Sunday, October 19, 2014

Trying to reconnect with the father who abandoned us.

     During the 1970's, my siblings and I made separate, pitiful attempts to reconcile with our father,
who clearly wanted nothing to do with us. For a while, my mother had the delusional belief that her
husband had drowned in a boating accident in the Ottawa River, or that he was wandering around in a
state of amnesia.
     Not only was my father alive and well, he was thriving; travelling around the world, photographing
celebrities and royalty, shopping for clothing at Marks and Spencer and Holt Renfrew, and engaged to
a woman who was the polar opposite of my mother.
     Whenever my siblings visited my father, we were "greeted" at the door by his girlfriend, who had
a miserable expression on her face and said:

"We knew you children would find us".
"Did your mother send you here to spy on us?"
"All we want to do is live a quiet life".
"We can't give you any money, or let you live with us".
We didn't show up at their door to extract money from them, even though he owed thousands of dollars for unpaid child support.
     I noticed that the walls and tabletops were adorned with pictures of his girlfriend and her family, and not one picture of his biological children. I felt like saying "You may have divorced Mom, but
you cannot divorce your own children" but I kept my mouth shut so that I wouldn't be booted out of their
house.
     I wanted answers. But the girlfriend planted herself on the sofa and wouldn't leave the room. I'm wouldn't be surprised if they were taping our conversation. My father asked me if I was on a "fact
finding mission" (during World War 11, he was in the Air Force and conducted fact finding missions
over occupied Europe.) I'm surprised that his girlfriend didn't follow me into the bathroom, or inspect my purse, which carried nothing more than cigarettes, makeup and prescription pain killers for my
migraine headaches.
     They seemed very interested in what I did for a living, probably because they envisioned that I would end up:
-in a cult like the Moonies, the Children of God or Scientology.
-in a Charles Manson-type family.
-begging on the streets for money.
     My father studied psychology, so he knew the trajectory or path followed by many girls who are
abandoned, rejected, and abused in every possible way.
I wanted to ask him the following questions:
Why did you not send us birthday, Christmas or Easter cards? You even rejected us when your biological grandchildren were born, my brother said "He didn't even send a card when my baby was born".

Why did you never attend a parent/teacher interview, a school play, a sporting event, visit us in the hospital when we were sick...My siblings and I were unprepared for adulthood, because we did not have a parent to teach us how to apply for a job, write a job resume, study, apply for college and
university loans and grants, interact with the opposite sex...My brothers, sister and I were like
weeds, unwanted and frequently uprooted.

Do you realize how humiliating it was, when I watched parents hug and kiss their children after a
school play or recital, and take their photographs? Not one person showed up to watch me, to tell me
how talented  and beautiful I was. I remember one teacher in Smiths Falls who provided a lifeline, she was an elderly Grade 9 art teacher. God bless her, she told me I was a talented artist and should study
in university.

Why are pictures of your girlfriend and her family on every wall, and paintings created by your
"grandchild" taped to the fridge door. I was offered a soft drink and Dutch wafer cookies when I
visited, knowing full well that when my uncles, aunts and her relatives visited, they were entertained
in style---with trips to Parliament Hill and the Sparks Street Mall; lavish meals at their home and in the
finest restaurants in Ottawa...I felt so uncomforatable in their home, like I was an intruder preventing
them from doing something more important. What could be more important than conversing with your
own flesh and blood? Why did you take cheap, black-and-white Polaroid snapshots of me and my
siblings, while British royalty and movie stars rated Pentax cameras.

Do you realize the effect that growing up without a father has, on a young, impressionable girl. When teenaged boys realized that I did not have a father at home who would protect me, I became prey...they had to "watch their step" with girls from good families.
Because of you, Dad, I never expected flowers, cards or letters from my boyfriends.
Because of you, Dad, I never felt insulted when I wasn't invited to family barbecues, weddings, baby showers or any other family events by my boyfriends. My sister and I were never bridesmaids or
flower girls when we were growing up.
One young man, a beer drinking, deer hunting, chain-smoking, truck driving Albertan, swept me off my
feet and swept all the bad memories away. I realize now that he elevated the endorphins in my brain, which are 1,000 times more powerful than Morphine. This man invited me to a couple of weddings,
and I kept the invitations for years. His family welcomed me with open arms, and encouraged him to
marry me.

