Memoirs, Part 1
Hey folks! Cold enough for you? I’m afraid it’s just a taste of what we’re in store for. Temps in the 20s, calling for snow in only the middle of October. Great. Thank God I’m in a heated pad. Makes me feel kind of sorry for homeless folks.
But that’s not what this column’s about. It’s also not about fruit flies, which for some reason my house is flooded with, driving me crazy. I met a new pal and promised her I wouldn’t be so vulgar. She’s got a child — enough said.
It’s funny. I was gonna retire. A couple of friends passed away and some other stuff happened and blah, blah, so I was just gonna say the hell with it. But as luck would have it, Chris (editor) shows up and gets me riled into using some ink and motivation to get on the ball (with a little help from Cliff Gallant), so I’m back at it again. What Chris also gives me is carte blanche for whatever I wish to write. Sort of. The thing being, even if I could brave these temps, why, there’s no fish to be had.
So, what’s a guy to do? As much as fruit flies bug me, I can’t do a whole column on them. Chris has been bugging me a long while to do my memoirs, which is for sure a good idea. You got to figger I’m getting old age. And I have lived through an awful lot. You realize I seen the birth of rock & roll, the Cold War, Vietnam, Woodstock days, birth of computers, the bicentennial, grunge music, World Trade Center, and a zillion other things. Jesus, there’s been some changes.
Only thing is, I can’t make it all one column, so I’ve decided to make it in about three mags. Say, 15-to-20-year cycles. Sort of. Now see, I’ve written much about my past already, so the first part will be a sort of refresher course, but important, as it does establish a basis for my whole life.
My first 15 years was all basically fishing and hunting. My “killing years,” I’ll call it. And sports. Now, these days kids play on a computer in leisure time. As a young lad, it was all about sports. We’d play football in the snow if we had to. You say that to a kid now and they look at you like you got three heads.
Oh, we’d do some things indoors, roller-skating, bowl, but the big thing was fishing. For my family at least. See, we wasn’t wealthy. We always ate what we caught. Luckily for us, somehow my father knew the best fishing holes around. And if the fish weren’t biting, my mother would let us jump in and go swimming. Except down the wharf — which, by the way, was a totally different place than today. I wish I had some pictures of those days.
We actually had bomb drills at school and climbed under our desks when the alarm sounded. We lived on a farm for awhile. Raised pigs, chickens. I loved it. My Uncle Norm taught me hunting them days. I won’t do it now, but at the time I loved that too. Go out shootin’, come home and slop down the pigs. A good life, I say. Even liked working the garden.
But then I turned 12 and all changed. Rock & roll really blasted, and so did everything. We moved back to Portland from the farm and all the sudden it’s bell-bottoms and dungarees and, though I didn’t quite grasp it, Vietnam, which had a huge impact on everyone. Kind of divided the country.
You know, as I write the memories really come flooding back. About this time, I discovered girls. I had always been told by my female peers I was gonna be a heartbreaker. ’Cause of my eyes, they said. And were they correct. Carla Gemont. My first love. But definitely not my last.
And then I discovered dope. Boy, talk about life-changers. However, before I go on to that era, I got to say a word or two ’bout my education. Grammar school was kind of funny. I was actually about the smartest kid in school. In the third grade, I’d regular win spelling bees against sixth graders. But then as a teenager things changed as I found dope. I found it was no more fun to attend school. At first it was skipping here and there. Then it was not going at all. And as punishment from my mean old mother, painting the house. But that would also shape my future, as I ended up being one of the best painters in the area. All of this was much later.
Up to this point, I hadn’t paid much attention to world events. The Beatles started getting huge and so did other bands, with fashions and all kinds of things — things my parents just couldn’t or wouldn’t understand. But one thing would never change: my love for fishing.
You’ll have to wait for the next issue for more. And let me tell you, my next phase of life was a real doozey.