Friday, January 4, 2019
2 years old : Love and Shit
I don’t remember being two. It’s surprising when one considers all that happens in that year. My earliest memory is of my Mother, my aunt and my Grandma in my Grandmother’s kitchen in Toronto. She was smiling big time and laughing as were my mom and her sister. My father was holding me. My brother was standing on the big black and white tile floor. There’d be later memories of dinner at the long dining room table with my grandfather. . Friends of my grandfather’s would be there and friends from the Baptist Church. The family from the United States came up one year. They were ‘well to do’ as my mother said.
My aunt had been the executive assistant to the Canadian ambassador in Washington during WWII. She’d become close to the American’s in the family as a result. She once told me of her years in Washington, wanting me to know about war. ‘It was a big party, Billy, the grandest party you could ever imagine. Important meetings all day and dinner and dancing all night. We’d feel sorry for the men who came back from the war. We could tell they had a difficult time but in Washington it was just a series of parties and a whole lot of money. I had a grand red coat and noticed that when I cam back to Toronto. I was standing on Youge looking up and down the street. As far as the eye could see I was the only bit of colour. Everywhere there was austerity. But not in Washington. I just thought you should know. When you talk of war and peace. I thought you should know about the parties. ‘. .
I think I was 2 when I remember being held by my father as we’d be coming and going through Grandma’s kitchen. We always had dinner as a family back in those early years in Toronto. The three years old and after memories begin to gel fairly solid but that time before two I’m not so sure.
I knew a man who remembered being in the womb, blue light and steady beat of a drum. I used to do past life regressions with hypnosis with people I was working with in hypnosis but this time I’d just asked the fellow to go back to when he remembered being happy. He was sitting their in my office with a little smile mouthing a bit like a fish so I told him, ‘You can still speak and answer my questions whatever age you are.’ He didn’t know where he was but he was happy and he’d not been able to recall ever being happy in his life. But here he was happy. He described floating in dark blue surroundings and what was the comforting sound of his mothers’ heart. He was one of the saddest most depressed patients I’d ever treated despite his having gone on to achieve success at university and later in work in finance. He’d never married and never had children and lived pretty much alone following a rather onerous routine with no cheer. We’d build on his womb experience in the months that followed awakening his positive feelings. I don’t know if ever achieved joy but he did find a modicum of happiness.
Most people’s memory kicks in around 3 though a lot with trauma in the early years blot out their whole life of the time. Walking off the good and bad. Mentally doing what the body does faced with tuberculosis, walling off both healthy and sick parts of the lung to stop the spread of disease. Walling off that trauma and past at what cost. The best of therapy is regaining the positive that was lost, exploring the good tissue, once the disease is identified. I was easy for me to do therapy having begun in surgery. So much is similar. But I didn’t like that counselors with too little training focused in some kind of vicarious delight on the sick and dirty parts rather than moving beyond these to celebrate the healing, the scarring and the life that no longer needs to be forgotten but can be reclaimed.
My own first trauma was the stray dog that bit me under the street lamp in front of our house. . I was drawn to the little grey terrier because he was shaking and cold. Being a kid I didn’t realize it was summer and hot out and the dog shouldn’t have been sweating and shaking. I always loved animals especially dogs. But this one was too afraid even for a little boy of three to approach him. He bit me and ran away. To this day I figure he was telling me to stay away because he couldn’t control himself like a were wolf going into a change or a human losing the last vestige of humanity as the zombie takes over in the horror movie. My parents were really scared. I was crying and bleeding but it wasn’t that bad a bite. Punctures. They were scared though and I remember Dad speeding on the way to the hospital, every one serious. I didn’t know about rabies. I was treated for that all summer. Because I’d told them about animal being cold and sick and hot and shaking, a stray that no one could find, I had to be treated. Who knows if I did get rabies. It might explain things. Especially to the later ex wives. It was summer then and the moonlight and scent of flowers was something I remember. Also the hospital smells and the nurses and doctors in white. My parents anxious that summer. Everyone told me to never approach strays again. Not only would I approach them I’d make a career out of helping them. Not dogs but humans. Though I treated my share of animals when I was a fly in doctor in Northern Canada, the bush planes and helicopters the taxi service that took me in and out of remote reserves.