As a final insult, Dad, you excluded your biological children from your will. You hurt us when you were alive, and even in death you have the power to reach out from the grave and hurt us.
I am visiting my father and his wife in 1976.

Our door was always open to strangers

During the 1960's my brothers invited hitchhikers, draft dodgers, deserters, runaways and people they met at the Brockville train station to our home. Mother never turned anyone away, probably because her
own parents never turned away the "hobos" who knocked on their door seeking food, money and work.
The men and boys who "rode the rails", who travelled across Canada on freight trains, were always
given food and money, for milking the cows, chopping wood, picking apples and bailing hay.

In 1968, my grandmother thought an American singer named Boxcar Willie was a real hobo, and she
wanted to send money to him. However Boxcar Willie was probably a millionaire, thanks to songs
like:
Last Train to Heaven
Boxcar Blues
Jesse James Robbed Trains
King of the Railroad
I Love the Sound of a Whistle

I never understood why anyone willingly spent time in our tiny rental house with the one acre back
yard. Our television set was a black and white model that was rescued from the side of the road with the knobs missing; we had to use a pair of plyers to change the channels. The arms of the living room
sofa had holes from cigarette burns, which were hidden by dainty white crocheted doilies.
My brothers were always adopting stray dogs and cats, and they planned to generate income by
breeding rabbits, gerbils and guinea pigs.

Strangers were always eating our food, so I hid my own boxes of chocolate cookies and Earl Grey
tea bags under a mound of clothes in the closet. They also secretly made long-distance phone calls,
which led to our telephone being disconnected on more than one occasion.

My brothers spent countless hours in their smoke-filled room, discussing matters of vital importance:
Did Joe Cocker have epilepsy, and is that why he jerked around and pretended to play guitar, because
his illness prevented him from really playing the guitar.

Was Mama Cass of the Mamas and Papas married to Jimi Hendrix? (It turned out she was married
to a man named James Hendricks.)

Did Paul McCartney die in a traffic accident? (They compared album covers and teen magazines
photographs of Paul McCartney to try to decipher the truth.)

Did Yoko Ono break up the Beatles?

Mother encouraged her sons musical ambitions, and wanted them to play at the Riverboat Inn in
Toronto and the Mariposa Folk Festival in Ontario. She brushed aside their minor juvenile
infractions by saying " David Clayton-Thomas (Singer for Blood, Sweat and Tears) was in
Guelph Reformatory and the Burwash prison, and Ethel Kennedy's boys are always landing up
in court."

My brothers planned to convert our rental house into a youth hostel or a coffee shop. The coffee
shop would feature Mother's Maxwell House Instant Coffee, rhubarb that was given to us by our
neighbour Vanilla Lil and cooked until it was mushy; Devil's Food Cake; Angel Food Cake;
molasses on white bread and tapioca.

During the summer I occasionally slept in a pup tent in the back yard, which backed onto an abandoned
shoe factory. I had a sleeping bag, pillow, flashlight and a transistor radio, so that I could listen to
AM music from New York City radio stations and WLS in Chicago.

My grandparents' mansion in Easton's Corners, Ontario. I do not believe my mother or her children ever recovered from the loss of "The Manor" in 1963. The Farm was my "Tara", the southern plantation that Scarlett O'Hara loved.


Wednesday, October 15, 2014

One crisis after another - 1966 diary entries

Elmsley Street, Smiths Falls, Ontario

June 29, 1966 - Dreamt that I was in a nuclear war. I went seeking shelter with my possessions,
including my diary and a pen. Audie Murphy was also in the shelter. Tonight I saw a movie
called "The Beachcomber" with Glynis Johns and Dennis Sinden. He didn't harm her when they
were left alone on an island.

July 2, 1966 - So many things make me depressed. I will be unjustly sent to summer school, the
hairdresser cut my bangs too short and Gordon invades my privacy by reading my diary.

