Friday, April 11, 2008

Random Memories

Here are some random memories of my five years at Vista Heights.

I remember the first time Neve told me her parents were divorced. I don’t remember what grade it was, but we were very young. I felt bad for her, so I asked how she was coping. Her answer verbatim was, “It doesn’t really bother me, because both my parents love me very much.” I was always impressed by that answer. She grew up a lot more level headed than most of the kids in our class.

I remember one time Robert Dykeman brought a centerfold pull-out from a porno magazine to school. It was a picture of a girl, her legs were spread open and with two fingers she was opening up. He showed that picture to Jason Ashton and Ashton was disgusted. He said, “Ewwwwwww.” Sammy Maltby looked at him and replied, “Eww? That’s not eww. That’s Ahhhhhhhh.”

My favorite game in gym class was la cour de roi, which in English is King’s Court. It is a variation of murder ball. One time we were playing that and I fired a ball at Eugenie Fitzgerald. She tried to jump over the ball, but the ball it her legs on the way up. She kart wheeled in mid air and came down upside down. She shrugged it off like a champ, but that had to have hurt. Sorry Eugenie.

I remember one time recess got rained out, so we just sat in class and talked. Neve and Holly Presley sat opposite from me at a desk. Neve and I were talking mushy and Holly started feeling uncomfortable, so she sang that M and Neve sitting in a tree song. She sang it from start to finish, complete with me in the baby carriage, sucking my thumb, doing the dance. When she finished she asked me, "Are you getting mad yet!?" Neve was by far the prettiest girl in our class. I said no, and asked her to sing louder so everyone could hear. Holly tried everything to get under my skin.

We did a lot of field trips in that class. We went to the Royal Ontario Museum more than once. The ROM had this silver ball back in the day that you put your hands on and then static electricity ran through your body that made your hair stand up. Given all the talk these days about cell phones and brain tumors I can only wonder what that silver ball was doing to a bunch of grade school kids. I can just imagine Maltby at a fertility clinic right now, “Help me Doc. I’ve bedded half the girls in this city. I can’t figure out why they won’t get pregnant.” Doctor, “Oh here’s your problem. Seems you have a lower sperm count than Rosie O’Donnell. Let me guess, you’re one of those French Immersion kids that always made field trips to the ROM. Static in your hair isn’t so funny now is it?”

I remember Jason Ashton, Eugenie Fitzgerald, Brian and I used to wait at the same bus stop. Fitzgerald would be at that bus stop in the dead of winter wearing a skirt with bare legs like it was nothing, and we guys would be shivering in our snow pants. Larry and his kid sister Karen waited one bus stop further down the road, but sometimes they would leave the house early and come wait at our stop. One time I tried bugging Larry and Brian about their relationship, but to no avail. Larry looked at me in complete seriousness and said, “M, we are very comfortable with who we are.” Larry and Brian were not really gay and teasing them about it was often pointless.

In grade 4, I had been called up to play hockey with Streetville’s AA rep team. Our team represented the town of Streetsville against other teams outside the Greater Toronto area including: Brampton, Flamborough, Georgetown, Orangeville and others. Our team uniforms had the same color scheme as the Philidelphia Flyers, Orange and Black on White (Home), Black and White on Orange (away). Vic Johnson's arena was our home ice and also home to the Streetsville Derby's. We were expected to show up for games in proper dress that included dress shoes, slacks, shirt and tie and our Streetsville team jackets. Our team jackets were made of black corduroy with a zip-out liner and had felt orange crests, with another crest on our sleeve embroidered with our names and player numbers. At school, Neve wore my jacket more than I did. She looked absolutely gorgeous in that black corduroy sports coat.

Vic Johnston's Arena

One time one of our grade school teachers was teaching us how to count with an abacus. There were only a few of them for all the students in the class to share. I mentioned to the teacher that I had a ton of poker chips at home that I used to play blackjack with. I offered to bring them to school. I had enough for everyone in the class. It would have been a lot easier than having all the students share 3-4 abaci. She was not too thrilled with the idea. Oh, what my teachers must have thought of me.

One time at school a bunch of us guys were showing off our most gruesome scars and injuries. The best I could muster was a scar that ran the width of my thumb, which I still have today. I got it when I cut myself trying to lift the lid off a tin can, on a day I was home sick from school. Kaiserman bested us all with a rectangular shaped burn mark he had on the inside of his thigh. He got that when he accidentally knocked a scalding hot cup of tea on his leg. Eventually, Chris Stopa put us all to shame when he showed us the scars he got after having major surgery on his hip. The procedure left him with a permanent limp which made it impossible for him to run afterward. It was a shame too. He was an excellent baseball player. Stopa and I played t-ball on a team sponsored by Robin Hood Multifoods and coached by his dad. Our team cleaned house that year, winning every single game from exhibition to the finals. I ran into Stopa and his dad at Memorial Park one time after I left Vista. Although he couldn’t run he could still bat with pinch runners. He was a pitcher and learned how to throw curveballs at an obscenely young age. I sat with his dad and watched as batter after batter would leap out of the batter’s box on every pitch to avoid being hit, only to have the ball curve right across the plate for a strike.

I have many memories of waiting with Neve after school for her dad to pick her up. One time she was getting feisty and looking for a play fight. I opted to just tickle her instead. Her older brother was standing right beside us and I didn't want him to be upset with me if I touched her the wrong way. That girl is way too ticklish. The best spots on her I found were the ribs, or on her shoulder close to her neck. If she’s sitting down, she has French knees.

Back Row from Left to Right: 1. Michael Reid, 2. Larry, 3. Chris Cummins, 4. Remi Kaiserman, 5. myself, 6. Gerard Real, 7. Brian, 8. Mark Page, 9. Jason Ashton, 10. David Miller
Front Row from Left to Right: 1. Mary Heisler, 2. Suzy Merk, 3. Eugenie Fitzgerald, 4. Laura Bolton, 5. Cassandra Raponant, 6. Neve Campbell, 7. Holly Presley.