Thursday, June 23, 2016

A walk down memory lane

"Excuse me, Is there a toilet on memory lane?  Where?"

I often sit at my desk looking at old snapshots.  Some of the pictures are very old.  They are brown and white.  Some of them feel like they are made of metal.  These photos may be around the beginning of the 20th century.

I have numerous photos of world war II vintage.  I have several pictures of my dad with Japanese POW's on Okinawa near the end of the war.

Some "recent" photos were taken in the post-war era.  The timeline runs from the late 40's right up to the digital age.  I have many photos of people and I don't know who most of them are.  I know that many of them would not be called handsome or pretty.  Some of them are downright ugly.  I hope they are not my relatives but they probably are.   Sadly I have no relatives left that could identify these strange looking people.  No one to say, " Oh, that is uncle Percy, the bootlegger.  He got shot up and killed while crossing the border from Canada in 1931."  It was rumored that I did have an uncle who did run alcohol across the border and got chased by the government men.  He broke his leg during the chase and I don't think they caught him.   I guess it would be alright to mention it now.  He died 35 years ago.

The funny thing about memories is that your mind plays tricks on you.  This phenomenon manifests its presence in the fact that I cannot remember using a toilet for any reason from 1951 to 1957.  I swear I may have gone days without even thinking about toilets.  I cannot recall one instant where our little league coach Herbie said to the boys before practice or a game, "Do any of you boys have to pee?  How about poop?  Anybody?"  
He was more the type that said, "I am a marine.  We do it in our pants.  Booyah!!…oops."

Nowadays I am obsessed with toilets.  When I go shopping I have to know where the toilets are and the last time they were cleaned.  Many places have a chart in the toilet telling you the last time it was cleaned.   Walmart usually has a bathroom in the front and in the back.  Sam's club, the same company, they are like Herbie.  Do it in your pants.   I know every toilet within a 10-mile radius of my home.  I know who keeps their paper towels and toilet paper up to date.  

In our home, we have two toilets. In Montreal, most places have only one toilet.  It is barbaric and medieval, very much like my high school bathrooms and locker rooms.

"Up periscope!"
While I am on the subject of toilets and privacy I will have to tell you about our high school.  The urinals in our high school bathroom were ancient.  They were floor models with no flush handles.
There was a constant flow of water coming from them and wetting the floor in front of the urinals.
If it wasn't for the fragrant urinal cake the men's room would have been quite gamey.

 There were 5 toilets in the men's room.  Only one had a door, the teacher's toilet.  The students were not supposed to use it.  They did use it.  They did abuse it.  They would remove all the toilet paper, pee on the toilet seat,  leave little gifts floating around the toilet.  The teachers had to use the same toilets that we did.   They didn't have Depends in those days.

I won't even try to describe the shower room at our high school.  On second thought….maybe I will.
It would be like putting 25 naked boys in a 1957 Volkswagon and turning on the water which was occasionally warm, occasionally cold, occasionally scalding.
There were 6 or 7 shower heads in the school shower.  You would walk into the shower straight and come out gay. Just kidding.  It was too small an area for anything.  This fact did not dampen or deter my friend, Richard.  He didn't have to play sports like the rest of us. He would stand on a rock nearby so he would not get his nice shoes wet. when it was time to take a shower, he was the first one in, the last one out. The coach would shrug and say, "whatever."

Our school...I could talk for a few minutes and tell you what a crappy looking  place it was or I could talk endlessly about what a wonderful place it was.  All my friends were there.
 It would not win any award for the most beautiful campus in North America.  More likely it would be the ugliest campus in North America.  It was built on a pile of gray dirt that came from the iron ore mines.
I could look out the study hall window and view the scenic mine shafts, hear the underground blasting, hear the railroad cars bringing the ore to the separating plant.
A good place to grow up.  I LOVED IT.

Life was not about toilets in the 50's.  Now it is.

I have to stop now.  Gotta pee!
At my age talking about toilets is the geriatric equivalent to a 20-year-old talking about sex.
How exciting.



  2. Enjoyed your article. I know what you mean ...when I go to my grandson's games, there are no bathrooms, believe it or not. a bunch of kids running, sweating and drinking Gatorade by the barrel and no bathrooms. I stopped going to his games for that reason.