When I Was Young Yesterday
Photos courtesy of the author.
Copyright 202 by Lew Goddard
Lew's high school photo, age 17
Lew's most recent photo, age 86
wife and I are the elderly that people refer to on TV, in books and
on the telephone. Numerous memories quite often come to mind and this
story is meant to tell you readers some of these in our much younger
will tell you about my experiences since my spouse has her own. But
this is my story for your enjoyment. At least, I hope that you enjoy
are not hard to carry. Sometimes you have to search for them. This is
the case. Shortly before I was five with my older sisters we moved
from one farm site to another with our parents. My Dad hooked up the
horse drawn buggy and tied our cow behind. From the north of town to
the south of town, a distance of perhaps ten miles and it took the
better part of the afternoon. I thought we had travelled over the
entire province. Instead of an old dilapidated wooden house with an
earthen floor in the living room and dining room, the new house was a
huge two-story rock and mortar edifice. The horse was placed in the
pasture and my Dad struggled to lay the cow unto its side. He took
his pocket knife out of his pocket and stabbed into the cows belly.
Why did we bring the cow all this way and then my Dad killed it? It
was quite some time before I learned that the cow was saved. In the
pasture, it was able to move quite well and began to consume the
green grass. If a cow could eat green grass, how was it able to
produce white milk?
Dad was at work, sisters were at school and my mother was busy in the
kitchen. It was time to venture further. The barn was vacant, no one
there, nothing there. With my little white-haired terrier, Prudence,
and a stick in my hand, I wandered into the barn. It was located
about fifty yards south of the house. It was huge. It smelled like
hay and manure and another odor that I couldn’t recognize. The
quietness forced me to take a good look to see if there was any
living form. Slight rustle could be heard at close to my feet.
Prudence sniffed a hole in the debris and wagged her tail. I poked
the stick into the hole and there was some visible movement there so
I pushed hard to make the hole larger. A sleek grey animal moved
rapidly but my dog was quicker. She jumped on to it and grabbed the
back of its neck in her teeth and not more than thirty seconds later,
she dropped it, looked at me with a satisfied smile. The animal
jerked a bit but obviously from the blood, it was dead. I patted
Prudie’s head pushed the animal with my stick and moved on.
Sometime later I was told that it was a Norway rat and could eat just
about anything including eggs and chickens.
was time that I move farther afield.
was a slough west of the house down the hill. Poplar trees and
willows next to the water. Of course, Prudence always came with me
and we went exploring. In the willows there was plenty of old leaves
and general debris from the trees. But, Prudence with her gift of
smelling started to dig at one spot. I stopped her to see what she
had found and it was a field mice nest and the cutest little pink
nosed light grey babies. My first thought was that the mother
wouldn’t come back now that we had virtually destroyed their
home. So, I picked them up and headed back to the house.
mother and sisters were there and one was upstairs. I called her and
said that I had something for her. A little later she padded down to
where I was sitting. She looked over my shoulder when I opened my
hands and showed her. She gave a short shriek and collapsed. Her eyes
were closed as she lay there on the floor. What happened? She looked
like she was asleep. Oh my God did I kill her? Suddenly she jumped
and yelled at me to get those damn things away from her and she ran
back up the stairs.
Shortly thereafter, we moved into town and
rented what was originally a
commercial store of some kind. I guess we didn’t pay much rent
and it wasn’t long until we moved into a small two-bedroom
house right next to what was the Trans Canada highway that went
through town at that time. It was gravel. No pavement, It was muddy
when it rained. How far have we progressed? Since I was less than six
years old I played with the few toys I had and ones that were
make-believe on the lawn in front of the house. Suddenly, I felt
something in one ear and moving around. I probably screamed for my
mother. She came and looked. There was an ant part way into my ear
channel. She ran back in the house and used a small clamp used to
pull a sliver out and finally the ant was pulled out. I never forget
the weird feeling.
started for me when I was six years old. I don’t recall if I
was excited. There were positive thoughts racing through my mind. I
was growing up. I was in school. I would become friends with other
kids and learn how to survive new relationships. It was all about
learning about life.
or three days after attending school on that occasion, my bladder
told me that it needed draining. Now, I was in a panic. I didn’t
know where the washroom was located and I didn’t know what I
had to do to get there. In any event, it was too late and my new
jeans showed a streak down the left leg to my boot. In those days, I
didn’t have a pair of shoes, just boots. The puddle on the
floor was evidence that I was in trouble and one of the other
students raised the red flag. Indeed, my face was as red as the flag.
