The Red Menace

The Red Menace

My mother

was sure the RCMP

would take an interest in me

because I had a pen-pal

from Czechoslovakia

at that time

I had pen-pals from a round the world

New Zealand Trinidad Uganda



because Czechoslovakia

was a Communist state

my mother was sure 

our family would fall under suspicion 

that our house 

would be under surveillance

I thought she was joking

I was more interested in the stamps

than I was in the letters

in which we talked about

schools music 

we exchanged photos


I thought my mother was foolish

the image of a car 

across the street from our house

with officers watching us

with binoculars

made me laugh


would the RCMP read my mail before I got it

the non-capitalist nature of communism

made sense 

it sounded fair

the red menace

the arms race

struck me then as being

a sort of USSR USA 

slap fight 

to preserve their individual status quo


what did I really know

about international politics

other than the world could end

in a nuclear pissing match

which kept me up at night

wondering worrying

about my individual status quo

Another piece that steps back into my past. I had many pen-pals at different times in my teen years. Boys & girls from around the world. Some that I found through some pen-pal agency that was listed in a teen magazine distributed in high schools. I was exchanging letters with kids in most of the provinces then from around the world. The guy from Czechoslovakia even sent me a couple of 45s – I wish I had them today. I remember the name of one of them Tony Lee-Mack from Trinidad. The remember the photo of one of them – maybe from Kenya – I remember it because his pants were revealingly snug & I had endless dreams & fantasies about meeting him.

It was the guy from Czechoslovakia that distressed my mother. She in fact was worried about the RCMP thinking we were Communist sympathizers. Even then I doubted if they would care what a couple of teenage boys were writing to each other about. Sydney was not that crucial to national security. Besides Communism wasn’t the big deal in Canada that it was in the USA.

I was, like a lot of kids at that time, stressed about the possibility of nuclear war. It felt like we were on the end of ending the world. I collected bomb shelter plans. I wasn’t that alarmed though I was too lazy to find out what the ideological difference between the nations were. I bought the notion the the USA was right. Turns out they weren’t.


As for the RCMP watching our house I was totally disappointed that after being on the watch for that car, any car, keeping an eye on our house, there wasn’t anything. Of course I was visualizing them in their red riding outfits – where are perfect garb for staking out a house.

That was the red menace I dreamed of manhandling me into submission 🙂


Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee in Washington at 2019’s – sweet,eh?

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