Saturday 18 May 2013

The Field – Part I

My mom and dad bought a house in Scarborough and we moved there when I was three years old. I can’t imagine that I was of any help with the heavy lifting, but I probably got my mom out of doing anything other than unpacking the kitchen and making coffee and sandwiches. Steve might have been more help, but somehow I doubt it. These are the kind of things it would be nice to know. I wish mom or dad had kept a diary. Well…no.

It was a new sub division so all of the families that moved in were of the same age and most had kids. We had lots of friends in the neighbourhood growing up. Right next door was a family that had three boys, Jim the older one, John who was my brother’s age and Mike who was my age. Jim Walker lived across the street, Rick Parker, Rob Kutzekaki, Rob Burns, Rob White lived on the Court and Alan Patterson lived just up the street. There were other kids, but they were the quiet ones or the ones that didn’t like hanging out with us, I really don’t know because I was one of the younger ones and just happy to hang out with the big kids. Years later, Ken Robison moved onto the Court and we became quite close. I know there were more than likely girls, but that was the fifties and boys and girls didn’t play together…ever.

Up at the end of the street was a field that caused me no end of trouble over the years. Some big kids had dug tunnels throughout the field in which we could play just so long as the kids that made the tunnels weren’t there. I guess that being built by kids they were incredibly dangerous, but that was part of the appeal. We played in them for a few months and then all of a sudden we were all banned from going to the field at all. It was weird; everyone’s parents banned us from going there. Looking back on it now, I suppose that some kid we didn’t know may have gotten buried alive and either died or nearly died. All I know is that it killed all of the fun we were having playing soldier there.

The next year or a couple of years later, the tunnels had all been caved in and that just left trenches. Parents had short attention spans back then, and we went back to playing army there. Instead of the Second World War, we fought the First World War; it didn’t really matter because the enemy was the same. That was the year when we discovered shop lifting as a group. I was still pretty young, but I guess that was why I was enlisted to steal the cartons of cigarettes. I can remember Rick Parker giving me shit for stealing DuMaurier regular when he wanted Export Kings. I was happy that I didn’t go to jail.

We would store the cartons of cigarettes in the trenchs of course and we would meet there and smoke until we turned green. I can’t remember whether I liked smoking or even if I inhaled. I’m not even sure if the big kids let me smoke at all. What I do know, is I was sitting against the side of the trench on a warm summer day, the clouds drifting past with the pale blue background, and the buzzing of insects drowning out all sounds but the occasional train that went by. Of course there was cigarette smoke hanging like a haze in the still air of the trench. The next thing we saw was several large hairy arms reaching down and pulling us out of the trenches and the look of terror on our friends faces as they saw their angry dads.

Someone must have ratted us out and our parents planned their attack with military precision. That was probably because they weren’t too long out of the military. I think my mind blocked out the punishment, but I’m pretty sure that my bare ass felt the clothes brush dad would use to spank us with. I guess he figured there was no reason to hurt his hand, he hadn’t done anything wrong. That was the last time I smoked until I was in high school, and why I kept my smoking a closely guarded secret for as long as possible. I wasn’t even comfortable talking about it after I had moved out of the house.

You know, I think my ass still hurts…

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