The teacher came to my area near the back of the room and spoke to
this late date, I do not recall what she said. I was instructed to
follow her out of the room and was introduced to the boys washroom,
then sent home.
wasn’t much better except my mother consoled me.
became more familiar and there were swings with wooden seats and long
ropes. I thought they were fifty feet tall. I learned how to stand up
and pump my body to move the swing until I was nearly as high as the
big wooden posts that held them. Conversing with fellow students some
as old as teenagers, I was told that if I wanted to swing, I would
pump high enough to see over the top horizontal board that held the
swings. Obligingly, I tried my best, but I couldn’t reach high
enough at first. Then, one day with extra effort, I succeeded.
However, the downward trip threw the swing out of control whereby, I
fell several feet. That hurt.
years crept up on me the following March. At the end of May, I
developed a severe stomach ache where one morning, I just couldn’t
seem to wake up. My mother made arrangements to take me to the Doctor
in the next town west of us. At that time, there was no 911 to call
and have an ambulance transport a patient to the hospital. I became
resident in the hospital and without further measures, my appendix
was removed. My stay was a week. After a couple of days, I felt
energetic and visited male patients on both floors. The memory that
stayed with me was one man in the same room with me showed me what
had happened when he accidentally shot himself in the leg when
manipulating his rifle. His leg was swollen twice it’s normal
size due to infection. He had a lot of pain and we became friends.
During the rest of May and all of June, I did not attend school with
the knowledge that I would pass into grade two in the fall. Whoopie
do! More holidays.
school was over for the day or weekend, there were other adventures
to explore. A bunch of us played “kick the can.” There
was no limit to the number of participants. I really don’t
remember why another person wanted to gain the position as guarding
the can. But, it was fun.
were not routinely purchased from a store except at Christmas and
seldom on my birthday. I usually received a new shirt and possibly
new jeans. New boots showed up at the beginning of each school year.
They were either worn out or my feet were too large for the old ones.
of manufactured toys, we made our own. I somehow managed to obtain a
wood piece an inch or two wide and long enough to be ably touch the
ground. One piece was cut off about five inches long. This was nailed
to the bottom of the bottom of the handle stick so that it formed a
cross. This was not completed until a metal ring that often
originated from a broken child’s wagon or off one of the wheels
from a baby buggy that needed a new wheel. The idea was to practice
pushing the ring ahead of the fashioned cross until you could run
hard and keep the ring in balance. This “toy” could be
pushed over the whole town and brag about your ability and compete
with your buddies in races and other competitions.
of the next “toys” when you had reached your tenth
birthday at least was to propel a worn-out car tire by hand to keep
in motion and balance to “skitter” all over town. It was
the pride of ownership when you had a tire to rotate the streets.
“Skitter” was the usual word at the time.
I move on to upper grades and I don’t forget, I received some
vital knowledge from another experienced student in my room.
keep in mind that that there were three grades, one, two and three in
this room where I went to school.
teacher had a leather strap in her desk. And yes, this was a form of
punishment allowed when a student did something wrong in class. My
advice was to cry when my hand was strapped. It hurt, but it was
difficult to bring tears to my eyes. My benefactor suggested that I
became aware of the rhythm the teacher completed and just as she
swung the strap pull your hand back and she would hit herself on the
shin. Of course, that just prolonged the procedure.
recall a situation that took place when I was in grade two. Same room
but, my desk was in the centre of the room not far from the back row.
Along the way I and many others had learned how to create what we
called a plane made in a certain way that if you gave it the proper
forward, it would fly for quite a distance. It was made of paper. One
of my buddies, Robert Balfour sat in his desk two steps from the
front. We had often fashioned a paper plane and threw it back and
forth. I spotted him picking the plane on the floor where it landed
from my throw.
turned and returned it but it landed on the girl in front of me. She
jumped, turned back to me and crushed the plane, saying that we
should stop messing around. She twisted the plane and tore part of
the paper. It was irreparable. Did she think she was a teacher?
