My Life Thus Far: The Sixties

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February 5, 2016, Phoenix- I had my lunch, of spicy California rolls, at Dreamy Draw Park, a popular desert redoubt, on the northeast side of town, before going in for what was an encouraging dental checkup.

While sitting in the coolness of the Sonoran Desert, I went back, in my mind to the years of adolescence.

1960-High Point: The New England Shopping Center opened.

            Low Points:  Ellen moved; my Grandma died.

People in the Heart:  Barbara I., Ellen S.

Places in the Heart:  Makepeace Hill, Johns Pond (Mashpee)

1961-High Point:  Hiking Mt. Chocorua, NH.

Low Point:  Having a stupid meltdown, while on that camping trip.

          People in the Heart:  The Geotis family, who moved into the Statuto’s old house; the members of my Boy Scout troop.

          Places in the Heart:  The White Mountains of New Hampshire (all of them).

1962- High Point:  Family gatherings at Kingston State Park, NH.

             Low Point:  Five days in the hospital.

People in the Heart:  A tall, beautiful girl in our grade (anonymous, out of respect              to her and her loving husband); my then new friends, Dean and the late Mike; three            beautiful sisters, who were friends of our extended family.

            Places in the Heart: Canobie Lake;  Kingston State Park.

1963- High Point:  Putting an end to being bullied in Grade 8.

            Low Point:   The death of John F. Kennedy.

             People in the Heart:  Half the female population of Saugus Junior High School.

Places in the Heart:  Every school building that was torched by a serial arsonist,                  who was in our class.

1964-  High Point:  Promoting out of Grade 8.

Low Point:   Dealing with enuresis.

             People in the Heart:  Those three beautiful sisters; the thugs who actually stood                  up for me.

             Places in the Heart:  Our cellar, where I could shine the family’s shoes and listen                to the richness of pop music; Breakheart Pond.

1965- High Point: Getting my own newspaper route.

Low Point:  Dealing with a pedophile.

            People in the Heart:  My neighbourhood group of friends (who remain my friends,              to this day).                                                                                                                                 

            Places in the Heart:  Breakheart, Johns Pond, the Saugus Howard Johnson’s                          Restaurant (where so many of us hung out); Mt. Chocorua.

1966- High Point:  Getting my driver’s license.

            Low Point:  Working out the bugs in my own driving behaviour.

             People in the Heart:  Most of my newspaper customers; Coach Wall, who put me                 through Driver Boot Camp, and whom I credit for 50 years of driving, with only                   two, one-car, accidents; Joan M., one of my best female friends, ever.

             Places in the Heart:  Martha’s Vineyard; the above-mentioned spots, from 1966.

1967- High Point: Getting a job at a supermarket.

Low Point: Struggling on the job.

People in the Heart:  Bob Powers, my first boss, and one of the finest people for                   whom I’ve ever worked;  all my above-mentioned peers from Saugus High.

             Places in the Heart:  Merrymeeting Lake, Alton, NH; Fireplace 10, at Lynn Beach.

1968- High Point: Graduating Saugus High School.

           Low Points: Not taking college seriously; all the crap that went down that Spring.

            People in the Heart:  Ron Gerace, my fourth boss; Professor Ahmad and Jim                          Gorman, who tried to set me straight about college; Kathy W., to whom I should                  have paid more attention.

             Places in the Heart: The old campus of UMass-Boston; the Back Bay; Hampton                    Beach, NH.

1969- High Point: Completing Army Basic training.

             Low Point:  Leaving college, feeling like a failure.

             People in the Heart:  My Army buddies, Tim and Mike; Drill Sergeants Cummings,             Wescott, and Green.

             Places in the Heart:  Downtown Columbia, SC; Myrtle Beach; Indianapolis.

Junior High had its share of abysmal moments.  High school, I must say, was freeing.  I had a core group of friends, and yet made the rounds of several groups of people, in Saugus and in nearby Melrose.   I was too young, emotionally, to have attempted college.  Girls and protest marches were way bigger in my life than studying.  So, 1969 found me treading water in a job at my Dad’s GE Plant, then signing myself up for the Army.  It was past time to stop being the family nuisance.  On June 16, 1969, I left for Fort Jackson, SC.

