name of Billy, Billy Robertson. If memory serves me well I would have been about four years old, as it was well before granddad died, I was five when he passed away.  Anyhow, we lived on 9th Avenue, as did Billy. Our apartment was on the second floor, Billy lived down towards the river in a rather shabby looking place, it only had one floor, it did however have a large garage towards the end of  the backyard.  We were not allowed to play in his father's garage as he ran his business from there.

In the back of our apartment there was a very large veranda, one that ran the entire length of the apartment block, Billy and I would climb under it to play, it was one of our secret hiding places.  

On this particular day, we were playing doctor,  I think he was the one who instigated the game, because I do not remember it being my idea, (not that it' important one way or the other), it's not like we were doing anything wrong, we were simply  playing  doctor and had decided to check out each others body parts.

As luck would have it, Mom found us and I got scolded and was sent to my room.  I couldn't understood why I was being punished, it didn't seem fair.  I remember her telling me that my behavior was inappropriate, but when asked what I had done wrong, she refused to explain.

When I was six years old it was apparent that I was a bit stubborn . I didn't take too kindly when given orders, when in disagreement I would  cross my arms and summon up an ice cold stare which usually landed me in my room for some time and to ponder on my not so desirable attitude.

I didn't enjoy wearing dresses, neither did I like having all those girly things put in my hair, or having to sit like a little Princess doll to have my picture taken.

Smile, say cheese, click would go the camera, all the while all I wanted to do was to change into my overalls and go play marbles with my friend.  Or better yet, go down to the creek and find myself some tadpoles, or some new found species of frogs.

I especially didn't like it when I had to sit on Uncle Vic's knees to have my picture taken, he always made a point in accidentally grazing his arm against my chest, it left me feeling weird.

I was too young to understand what he was doing, yet I knew it left me feeling very uncomfortable.  I never told my parents about it, I was sure they would not have believed me, or worse yet, Id be accused of making it up so as to not have my picture taken.

My Dads hobby was photography, so we were often at Uncle Vic's place, you see he was the one with a dark room and all the necessary products to develop film etc.; thankfully at some point in time my Dad had his own setup and I didn't have to endure Uncle Vic's inappropriate fondling.

To this day I can summon memories of helping Dad down in our dark room, Dad even had a red light outside the door so that Mom would know not to barge in and ruin the film.

My job was to swish the film in the solution and then carefully hang them up on the 'clothes line' which was directly above the containers filled with developing solution.

The fact that Dad had enough confidence in me to put me in charge of that particular stage of development left me feeling very special, very special indeed.  I have fond memories of that time!

We also made our own Root Beer, sometimes Dad and I would sneak downstairs and sip some of it before it was ready to be bottled.  The smell of yeast, to this day, instills happy memories.  Hed make me promise not to tell Mom that wed tasted it before it was ready, it was like a secret that only he and I knew about.  Im pretty sure he told Mom, I think it was just his way of making me feel special.

When I was ten,  I received a pair of ice figure-skates for Christmas, they even had an extra pick at the end,  they were considered to be professional ice skates and I was stoked to the fullest.  I had no problem showing them off to all of my girl friends.

Skating was something that I lived for,  I couldn't wait to get outside and skate for hours, to the point of having frost bitten toes;  take my word for it, frostbite is painful, but it never stopped me from going back out once the pain subsided.

One fine day when I was down in the basement, looking for something, I bumped my head on my skates that were hanging from the central beam of the house,  I noticed that they were pretty scuffed up, so little old me decided to give them a fresh coat of white.

There was no shoe polish in sight, so I decided the next best thing was to use the can of white oil paint that Dad had used on the house paneling.  Needless to say they looked stunning , but by the following morning, I realized what a terrible mistake I had made.  The leather was totally rigid, and when I placed my foot into them, the leather cracked.

I had managed to totally scrapped my expensive skates, I dont remember being scolded, but I do remember having to wait quite a few months before getting another pair. The new ones didn't have that extra pick !. ............... <Next>