We moved back to Winnipeg in the summer of 1964. I don’t really know why; I was only ten and a half. Probably because of my father’s ongoing pursuit of the greener grass. In any case, we moved into a house on Lansdowne Avenue, #59, and shared the place with an aunt and daughters. We also boarded my invalid uncle. He occupied the back porch, which had been converted into a small bedroom off the kitchen.
I began my grade 6 school year at Luxton School. It was the first of three schools I went to that year. My teacher was Mr. Miki. It was assumed his named was shortened from something like Mikado or Mikashumi. My father called him a ‘Nip’, because he was Japanese. I found this a bit confusing because I had always thought that a ‘nip’ was another name for a hamburger. ‘Goin to the A&W for a nip and chips’. I thought Mr. Miki was okay, just a regular teacher guy. I didn’t realize that some people harbored unnecessary discriminatory feelings against people of Japanese heritage, that continued to linger from the second world war. I guess my father was one of those.
There was a little corner store called the Cathedral Confectionary. It was very convenient. And there was a small park next to the school yard. I got in a fight there against a small gang of boys. One of them had an artificial leg and walked funny, kind of a hop-a-long, from side to side. He kneed me in the groin with his fake leg. I think it was made of tin because it sound like tin cans clanging together when he walked. My cousin ran home to tell my father that I was getting beaten up. He came to save me but there was no need.
Our neighbor next door was an old lady that lived alone, except for about a thousand cats she kept. She never came outside and I never saw her cats outside either. But if I stood on the kitchen counter I could look through the window into her kitchen and see her hoard of cats. Perhaps not a thousand, maybe a million. I wondered what her house smelled like. Once I even saw her; an old crone of a woman with her grey hair tied back into a bun. I guess she loved those cats, but it was a bit creepy and weird.
One time I met her adult daughter who came to visit. She said her mother didn’t have to live like that because she had lots of money.
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