I ripped the back cover from one of my scribblers. I carefully cut
the perforations from the ring binder and commenced fashioning a new
plane. This was thicker and stiffer than plain paper but it folded
together quite well. The heft was very good and I lifted it and sent
it to Robert. It was a magnificent flight but past him. It resembled
slow motion as it dropped toward Mrs. Demashanko, the teacher and
gently pointed down into her low-slung blouse right into her
cleavage. She jumped and quickly moved back. “Who did this?”
was her response. Several classmates named Not Me. Apparently, he had
left the room
three wasn’t much different except that I sat in a double desk
and my partner was the teacher’s son. Again, I was at the rear
of the room. His name was Ronald
and he was quite adept at disturbing the class and being a nuisance,
particularly to me. Most of the responsibility for problems ended up
in my lap. He was very good drawing attention to me and it made me
day, as it happened, we were together at the rear of the school. I
don’t believe he ever told his mother how he got a bloody nose
morning, my job was to walk to the dairy’s owner home in town.
The trek was through our main street, there and back. We lived on the
southern edge of town and the milk was obtained three or four days
past the commercial street to the north. I always had the correct
change and would leave it in a jar and take two-quart bottles of
milk. It was very seldom that I met the owner but he trusted all who
collected milk on Sundays. I had no knowledge of pasteurized milk at
that time but now believe that it wasn’t protected.
addition to the trip, I searched both sides of main street for coins
that people would sometimes lose. A penny was a “find.”
Anything larger was a bonus. A quarter provided “sublime agony”
of ownership. My parents instructed me to place my finds in a
rectangular metal box in a kitchen drawer. I used to count what I had
saved when I placed more coin in the bank. I remember having more
than a dollar at one time.
Dad had two horses for his Draying business at the time that I became
interested in animals. We had two extra lots in town and one was used
as a pasture when the grass provided a food for the horses and where
they often ran around. Dad said that I could help keep the gophers
out of this area. He taught ne how to fashion a snare wire. It was a
tin golden wire that could be fashioned as a noose at the top of a
gopher hole. When the ever-curious gopher raised his head you could
pull the wire and catch the gopher’s neck. They would struggle
to become loose and it was not a nice thing to do or watch. My Dad
suggested I drown them out and close the hole with soil so they would
go elsewhere. That worked for a while. When I was older I purchased
an old 22 rifle to kill them immediately and it seemed more humane.
This was when no one complained about shooting in the towns boundary.
four was in the next room that housed four, five and six grades. I
must have become quite familiar with school because I really don’t
recall much of anything out of ordinary.
became very acquainted with softball and I played as often as I
could. The rudiments of soccer was absorbed but I did not pursue the
callous incident has always been remembered. Heinze was a student in
grade five when he was observed stretching a wire around a smaller
student’s neck. This took place in the furnace room. The door
was never locked. We had just returned from the afternoon recess. Our
teacher attempted to lead Heinze out to report this to the principal.
However, Heinze refused and he and the teacher became involved in a
physical confrontation. With some difficulty our male teacher ushered
his student out to resolve the issue. Heinze was not in school for
some time and when he returned, caution by the teacher and all
classmates, was the key to deal with him.
we learned that Heinze’s parents advised that he would
cooperate. His older brother, an RCMP officer visited Heinze one day
and we all thought that he paid more attention to his brother than he
did his parents. If I remember properly, Heinze was moved to another
school in another town and not heard of again.
this time, my Dad attended surgery to remove “Piles” as
they called the condition then. My mother and I visited him when he
was recovering from the effects of Ether. Ether has a very distinct
undesirable odor. When my Dad opened his eyes, he gradually asked a
question. “What is it, a boy or a girl?”
knew he was going to be all right.
incidents are the only major happenings during my trip in the second
room that I can recall. I enjoyed learning about small creatures and
some that were invisible. Bacteria, Viruses and Mold were most
interesting and little did I know that they would become major
members in my later occupation.
thing I was not aware of at that time, that hormones would be
dominant in the rest of my life starting within a few short years.
Much like reawakening. That is another story.
some eighty years later, I chose to read a magazine my spouse had
purchased. It was addressed solely to Women.
one page headed ”You Are More Than Enough,” a number two
sub-heading advised “Love yourself just as you are now.”
and for a long time, I don’t believe that a person should love
themselves. This feeling of being more important than anyone else is
not natural. It borders on being narcistic. Now, you should only
decide if you are as how you have become as a person.
making mistakes throughout the years, as most humans do, I feel
comfortable with my parents, my occupation, my income, my spouse and
family all close to me. The feelings of love and companionship are
strong and helpful to me. I trust that those most important to me
feel the same closeness that I do.
addition, I look back at growing up with a desire to learn that
started in early life and mostly at school where I began to recognize
the need and the joy of other people. I have met hundreds of humans
that increased my knowledge of life. My life is already long and I
feel happy with it.
accept what I am.
of the message
won't know where to send it.)
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