Childhood Games, Nostalgic Candy & Banana Seat Bikes

A  lot of the things we did and didn’t do when we were kids would be considered negligent by today’s standards, but they gave us a freedom that children just don’t experience nowadays.

First of all, I have to say that my mother really had no idea where we were for a better portion of the day once we were school age.

She had a large bell that she would ring to call us home for dinner. This, of course, was incredibly embarrassing and we were teased mercilessly.

One of the highlights of the day was riding our bikes to the corner store for candy with money we had earned from collecting pop bottles.

It was common to be required to buy your parents cigarettes as well, and then you were given a note saying that the kids presented to the shop owners and you were then allowed to purchase cigarettes ostensibly for your parents.

Oftentimes we were allowed to keep the change (this was our delivery fee) and therefore it added to our candy budget.

Before we spoke about candy bars and lick m aid but I would like to add to the list.

Mojo’s, Pop Rocks, Jawbreakers and Grab Bags

You might remember Pop Rocks which had some secret ingredient (citric acid?) that made them pop and fizz in our mouths.

And the penny candy Mojos. As some might remember they were a chewy fruit (not all that soft) flavoured confectionery that would make parents today have a heart attack if their kids were eating them.

We can’t forget jaw breakers. I know these had been around a long time before I was a child, but what is the point of them? Is it a conspiracy to drum up business for big dental?

Honorable mention should go to grab bags.

I used to get quite excited about them. I think even back then logically we knew it was the left over candy that nobody wanted, but somehow there was a great anticipation in not knowing what was in there.

This led to much disappointment and feverish trading between us all jockeying for the more coveted candy.

Dental hygiene wasn’t of paramount importance to my parents…

(probably due to lack of funds – when are we going to make this part of national medical?) and by the time I went to the dentist the first time when I was 10 I had at least 6 cavities.

One day when I was riding my bike on Lancaster Crescent down by the tennis courts and I spotted a $2 bill on the ground. Rather than pick it up I rode the 2 blocks back to our house and told my mom.

“Well go back and get it! Hopefully, it’s still there…”

I did and it was and for some reason, this sticks in my head.

I must have been riding my banana seat bike as this is the first one I remember having.

I vaguely remember my father teaching me to ride, running down the road. Though that could’ve been my brother as he was close to the same age as was probably taught to ride about the same time.

A clearer incident involved my first solo ride.

We were in the park across Airport Road near to my best friend at the time,V H’s house.

I must’ve gone a whole 20 feet before I tipped over sideways and somehow managed to knock a big healing scab off my knee with the handle bar which was missing its original grip.

Miraculously the raw handle bar connected with the scab on my knee and gush, out came the blood!

V carefully escorted me to her house, both of screaming our heads off and her mother rinsed my knee in the bathtub and gave me a bandaid. I was none worse for wear.

Successful maiden solo mission complete!

I later wrote a song about this and it was in my second album ‘Unlimited Growth’.

If you’re curious, you can check that out here. Scroll down to ‘Andy’s Song’.

V’s mom was one of the Peanuts adults. You know ‘wah wah wah.’ I’m not sure why I remember some parents more than others. It might be a good thing.

If you think about it, this might just mean that V’s mom was a competent adult and so therefore doesn’t stand out much in my mind as there were way more crazy ones around to compare her too.

Next door to V lived a single Spanish man who gave me my first nickname.

At the time, I was called by my first name Lori or Lori-ann and he used to call me Laura Secord, which the neighborhood kids shortened to Secord and then to Cee.

That stuck for quite a while, at least all the way through elementary school at least until Sea Island Elementary was closed and we had to bus to Brighouse Elementary on Azure Lane off Gilbert Rd. in Richmond proper.

Single men living alone who talked to children were not automatically considered suspect back then.

It was free reign for us kids as we ran from yard to yard. We owned that block.

Traveling to Nelson, BC

On the way to Nelson, we stopped to camp overnight somewhere near Kelowna.

This was at an off-road location and I remember a really cool swimming hole. There was inlet in the river and someone had dug it out more in order to make it more swimmable.

Many years later when camping with my son we tried to find this place again and weren’t able to, though we did find a great spot on a river where I thought the spot should be that had a lot of great mud for sliding around on.

I might’ve mentioned this before, but ostensibly this trip was a babysitting gig and I tried to my best with the three young ones asking what needed doing and generally making sure they didn’t die.

