EPISODE 120 VIOLENCE THEME: SOMEONE WANTED TO BEAT THE SHIT OUT OF ME. WHY? REMAINS A MYSTERY
VIOLENCE: CAN FRIENDS BECOME ENEMIES?
OUR Graduation class from Runnymede Public School in 1952. Wow, were the girls every pretty. I began to notice them
in Grade 6 which may have been a little early. See Joan McReynolds (third left). I liked her but never said so or even acted
interested. I am third right, back row. That’s our grade 8 teacher, Mr. Hambly, who invited us all to his home
on a beautiful June afternoon. Some of us felt a little guilty about firing paper caps into his prize wasp nest when his
back was turned. He was a very nice person. The big guy is Bill Mashtalar (story coming…close call violence years
My student ID card from 1954…it was three years earlier that the threats came. Why would anyone want to beat me up?
Should I go to WESTERN Tech or just pretend the threat never came?
My three years at Runnymede Public school were happy years. Grades 6,7 and 8. Non-violent years
for the trick jump into Roger Pughs back yard. But that only worked once. When we
did a vault over the board fence there was a drop of eight or nine feet that we could
not see. Nasty drop. Fun to persuade a novice to “:Follow us”.Good joke. Unprepared
follower went into a free fall with no parachute. We knew the trick and landed on our
feet. Potentially violent I suppose.
My first few months at Humberside Collegiate were not great. Culminated in
a potentially violent fight that I was destined to lose. Someone knew my locker
number. One day my text books were loaded with indelible ink obscenities like
“Fuck Off” “Asshole”, etc. I was devastated because I did not know I was hated
by someone until that moment. The only person knowing my combination lock number was one of my
good friends. We shared the locker. He was the only possible source. Why would he do that? Later that week
there was a scribbled note in my shared locker. “Come over to Western Tech
after school. Someone wants to fight you.” I know this note does not sound like
much of a threat but put yourself in the shoes of a non violent kid, in a brand new
school, suddenly confronting anonymous enemies that wanted to beat the shit out
of him for no discernible reason. I still do not know who hated me that much.
That’s a laugh. But it will affect your lungs…left unsaid.
It was possible the cigarette incident triggered the hatred. But that is a stretch.
The First week at Humberside I walked to school with Bill Rankin and Bob Taylor.
Friends. They stopped at the Ravine Gardens hockey rink to light up cigarettes
before school. “Try it, Alan…get some cigarettes” So I stole three Craven A
cigarettes from Fran’s pack at Hertell’s drug store where I was a clerk earning
35 cents an hour. Fran would not care but I did not want anyone to know i was
starting to smoke. So next day I lit up the Craven A with Bob and Bill. I remember
the moment so clearly. As I dragged the smoke in my lungs I thought, “What the
hell am I doing this for?” And I threw away the cigarette then gave my extra
stollen cigarettes to Bob and Bill. We did not share much after that. They both
left high school in Grade Ten. Our friendship evaporated with the smoke.
Maybe Bill resented me for some reason. He was also my locker partner.
Did I go over to Wetsern Tech to get the shit beaten out of me? Get serious.
I stayed put. Never found out who had been ticketed to beat the shit out
of me but suspected several erstwhile friends. Maybe not Bill as he said
he others knew our combination. Odd Comment though. There was no follow up to the threat.
And I began looking for new friends. Found them. Russ Vanstone,
Gord Sanford and Jim Romaniuk. Friends for life.