One of the reasons I never became a novelist was that I never really thought much about my distant past, meaning my childhood.
Oh sure, like everybody I get glimpses of it, but nothing even remotely resembling a vivid recall.
But over the past few months that’s been changing. Since I have moved closer to my family, my sister especially, whose recall of our early years is phenomenal, I have been starting to see things about my past more clearly.
So far, I haven’t swung into action though. I’m still processing a lot of this. But I have a feeling that these thoughts and recollections will start crystallizing soon.
I know this because last Saturday we drove down to Fort Erie to have dinner with my sister Sharon, her old man Dr. Bob (retired) as well as Bob’s daughter Naomi and her old man, Fred, and my sister gave me the box you see pictured above.
My Sisters Love Me
Apparantly, my other sister, Dianna, was cleaning out some of our mother’s stuff and came across it. Being thoughtful like my sister Sharon, she thought I would like to have it.
There wasn’t a lot of stuff in the box but what was in there, for me, was enough to take me back to my public and high school days in Fort Erie.
As I looked though this stuff, it was very strange, almost like some sort of weird drug trip, but a massive amount of imagery from that era in my life started to dance around in my head.
I sat and stared at this stuff for a long time, I’m not sure how long, and quietly contemplated all the images that were dancing around, trying to slow them down a bit, I suppose, but not having very much luck.
Over the next couple of days I did mostly odd jobs around the house, some riding and a bit football watching and I have started to feel the images slowing down and become more identifiable.
I’m not sure what to do with all this stuff that has invaded my brain from the Marvellous Box. Only time will tell.
A Broad Sweeping Generalization About Childhood
The one thing that really stands out in my mind from all this musing the box has triggered is that I was fortunate to have been a child in the 50s. The world was a much simpler place then.
Most of my time was spent outside doing stuff, all year round. I had friends from all over the town and there was always something going on.. We had no curfue because there was no reason to be afraid of much after the sun went down.
We were free and completely unencumbered by worry. Every once in a while somebody would get pissed off at somebody, but it didn’t last and it never really amounted to much.
We were a band of brothers. We were a baseball team and a hockey team. We were tennis partners and checkers opponents. We were comic book aficionados and hockey and baseball cad connoisseurs. We were marble sharks and chestnut busters. We were intrepid explorers of the deep woods and eaters of wild berries and apples. We were a bicycle gang and snow-bank cave makers. We were soda fountain Romeos and Juliettes. We were Niagara River rafters and downhill toboggan racers. We were pool sharks and pinball wizards. We were all kinds of things at least 12 hours a day. And we did it all with each other. We were hardly ever alone and when we were, we were never lonely.
I don’t think it would be anywhere near as much fun being a kid in today’s world. Most kids spent their time starting at a screen of one kind or another.
I suppose they’re having a sort of fun in their own way. but to me it all seems a bit one dimensional.
But then again, the times have changed and maybe today’s kids really are having a good time, internalized as it might be.
The Marvellous Box has opened up my mind in a way that I didn’t think would ever come about until it was flashing before my eyes at checkout time.
So I will put this down in some form or other. It should be fun.
One of the items in the Marvellous Box was a class poetry book from Grade 12, which contains the very first poem I ever composed. It was a real jolt to see that. And an even bigger surprise to read it and realize it wasn’t actually awful.
My influences at the time were Ogden Nash and Shel Silverstein.