I remember that Raquel’s mom had a wonderful big garden which we ate vegetables from. We shelled peas and grandma made her own fruit punch from strawberries, I think it was, and that was very yummy.

That summer I had had my first period and my mother was quite excited by it.

She had me read Judy Blume’s ‘Are You There God It’s Me Margaret’ and handed me some strange lithographed notebook that was called something like ‘What Every Girl Should Know’ and figured her job was done.

She did not as far as I know show me how put on a sanitary napkin or provide one. I was required to use rolled or wadded up toilet paper and this might explain a lot of plumbing issues they had and I also didn’t realize that tampons weren’t flushable until I was in my early 30s.

I was also felt strangely betrayed when my mom ran out to meet my dad as soon he arrived home to inform him of my fledgling womanhood.

Maybe it wasn’t so strange to feel betrayed by my mother after all. Maybe that is getting to the crux of the matter. Hadn’t I, after all, had a lot more expectations of my mother than she was able to deliver on? Wasn’t this the whole root of the matter, my expectations? Were they reasonable or should I just have had a tougher skin?

‘She would do that’. I told myself.

My mother also didn’t notice that I required a bra.

It’s, of course, possible that this was just another thing to do with my burgeoning adolescence that was too much for her to handle. It also occurs to me that it’s possible that she was somehow threatened by my maturity.

That certainly was the case later on. She seemed to be jealous of any accomplishment I had as I got older. I now know that this is because she felt she wasn’t doing what she should with her own life.

I now know that that’s what happens with people. They are not generally mad or upset at the person that their anger or hurt is directed at. They are generally angry and upset at themselves and their own inability to do anything about it. This was definitely the case with my mother, I can almost feel sorry for her when I realize that she must’ve spent most of her adult life with these feelings.

The question here is: Is this mental illness or is it a personality thing?

My lack of a bra for my thirteen-year-old burgeoning breasts was remedied by Raquel that summer in Nelson.

Bless that woman. She was as sensitive and generous about the subject as any young girl could hope.

On the way back to Vancouver we stopped in Cranbrook to visit friends who had a daughter who was a couple years older than me and full-fledged teenager and therefore uber-cool. She was very kind to me and shared with me her brand spanking new possession the LP ‘Don’t Look Back’ by Boston.

I was ready to be strapped into the back of the truck and we had a few minutes to kill.

“Look. Now it’s a spaceship” flipping the album, “Now it’s a guitar! You know what this is?

This is DECENT.”

Never was a truer word spoken by a cooler person and I knew it was gospel.

Is ADHD caused by Facebook?

Does Facebook cause ADHD?

I was listening to the Irrelevant Show on CBC on my way to the gym yesterday. I heard a song about a couple trying to leave the house and being distracted by Facebook.

‘Hon’, he says ‘Are you ready to go? ‘ ‘I just have to send this message.’she replies and launches into a song about all the many distracting, interesting things to see on Facebook.
The song is three verses long. At the beginning of the verse, she attempts to send her message only to be distracted by various postings and somehow ending each verse watching cat videos.

This made me wonder.

Is social media and the interwebs making us into a big distracted mess because of all the overwhelming information coming at us 24/7 is too much for our brains to process?

Are we developing ADHD like tendencies just in order to function in today’s society?

I think society is changing because of the technology available that we use in our everyday lives on every level. The way we approach education, health, family, work, parenting and every aspect of life is affected by our technology. A lot has been written about this, but I still think it’s worth mentioning again.

What I’m saying is all of our fundamental communications are affected by our technological world and this affects our mental health. The technology is only accelerating, too.

Are our natural responses making us look like we have ADHD?

Naturally, this discussion continued at the shop and Devon (our manager) chimed in with ‘ I don’t necessarily think that Facebook is causing ADHD but there is a lot of discussion on social media about different diagnosis and what medication people are taking. It’s like they belong to a secret club.’

Mental health is a secret club on Facebook? This is a thing?

I had thought about this before. Do people seriously need a mental health designation in order to feel like they’re special enough? What a wasted amount of energy. You could put your power to good, people! And what in our society is causing this? Are we so accepting of mental illness that now people are creating them in order to have a place in society?

Is mental illness a modern day hobby?

