Early teens. My heart’s desire was to have this pair of “genuine” Beatle boots I saw in a display window. I worked part time in a sweatshop, making bagels, for weeks. Salted away the money, all $100. Never said anything. Parents thought I was gonna be an upstanding guy, banking his money for a rainy day. Hopped on a bus one day to the city, came back with my prize. Rolled up my Carhaart jeans so everyone could get a load of the twelve inch boots. Disappointed parents, and peculiar looks from the populace. Two friends thought it was cool. They asked their folks, and were cuffed upside of the head, I think.
Mid teens. Developed a keen interest in astronomy, abetted by older brother who worked for an aircraft company. Heard about an observatory located far away in the countryside. Decided I had to go there. (We were left to our own devices quite a bit). Got a back pack all ready. Food & water….check. Map…..check. Suntan lotion….check.
Wicked hunting knife….check. Got the address from the good old white pages, and penciled an approximate location on the map. Off I went, oblivious to the distance or how I was going to find the place if I ever got there. Probably
biked bicycled fifteen miles in the sun before I realized I still had to get back home, and also that I was a bit lost. Never made it. Eventually got a ride most of the way back in a pickup truck. To this date, have never been to an observatory.
Got an itch for Jane Fonda. Thought she was the most beautiful creature I had ever seen. When her movie Barbarella came out, I could not believe my good fortune. It turned out that it took a total of six buses for me to make the round trip, alone, and also required walking through about 500 yards of snowdrifts to get to the theatre. I did it twice. Boy, you are nuts, buddy.
Late teens. Went to see 2001: A Space Odyssey thirteen times, sometimes with two other people in the whole theatre. Fewer buses, though. Reference my interest in astronomy.
Wanted to look like a Beatle, I think, and so I paid twenty bucks to have my naturally curly shoulder length hair straightened.
Early twenties. Got my first new car. A 1973 Buick Century. Ordered specially with burgundy paint and a white (yes, white) interior. Kept phoning the dealer to see if it had been shipped yet. Actually biked up to the shipping yard to see if I could spot it.
Finally, the day came, and I had nowhere to go. I was so goddamned excited, but I had nowhere to go. Woke up at 3am one morning, drove it 200 miles out the highway, bought a coke, and came back.
Got an invite to a friend’s cottage out on Rice Lake. In the middle of the night, I decided to go. It was about a hundred mile trip, in the winter, with the promise of an all night party. I had driven three quarters of the way, when I stopped for a pee. Left the motor running because it was freezing cold. Locked myself out. I was nearly on the point of smashing a window with a rock, when a Police cruiser pulled up behind me. They had a laugh when they found out my predicament. Took me to their station, and we came back with a lock picker. Finally got to the town, called Gore’s Landing. Again, a little uncertain as to the road signs. Came to a stop sign at the top of a hill. It was snowing and blowing. I proceeded to drive down the hill, then got stuck in a deep snowdrift on the flat. I got out to fetch my shovel when I began to hear cracking noises. I had driven onto the lake. Ever see someone shoveling like a mad sonofabitch? I did get some help from a gas station guy, eventually got back onto the road, and drove to the area where the cottage was supposed to be. Either they had given me the wrong number, or I had written it down wrong. It was about 2 am by this time, everything was covered with snow, and I was not about to go banging on doors to find out which was the correct one.
After all of these escapades, I believe I finally started to buckle down and become serious about life. Serious must be a drag, because I’m sitting here tapping away at 67, and looking back on these times as the halcyon days of my life.
Lee Dunn has been writing since the age of 18, but found that work got in the way for the ensuing 48 years. In his home town of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, he reveled in his independence at an early age, and spent as much time as he could exploring the city’s Arts scene. He was introduced to poetry and prose by the works of two literary giants, namely J.R.R. Tolkien and J.W. Lennon and thence fell in love with the written word. His work includes poetry, short fiction, and personal essays, and ranges in theme from the surreal to the horrific, nostalgic, and themes on the human condition. He has been published on Spillwords.com, The Dark Poets Club, Journal of Undiscovered Poets, Crepe & Penn Literary magazine, and the Shelburne Free Press.