In October, 2004 I turned 60 and posted this blog of memories:
I was born on October 25th, 1944, which makes me 60 years old on Monday, please God. That sobering fact cries out for a blog of some sort.
Yes, I, dear reader, predate the end of World War II, the end of the Nazi death camps, the modern, and quite persistent, state of Israel and the age of TV. I have some very early memories, such as:
- being too shy (at 3) to visit my father in the hospital after his heart attack, after he had been in for months with no visits from children allowed. The treatment of HA’s is so much smarter now. I know that from personal experience
- burning my finger with an electric cigarette lighter (at 4) in the back of my Uncle Bill’s car because I trusted my cousin Jo-Ann when she said that it wasn’t hot after the red colour went away
- hoping there would never be another war in which I would have to fight and possibly die (I escaped, but TV reminds me constantly of those who don’t)
- being talked into trading, by some shyster in grade 1, my Maurice Richard hockey card for two or three others not worthy to tie his skates
- having to make sure I made it home from grade 1 in St. Kevin’s School before the “French guys” got out of their school, which I passed on my way home, if I knew what was good for me
- my least favorite teacher, again in Grade 1, Mrs. Crook, who taught me how not to kneel at the practice communion rail in 67 milliseconds with one swipe on my rear end that should not have been resting on my calves
- the same Mrs. Crook in the same Grade 1 taking away my badge for coming first after I was wrongly fingered by several classmates for tearing the strap off some boy’s hat while we lined up in class. My mother got it back for me
- sitting on my balcony at 5003 Cote des Neiges in Montreal with my dad (at 6) and learning to recognize all the makes of cars that existed then in about an hour. Today… um…
- getting routinely strapped in Grade 3 by a vicious Christian Brother for failing to do our homework to his expectations. This happened at Resurrection of Our Lord school in Lachine in 1953
- the sidewalks of Lachine, Quebec, where we moved when I was in Grade 3, being covered with May shad flies so thick that your shoes crunched as you walked (Suzuki remembers these too in Leamington, Ontario and laments their diminished numbers as a sign of pesticide overuse)
- pretending to be asleep in bed and being kissed by my mother
Memories, some bad and some very good. The world could be a harsh place for a 6-year-old, but it was a blissfully ignorant, and thus somewhat innocent, place. At that time we knew who the “bad guys” were (“sub-human” Russians) but we didn’t yet know that the “good guys” were bad, too. We headed into the good times after WW II. In the fifties we had cars with fins. Now we have sharks without fins.