September 28, 2017

     

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We left Thompson in 1969. Father was done with mining. He decided to drive truck in Winnipeg. So we packed up our stuff and headed south. Our new home was on Bond street, in Transcona. An older two story house within walking distance of downtown. These were days of change for me. At nineteen it seemed time to think of moving out of the family. To begin discovering a life of my own. This began as I started making friends who knew a bit about what was going on. They introduced me to social life in downtown Winnipeg.

Two years later I rented my first apartment. Three of us shared the rent and the space. Two of us in bedrooms. The third in a large cardboard crate set up between the front room and the kitchen. The place became something of a party central. There was lots of drinking. Other substances were also circulated. Curiosity led me to try Mescaline. A psycho-active substance derived from the Peyote plant. A real eye-opener. Quickened my awareness by a substantial degree. Brought realizations of experience from beyond the received boundaries. There was more to life than met the eye. Much more.

During these early years of independence there was lots going on in the world. The shadow of possible nuclear war hung over us all. There was also the war in Vietnam. A strange conflict which seemed without sense from our young perspective. A perspective informed by the music we listened to. The songs expressing critical concern with a world turning in strange directions. Bob Dylan putting it into a nutshell: "The times they are a'changin'". The values of our parents were being deeply questioned. What was the point of a house in the suburbs? With television in the front room and a car in the driveway? We hungered for something more substantial. We were not sure what that was. It was to be created by our liberated imaginations expressed as creative enterprise.

With each passing year I grew more distant from home and family. My way of life was not in keeping with the expectations of mother and father. Though there is a clear sense in which father's example animated my press outside the accepted boundaries. Like him, I was putting my own interests and concerns well ahead of my care for others. This with a troubled conscience. Something deep in me was well aware of how my decisions and actions were perceived by mother. Her loving concern continued strong. My experience of it grew increasingly tenuous.