July 4, 1966 - First day of summer school, I couldn't sleep last night until 3:30. The bus ride took
from  8 until 9:30, it was tiresome, going to Kingston. Til 1 p.m. were were there, trudging up
and down the stairs. Coming home, 58 miles away, Randy smoked and lay his head on the seat
in front of him. I am exhausted, if one day makes me feel this way, what about next week? (I did
not realize it at the time, but I was suffering from severe depression, which I why I was so tired,
had psychosomatic illnesses and my legs felt heavy. Also, I could not concentrate on my studies
because of a chaotic home life.)

July 5, 1966 - In school I feel very inferior, like a heel. All those gorgeous girls with their earrings,
purses and granny dresses, mini dresses. Saw Old Fort Henry through the bus windows. I am
losing weight, I lost 2 pounds, now I'm down to 123 pounds.

July 6, 1966 - We drove by the Kingston Penitentiary and saw ships at a dock. I feel awful
lately, why can't I be one of those mod girls like Julie Christie, with long hair, kooky clothes and
jewelry, and could really enjoy life.

July 12, 1966 - Just as I suspected, the big storm we had for five minutes was a twister. It's a
dreadful thought, but I think the missiles and bombs have something to do with the weather. The
hot spell is on, the high was 91 degrees. President Johnson made a special TV address about
Red China.

July 17, 1966 - I've had a stomach full of summer school, I had to take one and a half nerve pills.
(Valium) Jayne Mansfield was on "What's My Line".

July 20, 1966 - Mia Farrow and Frank Sinatra were married today; she wore a stylish white silk
two-piece dress and her hair was very cropped. Saw a good film with Audrey Hepburn (5 feet 7)
and Rex Harrison. I paid a dollar but it was worth it. She was more believable in the lady role
than the cockney one. But she was enchanting.

July 22, 1966 - My birthday, I am 15 already. At home I was very tired. I had a Pepsi float, which
is pepsi with ice cream. Mom's friend Rita gave me two dollars, I bought a book with the script
for "My Fair Lady".

July 26, 1966 - Today I quit school.

August 6, 1966 - I watched Luci Johnson's wedding from 11 until 3 p.m. She wore a princess
style gown with lace at the top. Lynda Bird was very exotic looking.

August 9, 1966 - The landlady's nephew offered to drive Mom to a store in his truck. We have no
food. (My mother prayed on her hands and knees every night, and told me not to worry, "The
Lord will provide". Unfortunately neither the Lord nor the Ontario government provided enough
money for us to live on.)

August 10, 1966 - Dreamt that there was a nuclear attack on Alaska and South America. An
American newscaster said "Canadians may not be used to this" and we all crowded into the
landlady's apartment and breathed into gas masks from World War 1.

August 12, 1966 - A minor crisis occurred. A man knocked on the door and said the boys and
a gang from Perth were going to start a fight at the Coke plant in Smiths Falls. The fight never
happened.

August 15, 1966 - I have shingles on my stomach, they are caused by either a virus or by nerves.

August 19, 1966 - Buddy our dog was poisoned with stricknine. We thought he was dead because
he was stiff as a rock, but the vet was able to save him. He was given shots of adrenaline and
Morphine, and he is on the mend now.

August 21, 1966 - I visited Buddy at the veterinarians. Buddy was happily eating his second can
of dog food. I got a drive to Franktown, Perth and Rideau Ferry.

August 22, 1966 - Buddy seemed reluctant to leave the veterinarians office. He walked a bit
weakly, like a cripple. At home we fussed over him and put blankets on the floor. He just
wanted to lay down most of the time. Mom bought smoked meat and rye bread from the delicatessan.
A topic of conversation was about a boy who broke into the bottling plant then escaped right under
the policemen's noses. He is at large in the east end of Smiths Falls now.

August 24, 1966 - Mom, Nancy and I visited a woman that Mom grew up with, she is very
beautiful, has long black hair and looks like Yvonne de Carlo (Lily Munster) who is also
Canadian. She gave us clothing, especially shoes, purses and a lamp. At 4 in the morning we
discovered a bat in the living room, we shreiked and screamed.

