The title of this post says it all and Mark Twain; AKA Samuel Clemons inspired me with The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and The Adventures of Huck Finn at the time I was maybe 7 or 8 yrs old. I believe that some of my schenanigans and pranks were learned from these books. Too bad I didn't pay more attention in my schools years; maybe I would have become more than a Jack-Of-Trades.
This prelude will give you an overview of my early child hood years; and maybe all the way to my present age of 62. I will do my best not to bore you and hopefully this will be entertaining as well.
I was born in the hospital in the Champlain Valley of New York State surrounded by the Adirondack mountains to the South and West. We lived outside the city limits of Plattsburgh near a community called Morrisonville. My parents had bought some six acres of land in the 1930's and built a small building which would serve as shelter while working on the three bedroom one story, with an attic which would become two bedrooms as the family became larger. These were the Great Depression years which made it hard to acquire any financing for such an endeavor.
In 1933 my first brother Harry was born; then a sister; Marjorie in Jan. 1935; James in April 1940; Lyle in Dec. 1942; John (Jack) in Sept. 1944 and finally the runt; July 1951! I was the youngest and believed to be the most spoiled and picked on. When I was born my Mother said; "What a treasure" Dad said; "Yes; Let's taske and bury it!". This is just some of the cruel stuff my brothers mouthed to me!
My Mom worked for the local vegetable farm and orchard after I was born; my sister took over the rearing of me. The women knew all the "Fun Stuff" back when, no man was going to get into those chores!
I really don't remember my early years too much until about the time I was five. I remember waking up one night; believing that a mountain lion bit my big toe. I came down stairs crying and was afraid to go back to bed. Come to find out it was our family house cat that did it! LOL! Later on my wife seen me wiggle my toes while I was sleeping. Another time; we went on a ferry boat across Lake Champlain; I seen some pigeons and ran trying to catch one and stumbled and skinned my chin and hands.
I started Kindergarten when I was six in September of 1957 in the town of Cadyville which was about 7 miles west of the homestead. The teachers name was Mrs. Avril; this was glorified baby-sitting and if you were bad she would paddle you as my brothers warned me. I can't recall being paddled; but I do know it seemed we had a lot of nap time. Guess she didn't like us making messes with water paints and clay.
A new parochial school was being built and I was transferred to it starting the next school year. It was ran by the local Catholic church's nuns. The boys used to secretly call them "penguins"; pertaining to the garbs they wore. I was made to wear black shoes; except for gym or recess; we also had white shirts and blue pants and suit jackets with a little blue bow tie. You can just imagine how I felt about this and my brothere rubbed it in until I was in tears. Begged my parents to go back to Cadyville; but they would have no part of it. I really thought I was a bad kid as the Sunday Pastor and the nuns said; "You are going to Hell; if you don't tow the line!"
I had my first squabbles there and in the 2nd or third grade this nun decided she didn't like it cause I wrote upside-down and left handed (southpaw). She kept putting my pencil in the right hand and soon as she turned her back I would put it back to my left. She then would smack me on the back of my hand, and belittle me saying out loud she could not read my writing in front of the class. I felt like a jerk!
By the time I reached the sixth yr. and was held back I believed I was a real bad kid as one day I was up at the blackboard and told to work out a math problem. I was having trouble and told the teacher (NUN) that I couldn't do it. She grabbed my left hand holding the chalk; put it in my right hand and sternly said you will stand here in front of the class until you solve the problem. Told her I can not do it; She grabbed my left hand and slammed my fingers into the board head on. I must have blacked out. The next I knew she was lying on the floor. The students clapped thier hands! I was expelled and put back to Cadyville grade school; and thought I should have acted up sooner. Really; I felt terrible that this happened and my parents were not to pleased either! My fingers on my right hand were bruised black and purple and the nails had white spots. I believe this is why I was only grounded for two weeks; come home and do homework, no watching TV, no outside activities and to bed early.
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