Welcome to 1969, ladies and gentlemen.
I turned 5 in 1969. That September, I began school. I actually remember my first day of school. There were 2 grade primary classes. One of them was taught by a younger teacher. The other, by this old hag who yelled at kids all day long. She would not let students used purple crayons or coloured pencils or anything purple of any kind. God forbid they should wear any purple-coloured clothing. I ended up with the younger teacher, thank goodness. Her name was.. Miss Ingles?
I met some people that year when I was 5 whom I still see around from time to time.
I remember taking an art class, during which a girl in the class, Monica Brewer, accidentally spilled paint all over herself. I don’t think that family had much money, and her outfit had been new, so this likely had an effect on them all. Yes, there are people who are that poor that the loss of one blouse can have an effect on the family finances.
My brother’s health continued to decline. I am pretty sure it was 1969 when he had his right leg amputated above the knee. He had been working on a farm beforehand. After the surgery, the owner of the farm called the house and urged my brother to report to work. My brother demurred. Finally convinced to go to the farm, he was moved, we were all moved, when he discovered that the man had reversed the pedals on the tractor such that my brother could operate the tractor with his left foot. If I recall correctly, Dad also reversed the pedals in the car my brother drove so that he could operate that with his left foot, too.
My brother had a girlfriend, or at least a girl he hung out with. I remember he was out riding his bicycle with her one evening when he had an accident (the chain fell off, his prosthetic leg wasn’t up to the task, whatever) and they had to return to the house sooner than expected.
Later in the year, Dad came home and beckoned us all outside. We did, and learned that he had gone out and bought us a snowmobile, a “ski-doo” as we called it, even if it wasn’t that brand name.
I am pretty sure it was 1969 when I got pretty sick, myself. I had pneumonia with the measles, at the same time. This was back in the day when doctors still made house calls. The doctor came to the house, stuck a needle containing penicillin or something in my ass (while the entire family watched), and went on his merry way. I got better. Thank you for your concern.
1969 drew to a close. We would have had a decent Christmas in that small house. It would prove to be the last Christmas for a member of the family. How we coped with that loss, and its terrible aftermath, and with my own health scare, will form the core of the next post, in which I discuss the events of 1970.
See you tomorrow.