View Full Version : America or bust!

07-07-2009, 11:25 PM
Lately for some reason I’ve been daydreaming a lot about my very early life and I thought you might get a kick out of reading it. Background on me is that I was a very spirited child more often than not in trouble for something, somewhere. Eventually I was sent to a special school, a boarding school for kids who didn’t quite fit the mold.

My first (almost lucid) daydream was that of my first love at five years of age. Janice Newland, a sweeter than sweet girl I went to school with. I don’t recall how we got involved but we both followed the same tar footpath back to our homes. It was on one of these walks home that we decided we were in love and if we were in love then we had to kiss. Though I was always in trouble, I was actually a very shy kid and it took many walks down that path until we eventually pressed our lips together. As soon as we kissed, I was besotted with this girl and asked her to marry me as soon as they’d let us…She agreed, we were an instant item. Time went by, Janice and I were committed to each other so it naturally seemed we didn’t have to hang off one another, we saw each other sporadically. The last of those sporadic moments I remember. I was at war, part of a gang, eight or so four, five, six year olds dedicated to protecting our turf…With rocks. I was a marksman with a rock and had just hit a kid belonging to the other gang, right between the eyes. The war was put on hold while the opposing faction reviewed the damage. At that moment, Janice Newland slithered quietly up to my position and quietly announced that her father would not let her marry me because I was a bad boy. At that moment I was struck in the left ear with a rock so large and skillfully lobbed, the next thing I recall was waking up after the stitches. The news Janice delivered was devastating, if I couldn’t marry her, life had little meaning, I decided to leave the country! And so it was at five years old I agreed to meet with a friend of mine late at night to make a run for America. Shaun and I agreed to meet at ten PM on the black path (The very same path I’d proposed to Janice on), we’d meet there and make our way to Gatwick airport, somehow we’d sneak onboard an airplane heading for the US. I should mention here that I was born and spent the fist twelve years of life in England, London and Sussex mostly. Crawling down the drainpipe next to my bedroom window had never been a problem before this night but as the pipe broke from the wall I sensed trouble. I landed hard on my back…Winded, and my accomplice was laughing so hard and loud I knew we we’re doomed. If I didn’t shut him up rapidly our escapade would be canceled due to my Mom flying out of the back door with a large stick. Shaun wasn’t the easiest kid in the world to stifle, most everything was funny to him including our escape. We eventually got to the airport, took us two hours all of it on foot. As we stood at the fenced perimeter of Gatwick we knew that all that stood between us and America was a stupid fence we’d be over in a heartbeat anyplace else. Flashlights were not a part of our vision but without warning, on the very cusp of freedom, they were everywhere we looked. The police laughed as they drove us home “You boy’s was bustin out for America was ya?” I sat in the back seat of the patrol car, busted yet totally hypnotized by the street lights as they danced across the interior of the patrol car at night. The rest is a no brainer, we were punished during and after the reading of the riot act. I was forbidden to talk to or associate with my pal ever again and consequently, never did. I’ll always wonder though, if two kids at five who made it so close to a breakaway had been encouraged to redirect their energy….What we might have accomplished down the road. Maybe even janices dad would have approved!

07-08-2009, 10:52 AM
Ha ha. You'd be a wonderful writer!

07-08-2009, 12:26 PM
Thanks Kat. I enjoy writing but don't consider myself that good at it. I had a strange life as a child as my Mom was quite ill mentally and had no effective way to deal with a spirited child like me :)

Here's another little piece I wrote maybe ten years back. It was to be the opening dialogue to a short film I intended to make but as yet have failed to do. All the stuff I put down is true as I perceived it and remember it. This piece actually made it to the sound score stage with me doing the narration and backed by music of the sixties. It still could use a rewrite...Or two :D

It was the year of our lord 1967. Much of the world ran hopelessly out of breath fearing every nook, cranny and Waiter Cronkite news flash. Lyndon Johnston was haggling with a band of apes in the Middle East, Russia was poised and ready to turn all of North America into a vast radioactive extension of the Nevada Desert. My father was finding a communist under every rock he lifted. If you had no idea. where you were headed the PLO would hijack your flight; bake your brain on some deserted desert airfield before dropping Drano in your eye sockets. America was discovering that war and football were totally different animals; Most of the promising young quarterbacks were in Vietnam flushing gooks out of fox holes and tunnel systems that made the neural network look trite. Still... From my vantage point none of this existed. I lived blissfully ignorant at Littlegreen boarding school in Compton near Chichester in a country basking lazily in the sun, licking the wounds acquired deleting Hitler from the hard drive. The school was a sixteenth century mansion surrounded for miles on all sides by cows and woodlands. My only concerns were the evening menu and how many days were left before I got packed on a train homebound for six weeks. Peanut butter, apple juice and Star Trek were not part of my vocabulary. Somewhere though... Unbeknownst to me, the powers that be were" standing in the wings with a huge set change, waiting patiently for a wink from the Canadian immigration people, which would decode as, scene two was good to go!

