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Excerpt for Riding The Road Of Life (With Hair Blowing And Tits Out) by , available in its entirety at Smashwords







RIDING THE ROAD OF LIFE

WITH HAIR BLOWING AND TITS OUT















WRITTEN BY LOIS MARLATT

COVER BY GIL AGIS























Copyright  2018

All rights reserved


ISBN 978-1-55349-132-3


Published by Books for Pleasure

Box 916

Cayuga, Ontario N0A 1E0

RIDING THE ROAD OF LIFE – CHAPTER 1



Like the old fairy tale queen, I have a question for my mirror. “Mirror, my mirror dear, how the hell did I get here?”

I had to change the rhyme because my mirror wasn’t on the wall.

I didn’t want an answer that explained the sexual coupling of a man and a woman. Instead, I was wondering how I could be looking at the reflection of an 88-year-old female who was still in good health mentally and physically.

The gray hair and wrinkles are there. I’ve always told people every gray hair of mine has been earned and that the wrinkles are only laugh lines. I’ve done a lot of laughing in my 88 years.

This book is about my life. I started out as an optimistic child who thought she should be able to control things. From there I went to be a horny teenager who did not know the difference between lust and love and finally I’m an aging adult who now knows what it was to have loved and lost.

I married at 16, was married for 53 years, and now have been alone for 18 more. Does that mean it is time for me to marry again? No. Maybe it is just time to reminisce about where I have been on this ride down the road of life with its paved highway and pot holes.

Somewhere in the mists of time I remember my mom telling me that my dad made her douche before intercourse when they planned to have a baby. For my brother Lloyd it was a different concoction than what was used for my conception. Dad must have heard of the ingredients somewhere and they did work. He had his boy and his girl.

He was an Englishman, so he bragged that he had done better than the King, because he had one of each sex instead of two girls.

Mom abhorred nick names, so she picked Lloyd and Lois as two names that would never be changed into something else. It wasn’t long before Lloyd became Lloydie–boy to the family and shortly after my birth I became Loie.

Mom bragged that all the nine months of carrying Lloyd and then me she had never thrown up except once when I evidently had kicked her stomach so hard that she lost her meal. It was my fault.

Looking back, I’m not sure that my dad was all that lucky to get me. I was trouble right from the start.

I was due to be born on the first of October 1930. I actually arrived 15 days later. If anyone asks about my birth date, I give them too much information.

I tell them, “I was due on the first of October. Dad got paid twice a month, and when I did not arrive as expected, he told Mom that she had to wait until the next payday to deliver. He liked to pay cash for things because, during the depression, if you paid cash you could ask for, and receive, a discount. Mom walked around with her legs crossed for two weeks until the next payday. I arrived as a breech birth on our kitchen table, and as I had spent that extra time in the womb, I was able to walk down to the foot of the table and tell Dad that he could call his brother and tell him that I had arrived.”

Neither my mother nor my father had an easy childhood. Dad was left an orphan at a young age and was raised in miserable surroundings. Mom took on the duties of running a household at the age of 12. Her father was absent, and her mother was bedridden for four years, so the work fell upon her shoulders.

My memory is still good, but the next couple of incidents are probably known by me due to family lore rather than actual memories.

I can’t imagine that I was anything but a good baby. My parents did not socialize so I was used to being looked after only by them.

When I was about a year old my mother’s sister passed away, and I was left with the neighbours, so Mom and Dad could attend the funeral. When I awoke from my nap and found I was with strangers, that situation did not suit me. I evidently screamed at their every approach, so they left me alone until my parents returned. They never looked after me again.

Six months or so after that I was ill, and the doctor suggested my medicine be added to my bottles of milk. According to Mom, I took one suck on the nipple and spit out the doctored milk. From that time on I refused my bottle. Mom spoon fed me with milk that had some tea added to it until I learned to drink from a cup. Plain milk was no longer in my world.

I can see by the above that I was already developing a personality trait that more or less was saying, “My way or the highway!”

I was also well aware of the fact that I was Daddy’s little darling.

Lloyd got back at me some of the time by teasing, but I had Dad in my corner.

Another family lore story went like this. Mom heard some commotion happening on our front veranda. Lloyd had been teasing and was easily holding me out at his arm’s length as I tried my best to get in and thump him. By the time Mom got there I had realized I could not reach him.

