Sex, Drugs & Rock'n Roll
Chapter 11 of Part 1 - My Story
I don’t know exactly when my sister’s marriage fell apart, but it did. Apparently, they had a huge fight. Ultimately, she walked out, left her kids with him, and moved in with some guy she met who knows where. When her husband found out that she was living with someone, he told her that he would tell everyone that she was a drunk, unfit to be a mother, and that he was keeping the house and the kids. She would get nothing.
Leanne was never good at figuring her way out of anything. She always had someone who would do the figuring for her. One of her friends followed her husband one afternoon and photographed him going into a downtown hotel with a short woman with blond hair. Now she had a plan. She would fight his adultery accusations with her own.
Leanne needed legal help and money. None of her friends had money to spare, so she had no choice but to ask dad for help. She knew she had to have a good story as to why she was leaving him because help from dad came with a ton of judgment.
I don’t know why Leanne decided to tell dad the truth about her soon-to-be ex molesting me. She also told dad that her private investigator friend saw him going into a hotel with someone who was short with blonde hair and she wondered if it was me. In retrospect, I guess she needed someone to validate her adultery accusation, and who better than her sister?
I don’t think Leanne was prepared for dad’s reaction. He was furious. He confronted me right away and asked me if this was true. Had I been having sex with Leanne’s husband? Did I go to a hotel with him? What had I done to encourage him? What was I wearing when I was over there?
I could hardly believe my ears! What was I wearing? Are you fucking kidding me? “They were drunk all the time!” I said in my defense. “I told you over a year ago that I didn’t want to keep going over there to babysit, but you made me!”
I couldn’t believe that he was blaming me. I was stunned.
Dad told me he was disgusted with me and sent me to my room. I was grounded until he decided I wasn’t. Then he started in on my sister. How much was she drinking? Did she have a drinking problem? Why weren’t they trying to work this out for the sake of the kids? My sister was bawling and begging my dad for help. Eventually, he said he would help her get a lawyer, but she had better get a job because she would have to pay him back.
My sister never paid the money back to my dad. Not for the down payment on the house and not for the lawyer.
From that day forward, my dad never looked at me the same.
Both of my parents loved music. Dad had an extensive record collection and two record players. One was a big furniture model that sat under the window in our living room, and the other was a Hi-Fi stereo set up in our basement. The radio was always on in the car, and mom sang to us all the time.
We had a piano and organ in the house. Both mom and dad would occasionally sit down to play one of the instruments, even though neither of them had had any lessons.
I started playing piano when I was four. Mom taught me to play Puff The Magic Dragon, a couple of Beatles songs, and I Walk The Line by Johnny Cash.
Dad convinced the Arcade School of Music to take me on as a student when I was five. Most schools wouldn’t take on students that young back in those days, but my dad could be persuasive.
Mrs. Dwyer was a traditional piano teacher who didn’t appreciate my natural abilities. She wasn’t fond of me deviating from the music written on the page, and she didn’t like me adding notes or embellishing the song in any way. What bugged her the most was continuing to play while watching her write in my dictation book, so I did it on purpose. A lot!
I wanted to play like Elton John and Barry Manilow, not Bach, so I refused to continue lessons with her. Dad didn’t want me to waste my natural talent, so he signed me up at The Academy of Music, where both Leanne and Dusty took lessons. Leanne was enrolled in organ lessons, and Dusty was trying his best to play guitar.
The owner of the Academy was a well-known musician my dad knew from Regina Beach. At the Academy, using my ear was not only welcomed but encouraged, and I started advancing quite quickly. By high school, I was a pretty good keyboard player, and music was one of my sanctuaries.
The first rock concert I went to was Styx’s Paradise Theatre tour. I went with Glen, a grade twelve student I met at school. Glen and his best friend were not part of the ‘in’ crowd at school, and I think he saw how bullied I was and felt an affinity with me.
It took a lot to convince my dad to let me go to the concert, but eventually, he gave in. I’ve never forgotten that first concert. I can still recall Denis DeYoung dressed as a janitor, pushing a broom across the stage. Behind him was a backdrop of an old theatre. The lights dimmed, and the piano started…..
Tonight’s the night we’ll make history, honey you and I
Cause I’ll take any risk to tie back the hands of time
And stay with you here tonight
Right at the chorus, the backdrop rose to the ceiling, spotlights came on, the drums started, and Tommy hit a power chord on his guitar, and the whole band started singing
These are the best of times!
My heart was pounding in my chest. I was so excited! I sang along with every song I knew, and this was the best of times for me!
I liked going out with Glen. He treated me well, and I enjoyed driving around with him. Sometimes we would share a joint, smoke a little hash, and listen to music. Other times we met others at the A & W on North Albert street for coffee.
I don’t remember what happened or why I wasn’t allowed to see Glen anymore. Maybe I came home too high or stayed out past curfew. I don’t know, but it always felt like I wasn’t allowed to have fun.
PREDATOR VS PREY
When summer came, I went out to the beach with my grandma. I was thankful to spend the summer with my grandma and, most of all, to get away from dad.
I took a job at the arcade downtown. It was great! During the week, I spent a lot of time playing Spaced Invaders, Packman and Asteroid. On the weekends, I sold a ton of ice cream.