When the curtain lifted, I found the lush green south down hills of Sussex had been replaced by western Canada's version of Haight Ashbury. Flower children roamed Fourth Avenue like stunned survivors of a head on truck strike. The air was filled with the strange sweet odor of marijuana and hashish that hung in the lazy summer breeze like an evil green fog. This smoke wafted forever from the cracks of ill-fitting windows and doors of the old rundown houses that lined the streets' of Kitsilano like silos of this devil gas. My mother had warned me not to talk to the hippies and absolutely under no circumstances was I to accept candy or sugar cubes from these throwbacks: Anything these people handed out would contain micro drops of a hideous drug called LSD. If this stuff came within five centimeters of your tongue there would be no turning back. You would be reduced to another mindless corpse strapped down hard to a bed on a ward at Riverview. These were the days when my mother still spoke the truth. I spent the long, warm summer vacation days tiptoeing nervously down Fourth Avenue with my younger sister collecting discarded pop bottles. On a good day we would fill our little red wagon with one or two dollars worth of this tradable commodity which we would cash in at the corner store for candy untouched by the lunatics of fourth Avenue. I had barely adjusted to this new world when Neil Armstrong landed on the moon changing my focal point once more. It was time for me, to gain more independence, start gearing up for the vast wilderness of the life stretching out before me. Without a second thought I signed up for my tour with the Royal Canadian Air Cadets 135 squadron.

It seemed like a good decision... just the kind of jolt I needed to wean myself from Bugs Bunny and the Mousketeers. Order, discipline, Ritual and authority were woven into this game as tightly as a metropolitan switchboard ready to send your small signal straight to the big black phone at the recruitment office. During my year or so involvement, I'd pushed hard to move through the ranks of this madness. I'd joined the drill team, become a pretty good shot with a rifle and made and made it to lance corporal. But these people were serious and all I wanted to do was learn to fly. It had been fun shooting twenty two's and spending sunny, Saturday afternoons flying around in post world war two sub hunters. But the barometer was falling, somewhere in the deep recesses of my adolescent skull a storm was brewing. The culture shock of moving to this country had somehow made me thirsty for new things to study. It was as though someone had pulled the plug on some fiendish device strapped to my head for fourteen years. A hideous machine that had somehow burrowed its way into by brain and made me believe that the meaning of life was a narrow vision, a blinkered trail that I was forced to follow like some aging horse. The powers that be were armed to the. teeth and aiming enough firepower at each other to fuel the sun for a week. Hell... I'd stood not four feet from a thermonuclear device thanks to 135 squadron. I'd seen the nuclear test films of the fireball and the shock wave turning grown trees into so many radioactive toothpicks before vaporizing derelict trucks in a high-speed puff of smoke. Duck and cover and never look at the flash of light! All this marching around in precision and trips to nuclear bases needed some time for reflection. Hippies, I realized, had some wisdom in their rhetoric. Love was better than nuclear winter and Russian kids probably smiled as nice as us in their class photographs. I was by no means ready for mind-altering substances but I was beginning to understand the need for escape. Mankind's sanity was running around on the prairie like a herd of buffalo with advanced stages of mad cow disease.

07-08-2009, 11:09 PM
Good stuff! I like your earlier reminiscing story, especially. I think that our early memories imprint in our brain in such a way that we remember them forever while forgetting a lot of later stuff. I read that that is why old folks will tell you tales 70 years old but can not remember something that happened a week ago. I guess it is part of the nostalgia phenomenon to remember and think about little stories like this as we get older, especially in a vivid way.

07-09-2009, 12:32 AM
Thanks Raiven. I think my memory is mostly clear throughout my life but like everyone else on the road, I'm a damned good driver :) Of course, I'm not seventy yet so I'll be awhile getting the final analysis together :) I just got laid off and really would dig the time to write but I'm getting calls already for projects and silly people want me to get on board for summer to line their pockets cos it's their season in the sun :) I just want to go to sleep for a while, at least until my lens gets back. "I owe, I owe, it's off to work I go" never felt more true than at this moment...

07-09-2009, 10:22 AM
I truly enjoyed reading these Maw and I like the way these are written. I too have been going through much reminiscing lately though I just can't seem to make the time to write it all down...or suck it up to write it down.
Sorry about the layoff...that's never fun.

07-10-2009, 08:35 PM
In my business I get laid off every summer for two months, no big deal. I usually just pick up a paintbrush and work with my buddy till the storm passes. I don't make as much but the days are never 18 hours so It's kinda like a working vacation :)