I evidently stepped back and with hands on hips told Lloyd, “My father can beat up your mother.”

He never did.

Poor Lloyd loved his milk and Mom bought some that was not pasteurized because it was cheaper. This was depression time and every penny counted.

The cow had tuberculosis, or TB, which was the more common name for that disease at the time.

Lloyd developed tuberculosis of the stomach. With it went extremely high fevers and the doctor told my parents that one of the sessions of fever would take Lloyd’s life and there was nothing that could be done about it.

Mom rebelled. A mistake on her part was not going to be the cause of my brother’s passing. Whenever he was ill, she nursed him around the clock until his fever was down again. She also kept him up to date on his schoolwork as he was missing a lot of school.

Lloyd not only had his bouts of high fever; his immune system must have been weakened because he also got every disease going around.

The first one was whooping cough, and that one I remember. The doctor was called, and he came to the house. He was a big bear of a man with a gruff voice and I was frightened of him. He evidently diagnosed the problem and said I would get it as well. He would give me a shot which would not stop the disease but would make it less severe. That conversation I don’t remember, but what happened next is etched in my memory.

The doctor grabbed me, upended me over his lap, lifted my dress, took down my panties and gave me a shot of something or other. I squirmed to no avail. It wasn’t the shot that riled me, but the nerve of the man to treat me in such a fashion. I never forgot him. His tombstone is near the family plot and when I go to the cemetery I often stop at his stone as well. I usually stand there with a smile on my face as I remember how angry I was at him.

I did get whooping cough, and a memory of mine at the time is of Lloyd and me in our back yard. It was a spring day.

We were still hacking occasionally, and I started to cough. Inadvertently I spit out my gum and it landed in a puddle of mud. I began to cry. Gum was hard to come by and one stick could be chewed off and on for weeks on end.

Lloyd put his arm around me.

“Don’t cry, Loie,” he said. “You can have my gum.”

He offered it to me and his gum had hardly been chewed.

Mom appeared and stopped the transfer.

What a nice brother I had, and I really did not appreciate him until I had grown up.

At the time though I was pretty fed up with him because he did get every illness that was going around. Mom would insist that I play games with him. Her idea was that I should get sick as well and get it over with. However, his chicken pox, mumps, measles, and scarlet fever passed me by. I never caught them.

I was really annoyed at the scarlet fever because our house was quarantined, and I could not go out to play with my friends. It was all Lloyd’s fault.

However, on the good side as I look back, with Lloyd being so sickly it kept my mom busy with him.

As others of my sex were learning to help out at home, my mom did not want me underfoot.

Her favourite saying to me was, “Go out and play.”

I’m not much of a cook, but by becoming an expert at playing, it is something that I’ve made use of all of my 88 years.

I was four and a half when my father’s step brother and his wife came to visit us from England. The man had become a ship’s captain and I guess that occupation left him expecting others to defer to his status.

I remember the excitement in our house as my parents planned for the relative’s arrival.

They even hired a maid named Mary to help, and she was also to act as a babysitter when my parents would be out showing the visitors around.

It was a good thing I liked Mary. She played with me when the adults were gone so I had no desire to go with them.

I didn’t like my uncle. He must have been lacking in memory cells because he kept asking me where I was going in September.

I would reply, “I am going to stool.”

He would laugh, and I would wonder why going to stool was funny. I was excited about it. I was going to get an education.

I had a lisp but no one in those days did anything about it. School was a word I just couldn’t say properly.

My uncle would also ask me what colour bananas were.

I would reply, “They are yellow.”

He would laugh and say, “You are wrong. When I go in my ship to the islands to collect bananas, they are green.”

I couldn’t call him a liar, and we did not have a banana in the house, so I could show him that they were yellow. It frustrated me.

Because we had company, we ate our meals at the dining room table. I missed eating in the kitchen at a table where I probably babbled on about things that were important to me. Things were boring at this table.

I sat next to Uncle Will, and if I started to talk he would quietly say to me, “Children should be seen and not heard.”

I wasn’t stupid. I knew what that meant. He was telling me to shut up.

I stayed out of his way as much as I could but finally I boiled over, and I wonder now if that would class as antiauthoritarianism in a four-year-old.

We were at the dining room table and I wanted to share something that was important to me with the others.

He started to tell me what children should do but I had heard that line too many times.

I turned to him and said in a fairly loud voice, “Why don’t you go home?”