August 25, 1966 - Saw the movie "Susan Slade" with handsome Troy Donahue and Connie Stevens.
The cupboards are nearly bare, and I haven't had a decent meal today. My last baby tooth came
out.

August 26, 1966 - Nancy celebrated her 9th birthday. Mom made a pineapple cake, while I made
the icing. The cake kept falling down. I dyed my hair with Marchand's golden hair wash.

September 1, 1966 - My heart wrenched when I went to school and found out I will be in Grade
9 again. This year will be sheer hell. Today at Walker's Mom bought me a granny blouse, four
pairs of underwear and a purse she was about to walk off with.

September 15, 1966 - The doctor examined Nancy, who has a 103 degree temperature. He says she
has a "hot throat" which I think is strep throat.

Hard rock music and psychological warfare

Heavy metal music often drives people to the brink of insanity. To drive Panamanian politician
Manuel Noriega out of a Vatican embassy, the American army incessantly played loud music,
including "Panama" by Van Halen and "I Fought the Law" by The Clash.

During the late 1960's and early 1970's, our home in Brockville was basically controlled by two
brothers who constantly played music by Led Zeppelin, Iron Butterfly, the Rolling Stones, the Who,
Crosby, Stills and Nash and Steppenwolf. When she was 11 years old my sister knew the difference
between a dealer and a pusher because of the Steppenwolf song "The Pusher":

You know the dealer, the dealer is a man
With a lot of grass in his hand
Ah but the pusher is a monster
Good god he's not a natural man.

My brothers played "Suite: Judy Blue Eyes" so often that the song became stuck in my head, I
developed an earworm, or a brainworm. An earworm is a catchy piece of music that continually
repeats through a person's mind after it is no longer playing. (From Wikipedia).

To drive me to the brink of insanity:
Place me in a cell and pipe in hard rock music.
Even though I am a vegetarian, offer me creamed tuna on toast, meat loaf, Spam, fish with the bones
still in it; hamburgers, hot dogs and moose and deer meat that were road kill.

To decorate my living space, put up posters of rock idols and movie actors on my walls, high
enough so that I can't tear them down:
Peter Fonda on his motorcycle in the movie "Easy Rider".
Malcolm McDowell in "A Clockwork Orange".
The Who
Led Zeppelin
The Rolling Stones
Add a few  Peter Max and Andy Warhol reproductions, especially the depiction of a Campbells'
Soup can.

Force me to wear female garb that was popular during the Age of Aquarius:
granny dresses, mini dresses, elephant pants, bell bottoms, low cut jeans, black leather pants that
squeak when you walk, paisley shirts, panty hose, ill-fitting bras, hot pants and girdles, which are
now called Spanx.  For my feet, give me a pair of high black leather boots that were donated to
a second hand shop by a woman with a bacterial or fungal infection of the feet. Princess Diana
no longer spoke to Sarah Ferguson after Fergie revealed that Diana's shoes gave her warts.

Staff will communicate with me through lingo from the 1960's:
far out, man; groovy; hip; hippie; teeny bopper; zoned out; spaced out; loony bin; up the creek
(meaning a person was sent to prison); ciggie; fag ( a slang word for a cigarette); psychedelic.

Tape a British Union Jack flag to my window - my brother used to mimic Brian Jones of the
Rolling Stones by wearing the British flag as a cape.
Place a couple of aging hippie women in the cells next to me. They sing "na na na na hey hey hey
goodbye" and shriek with laughter when they talk about "the good old days" and cry when rock
idols die of old age or from a rejected liver transplant.
"Their music was the soundtrack of my youth" they'll solemnly proclaim.
I would not feel so bitter about hard rock music if it did not disrupt my life---I found it difficult to
study, sleep and concentrate on anything but the incessant music. And listening to particular songs by The Rolling Stones and Steppenwolf opens a Pandora's Box in my mind that I try to keep shut.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

More entries from my 1966 diary.

Elmsley Street, Smiths Falls Ontario

April 18, 1966 - Watched the Academy Awards on TV, I knew Julie Christie would win.They showed a film clip of "Darling" with Julie and handsome, dark-haired Dirk Bogarde in a car.  She says "I'm going to kill myself" and he says "Go ahead".

