School’s Out – Colby Days 1

When my father settled down in was in Sydney. Our first house was on the corner of Rigby Road & Centre St. It was like a giant playhouse too big for the three of us – Mom, Dad & me. Living-room, dining room, kitchen & a parlour on the first floor, another four rooms on the 2nd floor. So I had my own bedroom plus a play room. Attic, basement with a sprawling hot-air coal furnace. Barn-size garage too.

 

It was a mid-income neighbourhood. Lots of families. I remember being friends with a girl who lived across the street, whose name may have been Wendy. There was a boy I hung around with but I don’t remove this name at all. We lived there for about a year.

 

I was enrolled in Colby School (now Brookland Elementary) at corner of Royal Ave. & Cottage Road. I can’t recall if I was there for the start of the school term or not. I do recall my Dad walking to school along Center St the first few days to make sure I knew my way. It was about a 5min walk. The first time I walk home along I ended up walking along Cottage Road & getting lost.

 

This past week I did some research on Colby Elementary (there is a FB page https://www.facebook.com/groups/colbyschool/). That research brought back lots of memories but none of my first year there. Colby went up to Grade VI. So I was there for IV & V. There was a special ed class in the basement. My memories of some teachers names have stuck with me though – Miss Greenwell, Mrs. Butterworth, Mrs. McLeod.

The building was essentially a box with windows. Two floors, two entrances one for boys, one for girls. Big school yard in back for recess where we would play baseball, hopscotch – nothing organized. at the end of the school yard was Wash Brook – which ran through the city. It was forbidden territory during school hours.

Summer of that year I went to Wales with my mother & when we returned my father had moved us into a smaller house on Cottage Road. More about that & some actual school moments next week 🙂

 Sing

as a child I liked to sing

used to do it a lot

around the house 

on my way to school

with my dad when we went fishing

with my sisters when they got old enough 

we would sing bits of songs off the radio

sing along with records of my mother

Mario Lanza 

drink drink drink

each trying to out sing the other

 

then there was 

hey you with the stars in your eyes

that would become

hey there

you with sausages in your eyes

don’t fry my heart

it always broke us up 

hey there 

you with the bananas in your eyes

don’t monkey with my heart

hey there

you with the beans in your ears

can’t you hear I love you

 

the children choir at the United Church 

was looking for new members

my mom suggested 

it would be great opportunity

I could learn to sing for real

learn how to carry a tune 

instead of burying it under volume

 

a bunch kids at the church hall

were lined up according to height

mostly girls and some boys

mostly around my age 10 to 12

we where given a song sheet

words between dangling fangs of music

I didn’t know notes rests 

 

we where told 

just worry about the words

a woman played a few notes on the piano

we started in with a din

a few tries and we worked through it

then girls only  boys only 

individually

some got a nod from her

yes you’ll do fine

my turn she played a few notes

I started

no no no this note

finally she gave up

thank you but you really can’t …

 

blood rushed to my face ears

the other kids gawked at me

I ran out ran home

told my mother 

I never wanted to sing

never ever ever

and really haven’t

except for the occasional

hey there 

you with the fingers in your ears

https://wp.me/P1RtxU-2f6

every Tuesday 2019

July

Stratford Festival – Nathan The Wise

August 2-13: getting back to my roots in Cape Breton

August 8: Highland Arts Theatre: https://www.highlandartstheatre.com 


Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee on my trip to Cape Breton – sweet,eh? paypal.me/TOpoet 

September

Shaw Festival – Sex (Mae West)

Stratford Festival – Little Shop Of Horrors

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

Like my pictures? I post lots on Tumblr

https://www.tumblr.com/blog/topoet

 

Dead of Summer

samples

Dead of Summer

 

Donnie Aucoin was twelve

he died swimming

his dad explained Donnie was where

he could swim as much as he wanted

Ellie Buckland

went to the hospital

she was anemic or something

she faded away

the teacher told us

Ellie was now in Strawberry Fields

she was eleven

Frankie Cameron, also eleven

visiting his grandmother in Toronto

was hit by a car

I don’t know where he went

Toronto seemed far enough away

that’s when I first wanted to die

so my parents would say

what a great fun kid I was

that everyone liked me

that I would be missed

no more school

no more homework

my dad wouldn’t get angry at me

for forgetting to take out the garbage

no one could pick on me

in bed on summer nights

smelling lilacs across the street

I’d pretend how wonderful it would be

in that cozy coffin

everyone would come up to my silver coffin

see my head on the gold satin pillow

look at my sweet little face

be sorry for not asking me to Jamie’s party

for making me stay after class

for knocking the hamster cage over

which I didn’t

but I’m not going to rat out who did

and he would feel so sorry

he wasn’t a better friend

when I took the blame

he’d tell Mrs. Butterworth

he had been the one

she would come over to my little coffin

put her warm hand on my cool cheek

tell me how sorry she was

then give me one of the peppermints

she kept in her desk

before I knew it I would be asleep

disappointed when I awoke

alive

to remember

I forgot to take out the garbage

again

tree tree fall

This was written for a Coffehouse Cabaret (remember them) at the Renaissance Cafe. They did regular musical theme nights: Delta Blues, Bob Dylan & others. Musicians were encouraged to do cover versions. I wrote some about or inspired by the theme style or band.

So I have pieces about the Doors, Dylan, Neil Young and more as a result. I’d usually read something by the band – for the Beatles I read In My Life – one of my favourite Beatle lyrics.

pumpkins it’s that time of year again

If you missed it ‘strawberry fields’ is the Beatles reference. Strawberry Fields, which for some I reason I thought was a cemetery, turns out to be a children’s home near where Lennon grew up, either made it logical for this nostalgic look back at kids in my life.

The names are real enough but composites of names I remember – some of the deaths are real but often I had no names to put with them – like the boy who got killed by a car. I did have a teacher named Butterworth though. Not sure if she kept anything in her desk.

bike crushed 0 speed bike

I did attended a summer funeral too – but for the mother of a boy I knew. The death fantasy may have sprung from her open coffin but it was one I entertained from time to time. Right down how much people would be sorry they’d been so mean to me. I did often forget to take out the garbage too – yet another of my constant disappointments for my Dad.

soon1

October 10-12 – attending – Gratitude Roundup http://www.torontogratitude.org

grat14

October 19 – feature – Cabaret Noir – Pinebow https://www.facebook.com/events/1651892755035275/

pineflyer

November 1-30 – participating – NaNoWriMo 2014 – http://nanowrimo.org

nano

 

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