I am still trying to ensure that the majority of what I'm putting in these first posts occurred before my first days of school, so while this post may also be a bit disjointed, I assure you that once I get into my years at Dorset Park things will settle down considerably.
I vaguely remember having kids around when I was very young, aged less than five, but I have no idea who they were or what happened to them. I might be making this up, but I also seem to remember that there was one year when a lot of younger families moved away from the neighbourhood. Probably word of my mother being there got out somehow. Anyway, I do know that somewhere discussion began amongst us kids about derogatory slang used for different races, specifically what is commonly known as the 'N' word. My mother heard me say that once, and then there was a whole discussion about why it was wrong, etc., but while it ensured I would never use it in the context of negativity, I also hadn't done so when she heard me say it, yet she acted as though I had used it as an insult directly at someone. Just another example of her doing things without any clue as to the truth. Julia was still around when this happened, I'm certain, and I think she was in on the discussion with the four or five of us talking about words.
I remember going on a train trip once when I was fairly young. A big train, down at Union Station, not like a GO train, though I had a fondness for them as well. I think that now, if I could do any job, it would be as a conductor of a train. When returning back to where we boarded the train (could be Union, could be virtually anywhere else) I saw a short person, and couldn't stop staring, intrigued by the ambiguity of him. My mother got all embarrassed and tried to apologise, but he understood that it was curiosity and not malice that provoked my interest. Already, a pattern involving my mother is emerging.
My mother did have a lighter side as well. It most came through with two characters she 'created' and had me talking to when really young, something I actually plan to do when I have kids though not for the same reasons. One of the characters was 'moon,' and happened when the moon was full. She'd say "Look at that," and point out the window of the car (for some reason, this always happened in the car), and I'd see the moon...and then she'd do a voice for the moon and start talking to me. We had long conversations, depending on where we were going, and I used the moon as a confidante. I'd tell the moon things that I wouldn't tell my parents. For example, while I'm not sure of anything I did that was in this vein, my mother told me I'd confess to doing something bad to the moon when I wouldn't tell her a thing. Same goes for the other character she had me talking to, 'reflection.' You can probably see where this came from, with her compact mirror. Just as with moon, I'd tell reflection anything, even though my mother was obviously in the same room when I was speaking. Don't know where my mind was, just saying stuff even though she was right there.
All kids have a cruel streak. Mine came out as jabbing people with needles. One day, about to take my Grandma out for some trip, I was jabbing her with one, and she wouldn't say more than it hurt and I should stop. Well, my mother stopped it - she took the pin from me and jabbed it into my leg, just as I was doing to my grandmother. Boy, did I cry. I don't blame her for doing what she did, but I do question the way she did it. I'm certain that my understanding of the pain I was causing could not have been described to me without feeling it for myself, but I feel the abruptness of the act, as a form of retribution, was a poor choice of how to handle it. I've given it a thought over long years, and while the actual pin in the leg I feel was fairly required, a discussion of what was going to happen, why it was happening, and extending the knowledge of that pain to include hurting anyone ever might have been a better way to go about things. Either way, except for one other pin incident years later, I never did that again.
Other than the cottage, we also have Super-8 film of a Christmas from 1977 and a visit to Santa's Village in Bracebridge from around the same time. I don't remember the Village visit from more than the movies, but I do remember being blinded by the light from that damn camera on that Christmas morning. If I'm not mistaken, that was the same Christmas I got my first bicycle, with training wheels. It was years before I learned to ride a bike without them, but that's a story for another day. I think, though I could be wrong, that the same Christmas I got the game "Mouse Trap." That game, along with a Haunted Mansion game from Disney that can only be found rarely on eBay, was my favourite board game I ever owned as a child. I'd get my father up really early when he was home from the fire department to play board games. We'd play those two, and "Pay Day" and "Snakes And Ladders." I'd play with him for hours. Later on, I'd have one of the "Star Wars" board games, and we'd play that a lot too.
Unfortunately, I can't say there are many more memories I can include in the sections before going to school. So much of my past is shaded with a fourth person living at my home that it is now hard for me to separate the time before he was there and the time after he arrived, as this occurred when I was five or six, and my life slowly began a downward slope that technically still hasn't reached the bottom yet. All I can say for certain is that I was once a very happy person, and sadly I oftentimes feel that it all ended by the time I got to grade one.