I have always had a therapeutic relationship with poetry and song lyrics. Writing free verse poetry helps me work through loneliness, worries, and tell my story creatively. My thoughts were always being written on paper, even as far back as when I just began to write. When I was in High School, writing seemed to help me better relate to the world and people around me. I had a stressful home life, and mostly kept to myself. I felt writing was a way to share a little about me with others. I read poems to friends, sang songs with lyrics I’d written, and was a self-taught guitar player.
My senior year in high school, a special teacher who taught business and typing, recognized that I had a passion for writing poetry. I sat in his class typing my poems while I was supposed to be typing a sentence over and over for a time and accuracy test. It was something like, “The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog.”
Noticing that I was not following the assignment, he told me I needed to do the time test to pass the class. I replied, “I took this class to learn how to type and I can type now.” I wasn’t as concerned about the grade. I was typing about 35 words per minute, which I thought was pretty good for a recent beginner. Rather than flunk me, he went to the school board to get permission to pass me if I could type the required words per minute, even though I was not typing the prescribed lessons. They gave him the permission, and he made a template and had the whole class type my poems. I didn’t know it, but he had a plan in mind, and gave me a priceless addition to my education. My classmates typed inside the borders of the template so it would all be in a uniform fashion. I remember feeling as though this teacher was the first person to give me a chance to be creative and pursue my personal interests, and it helped that the class seemed to enjoy reading and retyping my work.
The teacher and I discussed the possibility of having this collection turned into Continue reading →
My little brother was a creative and mechanically oriented person. He was good at fixing just about any engine or vehicle. He worked on keeping his toys running and fixing things to use. In his younger years, one of his teachers in junior high, decided that the best way to work with a bunch of unruly adolescents was to bring in a bunch of non-functioning small engines and let them have at it. Evidently, that was an approach that worked well and kept them focused for a little while. Then as opposed to now, it was more common to have hands on experience during the early 1970’s, teachers could get a little more creative with their teaching methods! My brother was often getting excited about riding snowmobiles and two wheeled vehicles. He was a good outdoorsman. He did a lot with my father and they frequently hunted together for deer and turkey. I’m sure he kept Dad’s lawn mower running smoothly.
When I was in college and working on a teaching degree I would come home periodically to see my folks. My brother and sister, both younger than me, lived at home. During one visit that I remember, Jeff was a teenager building a mini bike as he called it. It was a gasoline engine from a mower and a few metal rods welded together to make a frame. He made a nice throttle on the handlebars and it looked reasonably balanced for speed and comfort. He was proud that he made it himself, taking time to find the parts and piece it all together.
On this visit of mine, he invited me to take a ride on it. I thought about it for a minute and decided to oblige him. I mounted the seat and he gave me a couple of lessons on how to operate the controls he had fashioned for it. I sped out of the driveway and up the dirt road a half mile or so. I turned around up near the intersection at the “Y” that went up over Densmore’s hill.
My ride home was a fast and furious one. While I tried to Continue reading →
A lot of people I knew in high school, and some I didn’t, made a reputation good or bad at Barney’s Garage. The place was just across the street from Chester High, the school I attended, my first year being 1967. It was a real garage and a real place of business. The man was as nice as could be and rarely ever complained about the patronage of students that frequented or spontaneously showed up there. The parents of a lot of the students were his customers for gas or minor work on their cars. Some of the older students themselves were customers and I believe one of his children was a student at the school too.
Sometimes the students would loiter out in back of the garage to have a place to smoke or just hang around talking. Often the students would go there for answers to challenges by one of their adversaries. You’d often hear someone shout out in the halls of the school, “I’ll meet you behind Barney’s Garage at lunch time.” But more often it was, “We’ll settle this behind Barney’s Garage after school tonight!” No matter what the adversaries looked like, there was always something to watch happening there. My reason for going to Barney’s was usually to buy a bag of chips or soda and candy bar out of the vending machines.
One day while I was standing there, two cousins with an age difference of a few years, and 50 to 75 pounds difference in weight, arguing and daring each other to do stupid things. They were trying to prove who was the bravest, or perhaps the results were to prove who was most foolish. I tried to talk the younger one out of taking one dare in particular of a most disgusting and what I’d call dangerous nature. He was dared to Continue reading →
While riding in my car, I began listening to an interview on NPR, with Rob and Nick Reiner about their new movie, “Being Charlie”, a rehab story. The conversations with people who called in about their experiences with drugs and alcohol, reminded me that I had also once felt the need to experiment. Neither gave me any true feelings of satisfaction. I found that the negativity of substance abuse didn’t leave much room for comfort or reality blending. I did however, at an early age, find writing was a great relief for my Continue reading →