A Time of Coming Out

In a way it was a time of coming out or a time of being born, already formed into a being capable of thought. I confess that I was somewhat hyperactive. One of those children that is constantly in pursuit of fun and frivolity, regardless of the consequence to others or the ripples it would create in the calm of the universe. This state of being often held consequences for me that were, at the time, a sudden shock to a fun seeking mind, but which discipline barley (usually) lasted no more than a minute or two before I was off again. I can imagine, now, that my rambunctious behavior would have been something of a chore for my parents to manage. More so for my mother, who would have been raised in a strict, mostly roman catholic surrounding, than my father, who most likely grew up in a lifestyle where you mostly just took care of  your own needs.

 Here I am smiling handsomely, standing on the stoop at the bottom of the stairs at Aunt Mary and Uncle Dan’s small apartment on the corner of Carlton and Graham, in Winnipeg. Their phone number was Whitehall (WH or 94) 34235. This building is, of course, no longer. It is now the site of a non-descript brown building in the center of the arts and entertainment district in downtown Winnipeg. The bricks of this old walk-up were red and the wood on the staircase was green. I came to this place often. Slept over many times, had many fried chicken and mashed potato Sunday dinners and was introduced to many of the French relatives here. Aunt Mary and Uncle Dan were the same as grand parents to me and I have nothing but fond memories of my time here. Except for one.

Uncle Dan gave me some spare change and I was allowed to cross the street to the concession at the bus depot to buy myself a treat. I chose a bag of potato chips. As I crossed the street on my way back to the apartment, the next door neighbor boy, who went by the nick name of Dodo, hit me on the head with a plastic gun and stole my bag of chips. When confronted about the crime, Dodo returned the near empty bag of chips. I think I cried at my misfortune.

As fate would have it, a couple years later, Dodo’s family ended up moving from their apartment on Graham to a place near my home. One Saturday he showed up in the school yard where I was playing football with some friends. He approached, greeted me like a long-lost friend (we did play together sometimes when I visited Aunt Mary and Uncle Dan). My memory was long. Of course I had not forgotten the robbery. So I beat him up then invited him to play football with us.

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