I took one look at the expressions on my parents’ faces and decided I would not bother asking to be excused. I simply left the table and disappeared outside.

When I returned nothing was mentioned about what I had said. I was prepared to defend myself but was delighted I didn’t have to.

A couple of days later my aunt and uncle departed and things went back to normal.

It was years later my mom happened to mention their visit.

I inquired about my uncle’s reaction to my outburst.

Mom said, “Will was red in the face, and he was blustering at your dad about the nerve of his daughter talking to him like that. Before your father could say anything, Will’s wife Nellie spoke up. She really gave it to him.”

She said, “Will, you have been teasing that child ever since we arrived, and it is terrible how you have been laughing at her pronunciation of school when she cannot help it.”

Will said, “My children would never talk back like that to any adult.”

That did it.

Nellie laid out the truth.

“What do you know about your children?” she asked. “You are hardly ever home. When you are, your children are frightened to death of you. They behave like they are walking on egg shells, and they can hardly wait until you leave again.”

Then Nellie said, “Come on, Edith. We are going for a walk.”

Mom said, “We left the men and what happened then your father never said. As you know they stayed for a couple more days and then they left.”

Because we were discussing the incident, we both decided we had liked Nellie but didn’t like Will.

I started school in September at age four and turned five that October. We only went in the mornings to Kindergarten and I had a great teacher.

The first time she told us we would now pause from our work for a rest, I immediately explained to her that I did not need one.

While the others were napping or just resting, she let me help her get ready for the next session of learning. I really liked her for that.

I had previously argued with my mom about that same thing. She would insist I needed a rest every afternoon. She always won, and I would find myself in bed.

One afternoon she peaked in to see if I was sleeping.

Of course, I wasn’t. I didn’t need a rest.

Instead, I was caught feeling between my legs. It was my body, so why not. I wasn’t doing anything bad, but my Mom’s reaction told me differently. Had she just ignored it, she would have been further ahead.

Now I knew there was something special between my legs.

I had no idea what it was, but it got me out of afternoon naps.

No longer was I put to bed against my wishes. Instead, I went out to play.

I loved going to school and had a good friend who lived down the block from me named Gladys. I stopped to walk with her every morning.

She was never ready, and it meant that we usually had to run the last couple of blocks to school to avoid being late.

If you were late, the following morning you had to report to the office before the bell rang. Then you had to stand out in the hall under the bell while all the others filed into the school. They would laugh and point as they passed you. I knew that because I had seen them do it.

I had already made up my mind that there was no way I would stand under the bell and be laughed at. Nor would I allow any teacher to strap me.

One morning, because I waited for Gladys, we were both late.

Rather than go in and face standing under the bell the next morning, I opted to hide behind the corner store and stay there.

Gladys followed me, so we drew a hop scotch on the sidewalk in chalk and played there until the students came out for recess.

We went over and joined them at play. When the bell rang we went back behind the store and stayed there until it was time to go home.

That evening I said to my mom, “I need a note from you for the teacher.”

“What kind of a note?” she asked.

“Just a note that says please excuse Lois from being absent from school and sign it,” I explained.

“That’s strange,” Mom said. “I’ll phone her tomorrow and see why she wants one.”

That did it. I broke down and cried and explained about the bell.

She kept me home the next day and then sent me back with a note just saying I had been away but not saying when.

I was punished. I could no longer call for Gladys.

When I told Gladys, she said we were no longer friends.

I didn’t care, and her family moved away shortly afterwards so it really didn’t matter.

There were enough other children in the area to play with and we all seemed to play quite well together. There were no organized sports. We did our own organizing, and everyone got to play. At night we had to go in when the street lights came on.

As Lloyd continued to have very serious bouts of high fever, Mom decided it would be easier for her if she did not have me to look after during the periods when there wasn’t any school.

The next time he was ill I was sent to my grandmother’s home. Grandma kept house for Mom’s brother Wilford who had never married.

I had to help when I was there even though there were children in the area who were quite willing to let me join them in play.

The first Monday I was there, Grandma decided I would hang out the laundry. Mondays were everyone’s wash day.

The first clothes she brought for me to hang on the line were the whites. I could hardly reach the clothes line. I persevered and had almost emptied the basket when Grandma appeared with the coloured clothes.

She took one look at the clothes already drying and grabbed the line to start bringing everything back in. She took the clothes off the line as quickly as she could.