April 19, 1966 - I had a dream that I was Julie Christie and was on the set of "Darling", and I was
swinging my blonde hair around. I was happy in that dream, really bubbly happy as I could never
be in real life.

April 23, 1966 - Today I had that strange carbolic acid or something taste in my mouth again,
it sort of makes me feel unreal and weird. (For decades, I spent time in doctor's offices and
emergency rooms, trying to find a cure for my headaches, or relief from the pain. I was given shots
of Demerol and codeine pills; hooked up to an intravenous line containing antihistamines, given
oxygen for the cluster headaches...I also had acupuncture treatments, studied biofeedback and yoga,
visited a hypnotist and faith healer. All because of third-world living conditions in one of the
richest countries in the world, Canada. I used to envy my schoolmates, who had their own
bedrooms that were decorated with pretty wallpaper and swag curtains. Not that I was ever
invited to their houses; I saw their bedrooms when I walked home alone at night after a school
play or concert that no one in my family bothered to attend.) Linda confided to me that Philip
tried to kiss her last night and took her to Poonamalee.

April 27, 1966 - Today I was awakened by something that shook the whole house, it was a
jet breaking the sound barrier.

May 10, 1966 - Two Marlboro cigarette commercials were on last night, one had cowboys
at a chuck wagon, while the other showed a cowboy on horseback going swiftly through a
creek. I'm actually getting a crush on the boy who works in the second-hand store, I'd use a
stronger word like love but I'm afraid someone might read this.

May 14, 1966 - Saw the new Chex cereal commercial ("I am the squarecrow from checkerboard
square") and a new Marlboro commercial, the narrator says he smokes Marlboros from the
Manahattan Towers to the Rio Grande.

May 17, 1966 - Went off to school while the song "Up on the Roof" was playing in my head. In
school there were speeches about Clara Barton and Pauline Johnson. Oh this pen! Sometimes
I feel the blood rushing to my face out of sheer frustration. The menthol Marlboro commercial
was on, with a horse splashing through the water. Mom called Vincent's to see if they are
going out of business, they are not. She got a mahogany chest of drawers. This is from the
heart, diary, I'll admit it, I've got a crush on Vincent.

May 24, 1966 - Nancy is sick with the flu, and I got chest pains from too much pizza. (My
siblings and I were always getting sick--from the flu, bronchitis, shingles, stomach pains,
ear infections, tooth infections...If Saskatchewan politician Tommy Douglas had not introduced
free medical care (Medicare) in Canada, my siblings and I probably would not have survived.)

May 31, 1966 - I trudged to school because my leg muscles feel like jelly. (One of the classic
signs of clinical depression is feeling like your legs are filled with cement.) I'm afraid that
one of these days I'll trip, my legs will buckle under me and I won't have the strength to get
up. The boys borrowed a boat from the Rideau Canal locks.

June 1, 1966 - On the Walter Cronkite show Ronald Reagan was very angry when his rival
Christopher said his party was circulating mug shots of Reagan.

June 3, 1966 - Gordon had to leave school today, because he wore an army shirt, green socks,
a raccoon vest and cut-off-at-the-knee blue jeans. In the hall a girl screamed and then fell
into hysterical laughter when she saw him.

June 10, 1966 - Went to the doctor about a chest pain, and it's a virus infection in the muscles
around my heart. Felt embarrassed when I had to take off my top.

June 15, 1966 - Had a horrible dream that our gym teacher was a trainer in a German prisoner-of
war camp, the girls had to smile as they ran around the track in the rain. (Did I have a premonition
that one of the boys would end up in a World War 11 German prisoner-of-war camp in
Bowmanville, Ontario?) I had a good supper of chicken pot pie, jello and chocolate cake.

June 22, 1966 - Mom and I were in a crash on our way to Ottawa. We were going one way and
the speeder, a young man, was coming the other way, we collided. Our driver got her knee gashed
on the ashtray. A policeman drove us to the Ottawa Civic Hospital in Ottawa, and Mom's
cousin Lois Cockburn met us there. I'm still shook up about how close we were to death. We
arrived safely home by train.

