FANNY BE TENDER
Believe it or not my parents moved back to their small, hometown of FANNYSTELLE because they felt that I was too painfully shy to go to a big public school in Winnipeg.
So instead of a regular secular start to my educational life I was marched off to a rural institution run by French Catholic Nuns..
which would have been a fine idea except for the fact that I was an agorophobic Anglo Lutheran.
Oh well, there was one other Protestant kid in the school and much to the Pope's chagrin, we were somehow allowed to read Comic Books during Catechism and Bible History.
My Grandfather, my Dad's Dad, lived next door to the Catholic Church which was the epicentre in town.
He had moved to Canada from Belgium, was finished farming and became the school janitor and bus driver, he also rang the church bells to call the town to Mass and more importantly he was a drinking buddy of the Priest who was always over at his house playing cards. So despite my outsider status I was connected.
Later on in life I escorted my Grandfather to the convent to watch him serve liquor and tell jokes to the Nuns during the holidays. Those gals knew how to party.
Now I look back and realise that the Nuns were terrifying figures that all looked like Darth Vader gliding down the halls with their black flowing capes and sharpened pointers ready to smack any little troublemaker.
My family lived in the train station which was cool because there was a huge, empty, waiting room that became my playroom. There weren't any passengers on that line and the house only really rattled in the fall when the monolithic Grain Elevators that towered behind our house emptied the tons of freshly harvested wheat into the trains and off to market.
I still remember lip syching to the Beatles and playing air guitar while I was perched on the ticket counter which became my stage. Good Times.
The other day I found my report card from the Second Grade.
On the cover it proudly proclaims For God and Country.
My goodladywife is a Grade Two Teacher and she laughed at the formulaic or should I say archaic presentation.
Now I did well in Conduct, Application and Politeness.
This can probably be attributed to the fact that I was too timid to attend a 'regular' school in the city but also because I was scared sh*tless of getting whacked over the knuckles like all of the other kids.
You will notice that little was recorded about my regularity..I would have never told them how often I went to thebathroom anyway.
Which reminds me of one of the most embarrassing moments in my life. Afraid of disturbing Sister St. Anaclet about my painfully expanded bladder I reluctantly voided it's contents down my leg during class. I remember that my pants sloshed and my runners squeaked as I made my way past the snickering students, out of the school and off to the train station to tell my Mom that I peed my pants.... sigh.
Anyway by the fourth grade my parents decided to toughen me up for the real world so back to the big city we went. I remember my first day back in regular school...the boys teased the hell out of me because they heard me crying in the hall. I was such a wuss.
My parents were right. This experience fortified my character. It was then and there that I decided that I would get back at those bastards by charming and stealing their little girlfriends, becoming the class clown, and by making allies out of the bullys by making them laugh...and giving them my lunch.
I have since shed my shyness and performed on stage in plays singing and dancing my way into the hearts and minds of hundreds along the way. I have also played the drums in bands, auditioned and appeared in TV Commercials and jostled and schmoozed my way through other extroverts to position myself in the forefront of other 'extras' in a Movie with Ann Margaret.
For better or worse I am no longer the quiet kid in the corner peeing his pants. Thanks to the 'tough love' from Mom and Dad. Ha!