I just stood there, dumbfounded.

The last things to come off the line were Grandma’s bloomers.

How was I supposed to know that her bloomers were to be hung inside of the pillow cases? My Mom’s just blew in the breeze as did all the underwear for both sexes at my house. Anyway, I had never hung clothes on a line before.

Now I got to thinking. My grandmother did not have a bra in the basket. She probably did not wear one.

If she was so worried about the neighbours seeing her bloomers, they also were not seeing her bras. Wouldn’t they think she didn’t wear either of them? That to me would be a whole lot worse.

I couldn’t help but think it wasn’t fair. The neighbourhood kids were outside playing and here I was hanging clothes out on a clothesline.

However, it turned out to be an interesting day when I finally got outside to play with the group.

They decided they were going to play doctor.

I had never played that game before, so I went along with them.

We went into the neighbour’s garage and the girls took their panties down and bent over.

The boys took turns playing with the girls’ bums.

I stood and watched.

Finally, one of the boys wanted to get a stick and insert it into an anus. That ended the dumb game and we went outside to play.

For all the times I was at Grandma’s after that, playing doctor never occurred again, but there may have been something going around in the air because a boy who lived on our street invited me into his tent.

He said, “I have something to show you.”

I followed him in and he turned around to face me.

He had his fly unbuttoned and had this puny little worm hanging out of it.

It was the first penis I had ever seen, and I was not impressed.

I turned and walked out of the tent and, of course, never told anyone.

Whatever was in the air did not dissipate.

A couple of years later I was riding my bicycle down our back lane on my way to the grocery store.

A man about the age of 20 stepped out into the lane.

To this day I swear he had on a brown trench coat. Whatever the colour, he did open it up, so I could see what he had on view. This one was larger, and I’ve been led to believe that most men think size counts.

He did not speak and neither did I.

I simply turned my bike around, rode back home and this time I told my mother.

She got very upset and called the police.

I thought that was unnecessary because the man really did not do anything except to show me something he must have thought was impressive.

The police arrived, and I was questioned, and they left.

I heard later they arrested the man, and it wasn’t his first arrest on the same charge. He had just been released and was staying with his sister whom we knew from the neighbourhood.

Evidently, she cried and tried to tell the police it was her fault that he had got away from her to pull this routine of his once again.

They arrested the man anyway, but I did not have to testify.

I felt badly for the sister and wondered how you broke someone of this particularly bad habit. It was a puzzle.

Lloyd was sick again, and this time his illness coincided with summer holidays.

I was told I was going to Winnipeg to stay with my aunt and uncle there.

Dad would put me on the train in the evening and I would have a berth. I was to stay in the berth until we arrived in Winnipeg in the morning. I imagine he paid the porter a tip to keep an eye on me.

I had met my Aunt Eddie whose real name was Henrietta. She had come to our house to visit a few times.

I had no fear of leaving home. In fact, I may have thought of it as an adventure.

It wasn’t much of an adventure. I had to work at their house as well.

The work mostly consisted of weeding in their large garden, which was better than hanging out clothes, washing dishes, or setting a table, like I did at my grandma’s house.

There were no other children around to play with, but their son Norman was home. He was five or six years older than me and everything he suggested I do was guaranteed to get me into trouble with Aunt Eddie.

I just never seemed to learn.

I remember him dropping a ball down to me from an upstairs window.

He said, “Bet you can’t throw it back to me.”

I tried, and it fell short, so I tried again and again.

The ball bounced off the house and that brought my Aunt Eddie to the door to give me a thorough tongue lashing about breaking windows and so on. All the while Norman leaned out of the window and he was laughing at me.

She never knew he was there.

Before I left to return home, Norman had joined my Uncle Will on my list of people I did not like.

Suppertime at their house was a lot different than at my home. First of all, Norman and I had to change our clothes from the ones we had been wearing all day. We had to wash our hands and faces and clean our fingernails.

When my uncle came home he always seemed to have a headache, and I couldn’t believe how my Aunt Eddie fussed around him.

There was no talking at the table except between the two adults and they did not have anything interesting to say.

I wasn’t homesick, but I sure missed mealtimes around the table at home where I could talk.

Christmas was an exciting time to look forward to because every November Eatons printed their Christmas catalogue, and I spent hours going through it to mark all the things that I would like to get for Christmas.