June 25, 1966 - I cried when I found out I have to go to summer school in Kingston.

My 1966 diary, written when I was 14 and 15 years old and living in Smiths Falls, Ontario.

Elmsley Street, Smiths Falls
January 7, 1966 - Buddy the dog bit me on the face and I had to get a booster shot at the doctor's.
Saw two movies on TV, "Dr. Goldfoot and the Bikini Machine" and "The Time Travellers".

January 19, 1966 - At the library (which was funded by American industrialist Andrew Carnegie) I
got a book about the Royal Rebel, Princess Margaret. For lunch I had a hot dog, chocolate cake, sherbert, potato chips and half of Diane's fudge bar.

January 23, 1966 - And it snowed!! This is my solemn oath, it never stopped one minute. Saw John Drew Barrymore in the movie "High School Confidential". He is a tall, handsome, vital young thing.
Hasn't got Daddy's profile, but he is electrifying and burst into the room like a comet, climbed three stairs at one time, bounced about, sat, then was up again, pacing. His sister Diana wrote a book called "Too Much, Too Soon".

January 28, 1966 - Dreamt that I accidentally sniffed a drug or something that made me giddy, devil may care, laughing. I felt like I was on a cloud, as light as air. Got my third picture of John Drew Barrymore, it's a lovely photo except for the beard; he has to wear it for his role of Johnny Seven on "Gunsmoke".

January 29, 1966 - Dreamt that a nuclear bomb on a ship exploded accidentally, the world was to end. It was terrifying and I woke up early, shaking. A massive snow storm "paralyzed" the East Coast.

February 1, 1966 - The cute guy at Vincent's told me there would be a new supply of Confession magazines soon. He thinks I read them!

February 8, 1966 - Dreamt about James Dean and Natalie Wood being in that empty house in "Rebel Without a Cause". Oh, when he kissed her two times in the movie it was so romantic. He also kissed her on the forehead before they got to the house and he said "You can trust me". No wonder all the girls were unhappy at his death.  Tina Louise and the Tiuana Brass were on Red Skelton.

February 9, 1966 - In math Bill asked me if I'd go to a hockey game on Friday, also if I'd get on his knee.

February 19, 1966 - Gordie went to Ottawa to see Bob Dylan. I'd faint if I saw him. Played Day Tripper, We Can Work it Out and Well Respected Man by the Kinks.

February 21, 1966 - Have that funny carbolic acid taste in my mouth and a headache, so I went to the health room.

February 24, 1966 - Got a D in my history essay. John Drew Barrymore and Chris Connelly rescued a girl at Malibu Beach. The article read "Chris Connelly and John Drew Barrymore are her beloved knights of the round table, claims a lucky 13-year-old who was saved from drowning by the actors when a riptide hit Malibu Beach". John was a murderer in "While the City Sleeps" and wore a black hat, black leather jacket, gloves and he was blonde and husky.

February 25, 1966 - Today is a holiday. Paul Revere and the Raider sang "Just Like Me" on Hullabaloo. Nancy Sinatra looked ravishing with her golden flipped up hair and pretty eye make up.

February 26, 1966 - Dreamt that John Barrymore rescued me by climbing through the window in black leather get-up, then we drove away on his motorcycle and eloped. (I often had dreams about movie actors and space aliens rescuing me from my dysfunctional home.)

February 28, 1966 - Went to the library and got a cookbook for Mom called Pearl's Cookbook. (My mother detested cooking, and we once got trichinosis from an undercooked pork roast. Her favorite meals were meatloaf, spaghetti, macaroni and Chil-o-Mix Dinner, made with ground beef, rice, tomatoes, water and Chil-o-Mix. I loved Betty Crocker's Noodles Romanoff. Desserts were Devil's
Food Cake, Angel Food Cake, bread pudding, molasses on white bread and blanc mange, which tasted as awful as it sounds.)

February 29, 1966 - Yesterday during French when the teacher asked us to turn to page 77 Peter sang "77 Sunset Strip" and he was given a detention.