My friend Susan worked at Butler’s across the street from the arcade. Often our shifts ended around the same time, so we would walk home together. One night, it was close to midnight, and we were standing at the top of the hill talking about our day. Susan was standing with her legs at shoulder’s width apart when suddenly, a bat flew right between them and then between us! She yelled, and I pulled my jean jacket over my head because someone had told us that if a bat got caught in your hair, you had to shave your head. We both started running down the street toward home. See you tomorrow we said to one another.
One day, walking to work, I saw an unfamiliar truck at Papa’s. I don’t know how I knew, but I knew Bob was back. I wondered if he remembered me and if he was still that creepy guy jerking off behind the door.
It turns out he still was that creepy guy. Papa thought it was funny when he told me that Bob asked about me the first day he arrived. He had asked Papa to ask me if I would go for a drive with him. I didn’t think it was funny. I knew that he was no different than the men who had already helped themselves to me. But in my youthful arrogance, I thought I could take care of myself, so I told Papa to tell Bob that I would see him.
Susan didn’t think that was a good idea, and she warned me not to get in a vehicle with him. “What if he drives out to Kinookimaw and leaves you there?” she said. “Don’t worry! I can take care of myself,” I told her.
The next afternoon, I was to meet Bob at the Post Office. I walked down to the Post Office and waited outside for him. He drove up in a little truck, and I got in. Bob lived in Atlanta and spoke with a drawl. His voice was deep, his speech slow. I don’t know how old he was, but he had to be at least forty. I was fifteen.
Sure enough, he drove out to the reserve. He kept driving until he found a flat spot on a hill that overlooked the valley and the lake. He parked, lit a joint, took a hit, and passed it over to me. I only took one hit because I didn’t want to be blasted and not able to control the situation. It didn’t occur to me that I was never in control of this particular situation.
We chatted for a little while. He asked me about school and my friends, and he told me about his boat in Atlanta.
Predators know who is vulnerable and who isn’t. At the time, I certainly had no idea that everything about me screamed, ‘pick me! I want more than anything to be accepted and loved.’ I thought I was tough. I thought I was aware. I thought I knew way more than I did.
He leaned over and kissed me. I could sense his hunger, and I knew I was in trouble and way out of my league. What was I going to do? Screw him here in the truck?
I don’t know why, but something stopped him. He gazed into my eyes for a minute or so, then he leaned back over into the driver’s seat, started the engine, and drove back into town. He let me out on main street, not too far from the Post Office, where he picked me up. I was so relieved! I walked home and called Susan to let her know I was ok.
Susan and I had made quite a lot of money working that summer, so when we heard April Wine was playing at the stadium, we got tickets. Susan’s mom drove us to Regina for the concert. As we drove into town, we saw a small fair set up in the parking lot at Northgate Mall, so we stopped and went on a few rides. We were having a blast going on all the rides until my stomach decided it had had enough turning and twisting, and I puked! Luckily, I didn’t get it all over me, so I was still good to go to the concert!
This time, there wasn’t assigned seating. Susan and I stood in front of the massive PA system at the side of the stage. We ran into a few people we knew and shared a joint. We were high for the entire concert. The music was loud, and we could barely hear anything when it was over. Our ears were ringing, and I’m pretty sure my body vibrated for at least a half-hour afterward. Between the drugs, the excitement, and the volume of the crowd and music, it was quite a night!
We called her mom from the payphone in the lobby, and she came to pick us up. Susan and I tried to look and behave as straight as possible for the half-hour ride back to the beach, but her mom knew we were high. That night, Susan’s mom decided I was a bad example for Susan. She didn’t want us to hang out anymore. Years later, Susan’s mom learned the truth.
Susan left home and became heavily involved with people who did a lot of drugs. She became an addict and didn’t have much to do with her family for quite some time. We lost track of one another for many years. Mom told me that Susan’s mom had run into her and dad downtown at the beach one day and confessed that she was sorry for accusing me of being a bad example. I never said a word when mom told me. I was used to people blaming me for all kinds of things that I didn’t do.
I quit working at the arcade and spent the last few weeks of summer wandering around the beach. I loved walking around. I felt free.
Barry’s family came out for a week. I hadn’t seen him since he visited me in the hospital, and I was lonely because I couldn’t hang out with Susan.
Barry and I walked down to the main beach and sat on the grassy hill overlooking the lake. He was a typical ‘bad boy,’ and I liked him. At the time, I didn’t know or understand that Barry lived in an alcoholic home. His dad was an addict and an abuser who often hit Barry’s mom, so, to Barry, that was how you dealt with non-compliance.
I don’t remember what I said or did to set him off while we were walking home, but he became angry with me and shoved me to the ground. I fell hard on the gravel road and was temporarily stunned. He was laughing at me, and that set me off. I got up, marched over to him, and punched him square in the face! His nose started bleeding a lot; it might have been broken.
“Who the fuck do you think you are?” I screamed at him. He didn’t answer me. He took off his shirt to use to stop his nose from bleeding, stared at me for a moment, then walked away. Barry wasn’t expecting me to fight back, and that prevented him from further aggressive action.
I stood there for quite a while, thinking about what had happened before I started walking home. I wondered if I would get into trouble for punching Barry in the face. I didn’t care. I had had enough of bullies, and I was more than willing to face the consequences of my actions. As it turns out, he made up some story about getting into a fight with a boy downtown, so no one knew I caused his nosebleed.