When Christmas arrived I always got a doll and a new pair of pyjamas. I had not marked either one as a desired gift. Santa didn’t pay enough attention to the catalogue.

An exciting day in the Noel season was when Lloyd and I went out to cut down a Christmas tree and drag it home on our toboggan.

Dad would square off the bottom of the tree and it would be set up in a stand. Decorating it was left to us and I always got the miserable job of straightening out all the icicles before they could be hung on the tree.

I remember that on one of our trips to get a tree Lloyd spotted some beads lying on the snow.

“Why don’t you pick those up, Loie,” he suggested. “When you get home, you can string them into a necklace.”

I carefully wrapped them in my handkerchief and put them in my pocket.

By the time I got home the beads had partially melted and Mom identified them as rabbit poo.

Looking back, Lloyd had pulled a good one on me.

It was in a December that an older friend of mine set my world spinning when she told me there was no Santa Claus. When she realized how lacking I was in knowledge at the age of nine, she proceeded to tell me where babies came from and how they got there.

I didn’t want to believe her. My dad wouldn’t do anything like that!

I raced home and found my mom working in the kitchen.

I asked, “Why didn’t you tell me I was adopted?”

“You aren’t adopted,” she replied.

“Yes, I am,” I insisted.

I couldn’t understand why she wouldn’t admit it.

After a few minutes of fruitless arguing, I gave up and went outside again to mull over how stubborn my mother could be.

The good thing about it all was that I could tell my mom, face to face, that I did not want another doll. I found playing with dolls with the other girls on my street boring.

I was in a grade 4-5 class at school at this time. There was a boy named Jimmy in the grade 5 class that I would loved to have spent recess with, but he didn’t know I existed.

Our winters were long and cold. Everyone could skate, and when we got older we learned to ski. We had an outdoor rink not far from where I lived, and we took advantage of it. We sometimes made a rink on the vacant lot next door to us and we watered it with our garden hose. It was a slow process.

On Saturday evenings our family sat around the dining room table and played Whist which is very similar to the game of Bridge.

My brother was an avid player, but I think I was there because we each had some penny candy to nibble on as we played. It wasn’t that I liked the game.

Our radio was on and tuned to the hockey game.

Foster Hewitt announced the play by play of the game and when he would shout, “He shoots, he scores!” all card playing would stop until we heard which side got the goal and which player was responsible for it.

A nice thing about winter was we no longer had to pull a wagon to the ice house and return home with a block of ice for the ice box. It was cheaper if you picked it up yourself. In the winter anything that had to be kept cold just went out on a shelf in the back porch.

The richer folks had ice delivered and the ice man would often give us children slivers of ice to suck on long after he had driven away.

Other delivery men might have horse drawn rigs and it was mighty impressive to watch a horse having a pee. It was a lot of pee.

We had a public park that we could get to by street car. Dad never owned a car. Occasionally we would go there on a Saturday and we would take a picnic supper. They had an area in which they kept Bison, so we would stand at the fence and watch them eat the grass. They were huge animals.

They also had a bear that they kept in a concrete lined hole-in-the-ground. If one had a penny or two to spare you could buy peanuts and throw them down to the poor bear.

I’d heard of cubs being taken from their mothers who had been shot. These cubs would be chained up in front of grocery stores out in the country and people would pay to see them, but I never could prove these stories were true.

When we finished our picnic supper at the park we would head to the cave area. On a Saturday night they would have some musical entertainment and you sat on the ground or on rocks that were strewn around or on a rocky shelf. Most of the songs were ones everyone knew so you were free to sing along.

We went to church Sunday mornings and Lloyd and I went to Sunday school. When we got older Mom and Dad went to the evening service and Lloyd went to church while I was still going to Sunday school.

Dad would give me five cents for the collection plate, and most of the time that is where it went. Sometimes though my love of French Fries got the better of me and I would keep the nickel and stop at the restaurant on the way home for a nickel bag of fries. They were so good.

I’m surprised my parents did not smell the odour of the fries on me when I got home but never once did they question me.

As much as I loved French Fries, I detested porridge with equal strength.

One Sunday morning Mom made porridge and dished it up. I looked at it and decided today was the day I quit eating it.

That rubbed Mom the wrong way and she said, “You will sit at the table until you have eaten your porridge.”

So, I sat there.

