My education was comprised of the normal mundane necessities, math English social studies. My real education came from people; I grew up very introverted, I was confidant till I had to deal with people outside my family. Then I became scared and confused. I remember the first day of school. My mother had to drag me in fighting all the way. I was very scared. I was completely unprepared for dealing with people. I never really made any friends till I was in high school. I was friendly with a couple of people at different times but they let me down and it ended. You see I grew up believing in a black and white good and bad life. There was not room for gray in my idea of how things were supposed to be. When a family moved in to our cottage and I became friends with the older boys who were my age we got along pretty good till the younger one started talking about strange things like sticking a frog up his ass.
Our friendship went away when we were about 12 or 13; we all hated our life at home and decided to leave. We rode our bicycle’s to the city about 20 miles away and started walking down the railroad tracks, our plan was to hop a freight train and get someplace warm. It was January and cold, after walking for some hours we were tired and hungry and the other boys finally decided they had had enough of this plan. They decided to walk on the road and look for a house where they could find food. I tried to talk them out of it and did my best to explain why this was a bad idea. I could not convince them and they found a house they thought looked good, so I left them and kept on my way. After a half hour or so a police car came along with these two boys inside and picked me up. They told the police that I was their look out. I ended up in court and was found guilty of breaking and entering. The second time I was falsely accused.
In grammar school I was never accepted as normal. I still am not sure why except I had a different understanding of the world, of course being poor and having a reclusive family didn’t help; the one exception is boy scouts. A boy my age Donnie Becker had a mother who ran a Cub Scout den. I was invited to join so I did. For a while Donnie and his older Brother Brad were friends of mine. One day Donnie insulted my family and I threw him down a hill. That ended that relationship. I was pretty thin-skinned when it came to my family. Even though I was not, and could not be proud of them, they were my only identity. In school I always stayed to myself, and was always picked last for any game. I had a desperate need to find a place to fit in, but no clue how to do it without giving up my principles.
My sisters and I attended nature training camp for about three years in a row, these were great times. I was in my element here. The instructors were straight forward and knowledgeable, and gained my respect. We also went to other camps. I went to Boy Scout camp one year and had a great time here, Even though I did not fit in any better. It was structured enough to make me feel comfortable. The best part was the closing speech from a senior scout master. The theme of his speech was on the necessity of humility. This struck a chord with me and has stayed with me all these years. The first camp I went to was a camp my father went to as a boy, my parents argued about this being a good or bad idea. I had no idea why a camp could be good or bad, but the fact of them arguing about it made me apprehensive. I was there one week and then begged to come home. I did not get along with anyone and I was scared of the people. It rained most of the time and I was not prepared as the other boys were. They already knew how to do most of the things and I did not. I stuck it out for the two weeks but I hated it and thought it was just a way of getting rid of me. Not a good time at all.
In first grade I missed most of the year due to sickness, I had measles and chicken pox and every other kind of disease you can get. I was informed At the end of the year that I had missed enough school so I would not be allowed to go on to second grade and would have to do first grade over. This set me up for being behind for many years. It bothered me to have to walk through the halls with a different class. I always wondered what good stuff the old class was learning while I re-learned the old stuff. I was the tallest one in my class; Till Pat Carroll came to the school in 7th grade.
One thing that really affected me was when President Kennedy was shot. I was two steps away from the cafeteria when the announcement came over the loudspeaker. I was 9 years old and my whole world collapsed in a moment. Maybe I would have been able to process this better if I did not life such a sheltered and innocent life. Now I had a paper route that I did on my bicycle in the afternoon. And my family had a motor route we did every morning. But I never read a newspaper. I never listened to the news. Occasionally I would hear a tiny bit here or there but any news I got was out of context and had no history attached to it. My knowledge was limited to my family and my town. And there was not much from my town. Even though I visited most all the town every day delivering papers. I only got external news. I never knew what happened inside these houses. Conversations were limited to hello nice day that sort of thing. These were the days when no one talked outside about family stuff, especially in my house. Because of this I spent most of my life innocent and naïve. There was a time I was collecting for my paper route when a very pretty lady met me at the door with I see through negligée that did not hide anything, I saw pubic hair and breasts, and asked me to follow her into the bedroom so she could pay me, I was sure (almost) at the time and now also am sure she was prepared to give me more than the dollar fifty I was asking for. My mind raced for a while and I eventually decided that even if she was prepared to offer something it would lead to too much trouble down the road. At the time I was a virgin so it would have been a welcome experience but her husband owned the local liquor store and was an ex-marine, I think I made the right choice. My mind was much more mature than my body at 12 years old.
My first close friend came about from falling for a girl that had moved into the house next door. Now this house was a half mile away and it happened to be where I got on and off the bus every day. She was in the next grade. The grade I should have been in. but she was dating the toughest boy in school, Rick Faucher. I never really got a chance to talk to her, even though we waited for the bus together. I was shy and could not think of anything to say to her. Finally one day I decided to pick a fight with Rick, I tripped him coming down the hall in school. I was in 7th grade and he in 8th. He agreed to meet me after school and I could not bring myself to show up. I thought this was a bad idea right after I set it up. Then he called me at home and I gave the excuse I did not have a way of getting to town so he said he would meet me at my house. I agreed to meet him at the end of our drive, I asked my sister Debbie to come along so there would be a witness if I died. Oddly enough I stood my ground and for a while he could not land a punch, I was much faster than I thought I would be. But eventually he found a way to get me down and told me to give up. I could not give up nor could I bring myself to hit him. We finally agreed to call it a draw.
We did not see each other till I went to high school and he offered to give me a ride back and forth. He also went to trade school. For the next year we would ride to school together go to work together after school then to his girlfriend’s house(a different girl) then home. We became very close friends. We lost touch after I made new friends and quit high school, but years later he helped me with a business I was running.
My first grade teacher Miss Bass was the sweetest person you could ever meet. If not for people like her and Miss Romano the third grade teacher I fell in love with I would not have survived the school experience. I actually thought I could have something with Miss Romano. I invited her to dinner at our house and she came. She broke my heart when she married. We had a mean vice principal named “chrome dome” our name, and a principal named MR. McManus that you could not get close to but he seemed nice. My second grade teacher Mrs. Morrisey Was a mean old hag with absolutely no sense of humor.