Sounds Good – Part 3
I never seemed to get into as much trouble with our folks as Michael did. Once, I thought I’d experiment with fire. I lit up the garbage cans which were kept at the side of the small apartment building where we lived. I think I had quite a good blaze going before the landlady called my mom, who promptly came downstairs to drag me away. Mom threatened to beat me within an inch of my life, but she spanked me once and then stopped. She said, “I think I’ve done myself an injury – wait until your father gets home." Well, later that evening, dad came home. He yelled at me, but I don’t remember him ever hitting me over that incident. In fact, I don’t ever recall my father ever hitting me.
I remember that Michael once ran away from home – he was about 17 at the time. I think dad had accused him of smoking marijuana and hanging out with a rough crowd of kids, and Michael felt that he had been unjustly accused and convicted… so he took off. Dad shuffled me into the car and we visited all his usual hangouts and the homes of his friends, but we didn’t find him. He called the next morning, much to the relief of my parents (although dad, to this day, would never admit it) saying that he had spent the night on Toronto Island and that he’d be home shortly – he just needed some time to himself to work things out. I never discovered whether dad’s accusations were true or not, but it certainly made me want to more carefully conceal my excursions into the world of drugs. Well, I make it sound like I was a dope addict and that just isn’t true. I smoked marijuana in my mid/late teens and I also experimented with Hashish and Hash Oil, but it never did a thing for me so I never pursued drugs as a recreational activity.
The summer after I finished grade 12, my family moved. At the time, if you moved beyond the defined municipal boundaries, you were compelled to transfer to a different school, and so I found myself at
I didn’t let my music studies slide at Newtonbrook, much as I didn’t care for the school. The music teacher there was a sweet old soul who had served for many years in the military before becoming a teacher. He was affectionately known as Captain Atkins. He walked with short, stiff steps as he shuffled along in his tan, Hush Puppy loafers. He introduced me to Beethoven’s 7th Symphony, which we studied in great depth, and which became a lifelong favorite. It was at Newtonbrook that I found myself playing french horn in the pit orchestra for the school musical “Guys and Dolls". In the orchestra was a pretty violin player named Caryl – she stole my heart.
I kept Caryl secret; my parents never knew about her - even to this day. I knew they would disapprove of me dating her considering the incident with Lily a couple of years earlier. Caryl also played violin in the Toronto Youth Orchestra, and I once went to see the TYO perform outside