I sat, and I sat and finally about four hours later my dad said, “Go out to play. I need you out of my way, so I can get the vegetables ready for our weekly roast beef dinner.”

Peeling the vegetables was something he did every Sunday.

I imagine Mom had something to say to Dad, but I never heard any more about porridge, and it never appeared in front of me again even when the others were eating it.

Canada went to war against Germany, Italy and Japan in September of 1939.

My father was really concerned about his relatives in England who for awhile seemed to be bearing the brunt of Germany’s air force bombings.

On the radio, questions as follows, were being asked.

“What are you doing for the war effort?”

My father surprised us one day by saying he had purchased seven and a half acres of property and we were going to use one acre of it as a Victory Garden. Lloyd and I would sell the vegetables and the money we got for them, less the expenses, would be used to buy War Savings Certificates. Dad would buy the more expensive Victory Bonds.

In the spring of 1940 Dad’s vision of a victory garden came to pass.

Dad had two acres plowed and leveled. One acre he sowed in clover. The other plowed acre was planted, one half of it in potatoes, and the other half in vegetables. His plan was to alternate the vegetable section and the clover section each year so that the ground would continue to be fertile and give us a good yield. It worked.

Dad rented out the grassy area that was left as pasture land and the remainder of the property was in trees, so Dad just left it as it was. Occasionally someone would sneak in and cut down a couple of trees and depart with them, but we never caught the culprit in the act.

The fruits of our labour were harvested, weighed, packaged and sold door- to-door from our large wagon.

Lloyd pulled the wagon and I knocked on peoples’ doors. We had many faithful customers and our business boomed.

The small potatoes were left for my mother to peel and cook.

She rebelled one day and demanded in a loud voice, “I WANT BIG POTATOES TO PEEL.”

Dad soothed her by peeling the potatoes himself that day, but she still continued to get only the little ones for our daily meals. She could have started the trend of leaving the peel on the potatoes, but she didn’t.

I remember starting through a gate at one home, when my brother called me back.

He said, “You can’t go to that door. Didn’t you see the sign on the gate? It says, ‘No Solicitors’ and that’s you.”

I didn’t know what a solicitor was, but I remember my feelings were hurt.

It never bothered me if people did not buy my veggies, but this to me seemed like a sneaky way of saying, “No.”

I didn’t like it.

As a treat for working hard I was sent to a church camp for one week of holiday.

There were eight girls to each bunkhouse and I did not know any of them, not that it mattered to me. I immediately was drawn to one of the other seven and we became buddies.

On the second day of camp after a swim in the lake, she asked me if I was daring enough to sneak out of the bunkhouse for a midnight dip.

Of course, I was.

After the last inspection for the night, and after we were sure the other six were asleep, we donned our bathing suits and quietly made our way down to the water.

It looked black and scary, but neither one of us would back down, so we went for a swim. It was the shortest swim in history I think because I know I was wondering all the time what big monster was going to come up and grab me.

As luck would have it, we didn’t get caught but we didn’t do it again.































RIDING THE ROAD OF LIFE – CHAPTER 2



Now that you have met me shall we continue with my background? Was I influenced more by Nature or Nurture?

I’m sure you realize if I refer to the good old days, at this point in time I wasn’t good, and I wasn’t old.

In those days at the end of grade 8 your parents had to decide which high school you would be attending. We had the Collegiate which was for students going into business or on to a university, and the Vocational school where you could learn a trade.

Lloyd was finally well when my father signed the form to send Lloyd to the Vocational school.

His idea was that Lloyd would end up with a trade, so he would always have work. Anyway, he could not afford to send Lloyd to a university.

We were all very surprised when Lloyd’s grade 8 teacher appeared at our door one evening.

“I’m here,” she said to Dad, “to stop you from making a big mistake.”

She was talking to my dad. I didn’t think Dad ever made mistakes, so I was really interested in the conversation.

“You must send Lloyd to the Collegiate. He is so intelligent, and he will go on to university.”

Dad explained, “We do not have the money to send Lloyd to university.”

“If you do not let him go to the Collegiate, he will not have the qualifications to go on to a school of higher learning. Let him get those and he will get to university whether you have the money to send him there or not.”

Dad stressed the fact that a tradesman could always find a job.

Lloyd’s teacher came back with the following comment. “Lloyd has the brains to learn a trade at any time in his life, but he will not be allowed to attend a university unless he has the education given by a Collegiate.”