Husband and I discuss this kind of thing all the time and yesterday he reminded me of some incidents that had happened when David  (our son) was younger.

When my son was in 5th grade his teacher asked to have him tested for ADHD and we refused.

This got us talking to other parents about it. Apparently, all the boys in his class were asked to be tested and there were several diagnosed in his class. Those that refused to be tested were not considered ADHD.

The girls were not asked to be tested.

If a teacher has a bunch of special needs kids in her class she can get extra teaching assistants and other help, making her job easier.

Mmmmm.

David asked to be transferred from her classroom and though this was not an easy task, we got it done.

Later that year she was fired.

They seemed to be a trend towards a lot of diagnoses of ADD and ADHD when our son was asked to be tested in grade five.

This was only for boys. The girls seemed to be fine. Oh and I should mention the symptoms most of the boys exhibited that the teacher based her suspicious on were that boys tended to naturally be quite rambunctious.

They process information better if they are free to move around. This might look like misbehavior to some, but it’s really just how young boys operate. Just because they don’t sit nicely at their desks quietly doing their work and quietly entertaining themselves when it’s completed does NOT mean they have ADHD as convenient as that may be for a teacher.

Conversely, girls tend to go largely undiagnosed as they ARE apt to sit nicely in a classroom at their desks doing their work and being generally responsive to their teachers whether they’re depressed or not.

I mention depression because I’ve been told that it’s one of the signs of ADHD in girls if you believe such things.

One of the boys in David’s class was prescribed Ritalin (at 9 years old).

This upset several of us parents and naturally led to discussions. I should mention that David went to a very small Montessori elementary school. Though publically funded, getting into the school required a waiting list and the commitment of traveling across town if you didn’t happen to live in the neighborhood, which thankfully we did.

Put it this way, the parents there were like-minded.

The classic take away from all the discussion over Ritilan was put best by David’s best friend’s mom and family friend Nadene, a self-made, successful business owner who said, ‘ Give me several lines of good cocaine and I can work all night too’. Well put!

In Husband’s family, there are several diagnoses of mental illness.

My brother-in-law had a lot of trouble growing up and was eventually diagnosed with ADHD and given medication which has helped him a lot.

He is one of the highest functioning people I know and I think incredibly clear thinking and not to mention very organized and good at organizing other people.

This was recently put to test as he was helping to get the family house ready to put on the market.

Brother-In-Law found himself in the situation of dealing with almost 50 years worth of what I call functional hoarding, making numerous trips to the dump all while dealing with his sister who is still living in the house and insisting that each little scrap of paper was either a precious family heirloom or the key to untold riches.

Brother-In-Law challenges my view of the mental health industry. There is no doubt in my mind that he has been helped by chemical intervention.

 

Is Mental Illness (like ADHD) The New Trending Hobby?

Yesterday three lovely young women came into the shop later on in the afternoon.

I was on the floor by myself as it was a holiday. I got to talking to all three really. One girl told me that she had Facebooked us re the holiday hours and I was like ‘ Yeah I saw that’. It was Devon who had answered. Another told me that she had bought her grad gown back from us back in the late nineties when we were having 15 minutes of fame and selling about a million handmade grad gowns a year resplendent with all the accouterment and alterations included.

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Past Lives, Buddhist Philosophy, Mental Health Prophylactics and Ducaneses

My parents taught me to say, ‘I want to be a nuclear physicist’ when people would ask what I wanted to be when I grew up.

What exactly is that? Does it still even exist? It doesn’t sound very artistic and I definitely am. It does sound impressive though, which I guess was the whole point.

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Do you believe in past lives? And if so, can we remember them? I believe I can.

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An Unattached Wall with Black Mould & To Nelson in the flat deck of a truck

An Unattached Wall with Black Mould

Last night I dreamed that two of my teeth fell out. That’s supposed to be a metaphor for something, I think. In my case, I think it just means I’m afraid that my teeth will fall out. A lot of people must feel this way, but it’s somewhat justified in my case as I have pretty active periodontal issues. My dentist called it “extreme periodontal breakdown” in his first diagnosis, though it is much improved since that initial dismal prophecy, thanks to my amazing hygienist, Sherlyn, and also to my devotion to all thing floss, mouthwash, oral b, proxy brush and that little red brush that I use to reach behind that I don’t know the name of.

You get the picture.           Continue reading

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