I did not, in the scheme of things, end the ’60’s too badly.  By October, 1969, I had made a place for myself on a “clean-up crew”, re-establishing Army postal service to the residents of Tri-Service Barracks, Fort Myer, VA.  Still, the bugaboo of alcohol dependency, along with mild autism, kept me from bonding with many people and created all manner of problems, with my family and with others, who didn’t know me very well.  The hiatus of Boot Camp and Advanced Individual Training did bring me a bit further along towards adulthood, but relapse came, once I was back in routine.

The ’70’s would be the first of my two lost decades.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Life Thus Far: The Fifties

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January 26, 2016, Prescott-

I have decided to look at my 6 1/2 decades, in terms of each year’s high point, low point,places and people in the heart, and amazing things. Where there are no listed “People in the heart”, Mom and Dad were a given. Obviously, this has meant some very deep psychic chrononautics, memories and reflections, with regard to my first decade, the 1950’s; so, here goes.

1950- High Point:  I bounced out, towards the end of the year, albeit almost feet first.

           Low Point:  Almost coming out feet first.

          People in the heart-Mom and Dad,  my three living grandparents.

1951- High Point:   Being the center of attention.

           Low Point:  Uncle Jim went to war.

           Places in the heart:  Gooch Street, Melrose (our first home) and the duplex on                      Central Street, Saugus (our second home).

1952- High Point: My sister, Cheryl, was born.

            Low Point:  Dad worked nights.

            People in the heart:  Cheryl, Cousin Dale, Grandma.

1953- High Point: Playing with Pal, the collie mix.

            Low Point:  Grampy died.                                                                                                                    

            Places in the heart: Grandma’s house, Aunt Hazel’s and Uncle Ellie’s house.

1954- High Point:  Walking up to Grandma’s by myself.

            Low Point:  Getting spanked for it.

           People in the heart:  My paternal aunts, Carol and Margie, who were my first teen              babysitters; two little girls who were my friends, but whose names I forget, and                  Russ, the first boy to be my friend.

1955-High Point: David was born.

            Low Point:  Moving to Adams Avenue, to what at first struck me as a shack. (Dad                 and Mom made it into a real home, though).

             People in the heart:  My first peer friends- Eddie, Allan, Mario and Tommy.

             Place in the heart:  Conrad’s Farm (They had horses!)

1956- High Point: Learning to read.

              Low Point:  Realizing I was different from the other First graders.

              People in the heart:  Miss Lavin (my First Grade teacher); Father Lawrence                          McGrath (who gave me First Communion); Donna, Ellen and Nancy W., my girl                  classmates.

1957- High Point: Getting to go up Blueberry Hill by myself.

            Low Point:  Getting bullied in the neighbourhood.

            People in the heart: Bobby Matthews, who stood up for me; Jimmy and Jack, my                  friends down the street.

            Places in the heart:  Blueberry Hill, where I hiked and sledded; Pleasant Creek,                    where I went to meditate.

1958- High Points:  Learning my multiplication facts; family visit to Cape Cod.

            Low Point:  Getting pelted in the head with acorns.

            People in the heart:  New friends Charlie and Clyde; Miss Nugent (my Third Grade              teacher.

            Places in the heart:  Johns Pond, Cape Cod;  The Field, and Nannygoat Hill, Saugus.

1959-High Points:  Visiting family in Stamford, CT; vacation in the White Mountains of               New Hampshire.

          Low Point:  My friend and classmate, Donna,moved.

          People in the heart:  Cousins Danny, Kathy and John.

          Places in the heart :   High Street, after dinner during Daylight Savings Time;                     Franconia Notch and North Conway, NH.

Amazing things in my 1950’s- The transformation of 48 Adams Avenue into a nice family home. All the times I walked into neighbours’ unlocked houses, when I was 5 &6, until Father McGrath mentioned, at Sunday School, that it was wrong.  A teen party upon which I happened, at age 8. (They let me stay a while, long enough to realize just how beautiful girls are).   Learning the joys of walking, which took me everywhere in Saugus.

This was the time of American Bandstand, Mighty Mouse, Tom and Jerry, and my first forays into nerdiness:  Perry Mason,  Feep’s Fantasmic Features and Hawaiian Eye.  It was when I learned that not all grown-ups liked kids, even when they worked with us.  There were those, like my First and Third Grade teachers, who did love us.  They are the ones I remember most clearly.

As the Fifties closed, I was slowly branching out as a person.