The teacher had my father’s signature for Lloyd to attend the Collegiate before she left us that evening and I cannot tell you how impressed I was with this woman who went up against my dad.

At the end of grade 13 Lloyd competed in a math competition.

The prize was four years of free university majoring in mathematics. He won that scholarship and I hope his former teacher of grade 8 was informed of the fact.

After university Lloyd got his actuarial degree.

I had no problem with Dad when I told him I would be going to the Collegiate.

He did ask, “What do you want to do when you graduate?”

I told him I thought I would go on in school and become a doctor.

That raised his eyebrows.

In retrospect, I hope that episode with the kids I played with at my grandma’s house did not influence my choice to be a doctor.

Dad told me I could be a nurse, a stenographer or a teacher.

None of those occupations interested me, so that ended the conversation.

In the meantime, there were vegetables to harvest and sell and there was a war to win.

Dad decided to go one step farther than just having a victory garden.

We had an aircraft factory in the city and people were moving in from all over to work there. The big problem was they had nowhere to live.

Dad said we could sleep in the basement and rent out our two bedrooms.

He had someone build two wooden frames with boards across and they became our beds. Mom and I slept on one and Dad and Lloyd on the other.

There were no mattresses but only a quilt per bed that acted the part. We had two flannelette sheets and another quilt for the top of each bed.

Our bedrooms were rented out immediately to war workers.

We had only one bathroom in the house and it amazes me now that our two male renters and our family of four did not have any problem making that work.

Friends of my brother were quitting school and joining the armed services, but Lloyd promised Dad he would complete his high school. Of three of his neighbourhood friends only one survived to return from the service.

Lloyd did try to join the navy when he finished high school but when they found out he had just won a scholarship for four years of university, the man in charge tore up his enlistment papers and told him to go to school.

He said, “The war is almost over, and we will need people in peace time who have the brains to straighten out the world. You will be one of them.”

My brother had already realized a few years before that if a boy knew how to dance he became very popular with the girls. He asked me to teach him.

We rolled up the living room rug and I taught him the basic steps to a waltz, a fox trot, a polka and a two step. The music was supplied by records played on our wind-up gramophone.

In those days it wasn’t a case of everyone just doing their own thing. There were actual dance steps to be followed depending on the music. Not only that, you danced in each other’s arms instead of by yourself. I must admit that was a much nicer arrangement.

I met a boy in Grade 8 who could dance, and he had a friend who was just as good at it.

Mom and Dad still went to church on Sunday evenings, so my girlfriend and the two boys would meet at my house once my parents had left. Lloyd was already out with his buddies. They would come in; the rug would be rolled back, and the gramophone would be put to use. We would dance for about an hour and then it was time to put everything back into its proper place.

We would leave the house, walk to the Collegiate, go around the side of the building, and as couples would each pick a doorway.

There we would practice our kissing techniques and then walk back home.

I can’t remember that I was that fond of Jack, but he could dance.

I was looking forward to being in high school and I hoped the courses of study would be challenging. I also planned to join every school team. I was sure they would have me.

The only sad thing about leaving public school was I had a teacher there in grade 7 whom I considered a good teacher and I was afraid his kind would not be found in high school.

On my first day in that teacher’s room he said he had a former student who had memorized 500 lines of poetry.

He challenged us personally to do better than that.

It was like waving a red flag in front of a bull for me. I had a challenge.

I went home and took over a thick book of poetry that had belonged to my brother.

I would memorize a poem and the next day at school I would have my teacher listen to me recite the lines and then give me credit for having learned so many lines of poetry.

The lines added up. I easily passed the 500 mark and kept on going.

I was taking up part of his time off every day to hear my recitations.

Finally, he begged me to quit, so I relented and stopped.

I think the last poem I learned was called, ‘The Highway Man’, and there was a lot of repetition in that poem, so I also got credit for all the repeated lines and they helped my final total.

I knew from my brother’s experience that even though you went to the Collegiate, you had to spend a half a day once a week the first year at the Vocational. Then, if you could not make it scholastically at the one school, transferring to the other would not be a shock for you.

Lloyd took carpentry and auto mechanics and they were the two lowest marks he had ever had in his entire school life.

I had to take cooking and sewing. I didn’t do that well in them either.

The first Friday morning that I had to go to the Vocational school, I had already decided those classes weren’t for me.

I certainly was correct in that decision.

