End of Summer Jobs

I’m going to finish this year’s summer refections of Cape Breton with memories of summer jobs, most of which were arranged by my father just to get me out of the house 🙂 The first of which was to paint the house he wanted to get me out of 🙂 Almost every guy I knew on the Cape ended up with this sort of summer painting job, until the year aluminium siding salesmen flooded Sydney.

The color my mother choose was a pea green with darker green trim. I hated the ladder so getting the peak pf the house was hell. The rungs hurt my feet after standing on them for thirty minutes. I ended up moving around the house to avoid the sun as well & so the two larger sides ended up drying in a mottled pattern. 

Another summer my father & a friend of his opened Bounceland 🙂 a trampoline park with six, or was it nine, trampolines stretched over pits in the ground. I took money & kept time. There was also a trainer, a young guy hired through the YMCA. I became pretty adept. He also taught me algebra because it was his worse subject in high school & he had to take an make-up exam at the end of the summer. Needless to say I had a hopeless crush on him but also was a stellar math student in high-school, until we hit trig. 

Bounceland failed because the blast furnace smut settled on the canvas & rotted it & it couldn’t be repaired. The park wasn’t bringing in enough money to warrant replacing the canvas. It was also open air so when it rained we couldn’t open. Plus weather collected into pits & stagnated. We had the kiosk & sign in our yard for decades but eventually they both disappeared. My sister has been unable to find even a photo of it in the family hoard of pics.

Another summer I worked out at Forest Haven Memorial Gardens – sort of Starbucks of cemeteries. My father was sales & general manager overseeing see the construction of the cemetery itself. I was an assistant grounds-keeper – weeding was my main task for several weeks. As the boss’s son I never really fit in with the rest of the staff so pretty much kept myself. I know in one conversation with some of the full-time guys I said I was looking the work as research that I might want to write about it one day. 

Another summer I worked in the Forest Haven office in downtown Sydney. Typing envelopes and taking payments were more suitable 🙂 He did have a full time secretary, whose name I forget, so I’ll call her Mrs. Brown. People who bought plots paid for them monthly either by with cheque, money order & some came into the office to pay in cash. There were separate receipts issued for cash and non-cash payments.

Decades later my father tells me that Mrs. Brown was keeping yet another receipt book for cash payments and tucking that cash away for herself. Cheques & money orders had to banked by my dad so she couldn’t get her hands on them. Petty embezzlement under my very nose as I could have easily been issuing some of her receipts 🙂

When I finally did write about Forest Haven it was nothing like I thought it would be:

Sermon on the Mount

when I was a child

I remember the excitement of the day

Jesus was installed

arms open to greet you


my Dad was a sales manager

for Memorial Gardens

a cross Canada chain of cemeteries

I think he retired sometime in the mid-80’s

I grew up under that shadow

the grave-digger’s son

not that he dug graves

that shadow didn’t bother me

I was an odd child already

the occult added a distracting layer


the cemetery was divided into grottos

separated by low hedges

bronze plaques instead of tombstones

was the trademark Memorial Gardens look

that and the white marble

religious statues for each of the grottos

DaVinci’s Last Supper in the Gethsemane


greeting people 

was Christ

arms out spread 

for the Sermon on the Mount

for a first few years

while things were being put into green shape

the Gardens were my playground

I remember the excitement of the day

Jesus was installed

the garden workers pushing Him 


arms open to greet you

arms that would never close 

to hold you


I was drawn to his eyes

he had comma pupils

scarily unreal eyes

that told me nothing


I longed for His embrace

but at that time

I was too young to understand


it wasn’t for spiritual contact

but a carnal love

I had no language for

when I had a language

I still longed for men

who could never enfold me

men who’s eyes

told me nothing


every Tuesday 2019


17 – Shaw Festival – Sex (Mae West)

22 – Stratford Festival – Little Shop Of Horrors

24 – Hot Damn! It’s Queer Slam – Buddies and Bad Times Theatre


15 – Stratford Festival – The Crucible


7 – Hot Damn! It’s Queer Slam – Buddies and Bad Times Theatre


The Secret Handshake Gallery – feature – date TBA


23 – Hot Damn! It’s Queer Slam – Buddies and Bad Times Theatre


March 5 – Hot Damn! It’s Queer Slam – Buddies and Bad Times Theatre


April 3 – Hot Damn! It’s Queer Slam – Season 6 finales Buddies andBbad Times Theatre

June  – Capturing Fire 2020 – Washington D.C.  capfireslam.org 

Hey! Or you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee in Washington at 2020’s capfireslam.org – sweet, eh? paypal.me/TOpoet

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