Back in the sixties, in cases of separation, custody was given to the mother. That continues to a large extent today, from what I understand.
My father would have me every second weekend and would take me to do “guy” things at every opportunity.
Fishing, hunting, orienteering, woodcraft, car, boat shows, and the like.
When I was around ten, if memory serves, I came back to my mother’s house on Sunday evening after a weekend with him.
Upon arrival, although dark out, it wasn’t my bedtime yet, so I asked my mom if I could outside play for a little while.
At that time, we’d moved into a lovely attached brownstone on Trans-Island Avenue, one block east of what would become the Decarie Expressway as it’s known today.
That evening I decided to try out a gift my father had given me with instructions not to tell my mother… a whole bag of 1 1/2” red firecrackers.
Now in my smallish mind, I considered a few options on how to set them off… in between two buildings, in a parking lot, even in a little forest a block away across from the renowned Saydie Bronfman Center, now called the Segal Center for Performing Arts.
But then it somehow struck me that it could be so much louder if I simply dropped a handful of strings of them into the grated sewer hole right in front of our house.
Worst idea ever.
The instant I threw them in while bending over the heavy iron grate, of course, the entire thing exploded, most likely igniting gas fumes, detonating like a bomb that shook the entire neighborhood with a thunderous roar, shooting up a blue flame from several sewer holes up and down the street.
Neighbors on the street rushed out onto their balconies and front yards to see what had happened, including my mother who, while screeching at the top of her lungs, raced out and swooped me up, my face blackened and hair singed off and still smoking, including my extremely long eyelashes which she prized.
So off we rushed to the St-Justine Children’s Hospital about 2 miles away where they checked me out and besides being somewhat in shock released me with no other injuries save for the hair BBQ.
Now current hate speech laws and general good taste prevent me from relating the details of the phone call from my mother to my father that evening upon our return from the hospital, and at that time in my life, I learned the most incredible swear words produced at a decibel level that I can still hear five decades later.
Excerpt from my upcoming e-book “Recollections from my time on earth”- Snackable short stories.
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