Cooking was in the first half of the morning. Half of the girls were in one room cooking while the other half were in an adjoining room doing a washing or ironing.

By the luck of the draw I was with the cooking section and we made porridge. Then I found out whatever you made you had to eat.

The porridge was dished up into bowls and one of the bowls was on the table in front of me.

The teacher left the room to check on the washers and ironers, so I simply poured the porridge onto a paper napkin and was about to deposit it in the garbage can when the teacher returned.

She started talking.

I sat with the filled napkin on my lap until the porridge started to leak through.

I jumped up and to save my skirt dropped the napkin filled with porridge on the floor where it spread out quite nicely.

“What is that?” the teacher asked.

“I don’t eat porridge,” I replied, “so I was going to put it into the garbage, but you returned and started talking. I thought I would wait until you finished. You kept talking and the porridge started to leak through the napkin onto my skirt, so I dropped it on the floor.”

I didn’t hear about the starving children in China which was a favourite story of parents when a child did not eat all their meal.

I did get an earful from the teacher. I had to wash the floor and was told that I would be with the laundry group the following Friday.

That was okay with me.

The next Friday seemed to come around too quickly.

I was back at the Vocational and in the laundry room. I was assigned the task of filling the tub and getting the laundry started.

The teacher left the room and I began talking to my fellow classmates. They were supposed to be ironing tablecloths, etc. and I had something to do but talking was more fun.

I heard the teacher returning and I had done nothing toward the task of doing laundry.

I raced over to where the taps were, turned them on full force and did not grab the rubber hose that fed the water from the taps to the tub.

The hose, which had been dangling over the edge of the washer, straightened out from the force of the water and sprayed the floor in front of the doorway that the teacher was walking through.

She yelled, and I shut off the water and stood and listened to her defame my good name.

The girls who should have been ironing cowered beside their ironing boards.

It was not a good start to my time at the Vocational school in the cooking class.

The sewing class was not much better. The only thing I remember making was a tablecloth. We had to stitch the hem by hand and then embroider a flower in each of the four corners of the cloth.

I think I got two of the corners finished and I’ve kept the tablecloth to this day. At first it was with the idea that I would finish the embroidery, but instead it hides at the bottom of a drawer in my kitchen.

When I occasionally find it, I take it out and look at it. The patterns of the flowers that have not been finished are still visible but by now I have forgotten how to embroider so the cloth is refolded and returned to the bottom drawer.

It is so long since I have seen it I can’t remember if I pat it and tell it to rest in peace when I put it away or not but speaking of the bottom drawer reminded me of something else.

It was the day my mother presented me with a box of Kotex and a sanitary belt without any warning.

She just said, “Put them in your bottom drawer until you need them.”

We never did have a conversation about the birds and the bees.

Fortunately for me, my knowledgeable friend who had told me about Santa had already warned me of what was going to come.

My beginning at the Collegiate did not go particularly well either, even though I was looking forward to going to high school.

All the grade nines were separated into classes according to the first initial of their last name.

Because my surname began with the letter R, I was in the last of the grade nine classes. It suited me because besides the students who were supposed to be there, we also had the ones who would be repeating their grade nine year.

I thought that having that group with us gave our class character and just possibly would add a little spark to our daily adventures.

We were on rotary so as soon as classes began we moved each period to another classroom within the school. Sometimes it was a long walk and other times the next class was right next door.

As I met the teachers who would be teaching each of the subjects, I was willing to accept them. However, some of them embarrassed me as soon as they heard my surname.

They would rave about Lloyd as a student and always added that they were sure I would also be a top-notch student.

Do I have a surprise for you, I would think. I couldn’t imagine teachers not knowing better than to publicly compare one sibling to another.

I was in grade nine and Lloyd was in grade thirteen. In those years we had five years of high school. One of his buddies named Steve asked Lloyd for permission to ask me to the Christmas dance at the school.

Lloyd’s question was, “Why would you want to do that?”

Steve did not ask me to the dance.

I did go so that was not my complaint.

I tried to explain to my brother that when you went to a dance with a boy, it was up to him to make sure you had a full dance card.

He would go around to his chums and between them would fill the card. Once your dance card was filled they gave you your card, so you would know who you were going to dance each dance with. You always had at least the first and last dance with your escort. If you were going steady you could dance every dance with your friend. He just filled his name in on every line.


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