Two is an incredible time of walking and exploring and talking and opposition. They used to think that kids who didn’t toilet train according to the clock were obstinate. They’d punish them. There was discipline and regimen in those days. The military had won the war so all things military were admired. I don’t even remember diapers. I don’t think I missed the magic time a kid should stop shitting where I shouldn’t. Years later I’d piss in potted plants. That’s what happens when you drink too much and there’s a line up at the washrooms in the parties of fancy millionaires and such. Now I’m worried about descending to Depends stage. Sometimes I dream I’ve shit myself or pissed myself but it’s just a message to get out of the bed and use the toilet. It’s still a harbinger of times to come. As a kid though I was probably okay. It no doubt contributed to my confidence . I was said by all accounts to be a protege or sorts. So I can only extrapolate and guess I did well on the big shitting and pissing test that back then no doubt separated the winners and the losers. . Maybe I was out of diapers early. I simply don’t know. I don’t remember and everyone I could ask about this is dead. Worse I doubt they considered it important even at the time. I know parents fuss about it but later it’s not all that memorable. Like trauma that whole stinky diaper period is walled off. Not surprisingly kangaroos and other marsupials, are thought by some, especially males, to be an advanced species.
I carried the oppositional streak throughout my life. I said no to all manner of things others just kowtowed too. I wondered if they were beaten into submission as children. Maybe failed the shit piss stage so gave up on rebellion early. I wasn’t anything but loved and cared for as a kid.. My mother was an incredibly happy red haired Irish beauty whose children, family and husband were the centre of her life. My father’s father was a rancher and dad loved animals. To him I was a special hairless kinds that tugged at his heart strings and caused him no end of concern.
My aunt always said I was such a lovely baby and little boy.. This was in contrast to what I’d later become. My brother was always there. Four years older he was my hero. He did the most unusual things which to him were no big deal but to me were quite genius. Like doing up the buttons on my shirt for me or tying my shoe laces. He cared for me when I was small. There are pictures that tell this truth of the family love but I remember the warm feeling of family then. I remember loving hanging out with him, hugging my dad’s leg and curling up against my mother’s bozom holding her with arms hat didn’t even reach around to the back. I love the scent of my mother. Lilac and lavender.
I just don’t remember much about two.. MCMLIII was a non descript year for me probably because I was caught up in really important matters like speech and locomotion and shitting on a toilet.
It’s important now for me that Samual Beckett’s play, ‘Waiting for Godot’ premiered in Paris that year.
I’d had a recurrent dream that I was a bit of light in a translucent bright bubbles flying through the galaxy , stars all around me, with other light filled bright bubbles accompanying me, when all of a sudden, a cataclysmic event of some kind, knocked me off this happy exciting tranjectory and took me down through earth’s atmosphere to earth. All my own kind, carried on, on to a further destination, another planet perhaps, where I was supposed to go with them but I ended up alone on this earth. I didn’t feel I’d landed on the right planet at the right time. The people here were nice and loving but they were not my kind and my being here was a product of a huge mistake. I wondered when or if I’d ever be re united with my own kind.
A theologian came to teach at Regent College UBC. He was giving a free lecture at the ‘Under the Green Room’ series. He told a story about his second child being born when his first was only two. The two year old asked if he could be alone with the baby. He was insisting he needed to be alone with the baby without anyone else being there. Having had their share of psychology and sibling rivalry tales and never seeing the two year old so agitated. they decided to allow this to happen only while they stayed right outside the door having put a camera in the crib.
The two year old then walked unsteadily up the his brother and said quietly, ‘Do you remember Him? I’m forgetting what He was like. »
The baby burbled some while the 2 year old went on,, ‘I used to see his face and hear his voice but it’s going. Please tell me what’s He’s like again. I’m afraid I’m going to forget Him.’
There was no more except the parents had this tape and the profound sense the child was speaking about God.
It’s would be a few years later I’d dreame of a shining mother and father god comforting me in my bed, their faces hovering over my bed and speaking softly to me about my being on earth. It was a place to be and a time to spend but it was clear from what they were saying this was just a temporary place. Like the child’s place before and the world we were going to. Here we were just passing through.
