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Saturday, September 10, 2016

boyhood sketch 13. SUNBURNED AND STRAPPED

Disciplinary strap 1950, Canadian Museum of Civilization
I cannot remember her name now but she and I liked each other when we were in grade six. Near the end of the school term we went on a class beach trip to Niagara on the Lake, where I basked in the sun beside her for far too many hours. Fair skinned, I was sunburned so severely that I was required to stay home from school for almost two weeks. It was this same girl that I could not discourage later on and she became a nuisance, always wanting to hang with me. I solved that one day by throwing a stone at her, intending for the stone to drop near her. I hit her in the ankle but stupidly I did it on school property. She reported me. The result was three swipes with the leather strap on each hand palm, executed by the powerful Mr. Petkau who stood well over six feet in height. At this punishment I cried, a lot. My hands became so swollen I could grip nothing and in fact I could roll my newspapers or deliver my newspapers for three days. Dad and Mom knew what had happened. It may have upset them but this was a time when authorities, even teachers were not questioned, particularly by ordinary folk. As a much older well-adjusted man, I have met and spoken with Henry Petkau and told him of that memory.

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