March 3, 1966 - I had a throbbing headache by the time I reached math, the regular aches. I also got sharp pains on the left side of my head. Paul Revere and the Raiders sang "Just Like Me" on "Where the Action Is".

March 11, 1966 - Got up at 6:30 after a horrible dream that people were after us, making us unconscious night after night, our doors wouldn't lock.

March 13, 1966 - Went to Sunday School and Church, had a headache, wasted the afternoon because I am wondering what there is to come home to. The boys got into a squabble over who had the right to play records on the record player.

March 13, 1966 - Woke up at 3 in the morning with unbearable stomach pains, I also had a temperature of 101 degrees. The Munsinger affair is at its height, with thousands of people at the Parliament Buildings.

March 23, 1966 - For assembly we heard a speech from an Anglican minister about how life was behind the Iron Curtain. He didn't condemn it either.

March 25, 1966 - It snowed heavily again. For lunch I had chocolate cake, sherbert and potato chips. At home I feel like I am in chains, with no privacy. Saw "On The Beach" with Gregory Peck and Ava Gardner. At the end Waltzing Matilda was heard as Ava stood bravely at the shore. I burst into tears.

March 29, 1966 - Dreamt that a tiger was after me, after being hunted by the tiger I went to the police station and then to the FBI.

April 10, 1966 - Wayne Newton was on Bonanza, playing a boy who didn't want to sing. Three good commercials were on, for Salem cigarettes, Marine Midland and Genessee Beer.

April 16, 1966 - Woke up with a sizzling headache, I can't see very well, its like there are clouds over my pupil. ( I did not realize it at the time, but I had crossed a threshold---constant worry and stress had finally affected the chemicals in my brain, serotonin and the endorphins. At 14 years of age, my brain was literally being rewired. For decades I suffered from migraine and cluster headaches and briefly,
trigeminal neuralgia. I was prescribed a drug called Cafergot, which is derived from the ergot plant. Ergot is also used in the production of LSD. My ocular migraines were similar to LSD visions - the scintillating scotoma

Growing up in Ontario, Canada during the 1960's.

I am planning to create a more personal blog, that documents what I enjoyed, endured and
survived during the 1960's and 1970's.  I will include diary entries, photographs, personal letters, newspaper articles and essays.
Part 1 will the "The Shaw Family of Smiths Falls" and Part 11 will be "The Shaw Family of Brockville".


Letter to a friend in Smiths Falls, Ontario after my mother and I travelled to Toronto by train, to
pick up my brother who was living in Rochdale College:

Schofield Avenue, Brockville Ontario
September 4, 1970

Dear Faye:
     My mother and I were in Toronto last week, and the atmosphere is so different from that
of Brockville and Smiths Falls.
     Everything is so fast-paced and there is such enormous pressure to be different. My mom,
Nick (who has long hair and a beard) and I stopped and looked at all the restaurants frequented
by young people---like a cafeteria-style place near Yorkville that has CHUM-AM written on
the wall, and everyone was dressed hip, with tie-dyed shirts, bell bottoms and capes.
     At Zumburger, across the street from Rochdale College on Bloor Street we ate huge
hamburgers and saw a boy with black hair that was halfway down his back.
     At the Riverboat Inn we noticed that Bruce Cockburn was playing, he has an album
out.
     A girl named Amber from Perth is renting one of Nick's apartments on Madison Ave.
Yorkville is shorter than I thought it was, only three blocks at the most. And there were less
than 50 long hairs sitting around.
     At a boutique along there, we walked in and the smell of marijuana hit us right away.
I swear, we could have gotten high from just breathing the air! Which reminds me, the air
is really bad in Toronto, and I kept coughing and rubbing my eyes. There are plenty of
subways and streetcars in T.O...the subways are fantastic! You can tell where you are
simply by reading the names of the streets printed on the subway walls, like Bloor and
Yonge Streets.
     The taxi cabs look like police cars and police cars look like cabs. The cabs are black
and white and the police cars are yellow.
     We were in the East End for a little while, which is a bad section of town, and where
the Don Jail, a huge place, is located.
     In a restaurant there, the Pepsi Lunch at the corner of Broadview and Gerrard we all sat down and
had french fries with gravy and sodas.