Waiting for Godot really. When I studied that play at University of Winnipeg in my first year of English studies I was immensely moved by it. We acted a bit of it and later I’d be blessed to see a live performance in England. The existentialism of the war years. Long before my birth. I was a post war baby. My father had been in the Air Force. He married my mother wearing his blue RCAF uniform. My mother kept the jacket folded in the bureau.He wore it on very special occasions like Remembrance Day. He never gained weight like I did. He was as slim and fit in his 90’s as he’d been when he first wore that blue RCAF jacket and went to war.
1953 was also the year that the CIA sponsored Robertson Panel first met to discuss the UFO phenomena. Naturally that seems significant to me knowing what I know. James Watson and Francis Crick announced their discovery of the structure of the DNA. Something I’d study some 20 years later in depth. I’d love the movie Gattaca. I ‘d study the history of Canadian women doctors research in eugenics later taken forward by the Nazis’s for their Final Solution. At the age of 2 knew no more of the double helix than I did of Stalin who had a stroke that year. Without his doing so we’d never have had the great 2017 movie comedy, Death of Stalin.
Dag Hammasrskjold and Nikita Khrushchev would come into prominence that year and both of them would be significant to me in later years. I’d hear of the Mau Mau in later years but not really know they were a genocidal tribe in Kenya. I’d mix them up with a wrap around skirt from somewhere else in the world.
More important to me personally was Ian Fleming publishing Casino Royale, the first 007 James Bond book. I read all his books and saw all the movies several times over, starting in my teen years after the Hardy Boy years. I still love Bond. My friend and I look back on our lives and wonder if we haven’t simply tried to emulate this fictional character. The drinking, the fast sexy women, the PPK, guns, fast cars, fast boats, scuba diving, skiing. The movies were an advertisement for a kind of sophisticated masculinity that we fell hook line and sinker for. We’d read the books as they came out and watched all the movies over and over again, bemoaning only that we didn’t have a’ license to kill’. Thanks to Ian Fleming I learned at an early age the difference between freedom and license. I’ve always had the freedom to kill. All I lacked was the license.
Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norqay became the first men to reach the summit of Mount Everest. If I’d been more than two at the time this would have impressed me. At two I was scaling my own Everests climbing up anything and everything that took my fancy. Mount Everest now is regular freeway to the top with tourists companies vying for the business. That didn’t matter. When I met a doctor at a wilderness medicine conference I was attending I was thoroughly impressed that he’d climbed Mount Everest. I learned a lot from our casual conversations and have quoted him for years. A gorgeous girlfriend of mine had been the doctor to the base camp of Mount Everest. I loved that my doctor friends from Winnipeg liked to hike in Nepal and Tibet taking their little children hiking at the base of these peaks. It didn’t surprise to learn later of the the daughters outstanding athletic and academic achievements.
At two, I simply wouldn’t have known that Queen Elizabeth II had her coronation in Westminster Abbey in 1953. I’m sure my mother’s would have mentioned it because in Canada’s the Royals , as they were called, were given a lot of attention. The Beatles themselves would even write a short song in Queen Elizabeth’s honor, ‘Our Queen is a very nice queen, though she hasn’t got a lot to say’ Coronation news is not something that comes up when one is focused on toilet training and climbing out of cribs. Apparently I was a daring escape artist at that age. There was considerable doubt that I would survive those years as I was forever climbing and falling down and climbing back up again. Definitely I was focussed on intensive training for later life.
Marilyn Monroe and Jane Russel starred in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes that year. The Korean War ended. The Rosenburgs were executed at Sing Sing and USSR got its first Hydrogen Bomb. The Korean War ended. Kinsey published the second of the Kinsey Reports, Sexual Behaviour in the Human Female. This continues to disturb men especially in Africa and the Middle East till today.
John F. Kennedy married Jacki O. in Newport. REM and RAM were in the news. MACH II was reached by a manned aircraft. The name MACH II, is used today for a penile balloon type prosthesis implant, presumably for marketting reasons. Hugh Hefner published the first issue of Playboy with Marilyn Monroe as the centrefold nude. Hank Williams dies.
The trouble is I don’t remember any of this. . A whole lot was going on but I was not atypically satisfied to play in the bathroom, walk, run and fall, climb things and learn to speak so I could swear, something it was noted and brought to my attention I did at a very young age. My fondest memory still remains my family in my Grandmother’s kitchen with the black and white tiled floors.