Sunday, October 25, 2020

Altered states of angels and Saint Alberts

The Wild Bunch
Let me tell you about this picture. It was  taken at my house, where we had a “mixed” party. We were in grade seven and never had a mixed party before, unless you count birthday parties when we were really young.

That’s me holding the bottle of pop and I’m kneeling on Barry Davis, Trevor MacIntyre and Joe Rossanese who for some reason is wearing glasses. That’s how close we St. Albert’s kids were. We knew which ones of us wore glasses. Or who was left handed

I’m thinking the glasses Joe has on belonged to the kid directly beside me, Mike Kohut. 

Mike was one of those genius kids who always got super high marks. There were others. The girl behind me is Shelly Powell; another straight A-student. Roman Stankiewiecz, who isn't in this photo for some reason, was another consistent gold-star student and he still doesn’t wear glasses, to this day. (I know because he was at my place last week.)


Excuse me for a moment. Since I published this blog, I heard from two other class members. Chris Palmaro, who did not wear glasses and lived about nine doors south of us and asked today, Monday, October 6, 2020 at 6:30 p.m. on Facebook, "Why wasn't I invited to that party?" Good question. I have no answer. For all I know, he was invited but was grounded for something. Or he was at the party but wasn't in the picture. Or finding something more fun to do. And then I heard from another high-mark classmate, Tim Gallagher (glasses)  who went on to law school, and who took Chris' side and said "and you were like a block away!" If this keeps up this blog will never get finished.


Barry Davis definitely had a better handle on the facts of life than I did. ( Actually everybody did.)  And all the girls thought Trevor was cute. Some of them--I know for a fact because Trev and me and our spouses still see each other once in a while and, well, I wasn't born yesterday so I can tell--still do. Not that it bugs me or anything. 

Besides Shelly, I’m not going to try to name all the girls in this picture because I might get one wrong. 

Except Theresa Keegan. 

Theresa, directly behind me, wearing glasses, deserves a blog all her own because she grew up directly across the street from us; the Keegans also had 10 or so kids and several of us Carters had a Keegan in our class at St. Albert's.
Me and Theresa, before school screwed everything up

To whit:
My sister Charlene was the same age as Peter Keegan, my brother Alex was in their Mary’s grade; my sister Mary is about the same age as their Donnie and our oldest brother Pat (who went on to have a son named Donnie)  had the very same name as the Keegan's oldest sister, Pat.

It’s a miracle we didn’t go  to the wrong house after school. Maybe we did. Never mind that; before life got complicated by school, Theresa and I were inseparable.

But back to that photo: Beside Theresa on the far right is Linda Recollet, easily recognizable because she was the only First Nations girl in the class. We had another First Nations kid in our class for four years or so, Mike Blondin. Of course we didn’t use First Nations. We — and they — said Indian. 

Mike and his family moved to a different neighbourhood after we were in grade six so he attended St. Raphael’s school for seven and eight. 

The thing about Mike? 

One of the funniest kids you’ll ever meet. 

Picture this: Mass time in St. Clement’s Church. Fr. Walter Burns, presiding and on either side of the altar knelt a few altar boys, facing each other, their hands clasped up in front of their faces. 

We looked angelic, deep in prayer. 

What you didn’t know is that one of them was Mike Blondin who, peeking through his clenched fists, was furiously twisting his mouth, and puffing out his cheeks and tongue, anything to make us on the other side of the altar, laugh. He was generally successful. Mike is still exactly like that. 

Exhibit A: 
Ageing altar boys en masse

Five minutes ago, I decided I would include another Roman anecdote in this blog. Roman happens to have a son in university and the young man goes by AJ or TJ, I wasn’t sure which. 

I texted Mike, asking what Roman’s son’s name was. 

Texts Mike back: “Name's AJ but I’m not sure of the spelling.”

Here's the Roman story. 

When we were in grade five or six, a bunch of us altar boys went to the local TV station after school to be on something called Hub’s Club, which was one of those programs where a local TV host entertained a small audience of kids; sort of like a Northern-Ontario Captain Kangaroo thing.

The day us guys from St. Albert’s went, the host, Hub Beaudry, asked if we knew any good jokes and Roman said “I do! I do!” 

Beaudry held the microphone up to Roman’s face and Roman says “What’s hairy and sticks out of your pajamas?” Beaudry yanked the mic away, but not before Roman yelled “Your head!” 

What’s really weird is I have never forgotten that episode but when Roman was at my place last week, turns out his star turn on Hub’s Club had completely slipped  his memory. 

Imagine forgetting an important life event like that. 

I wonder if that’s what happens when people start getting older .

No comments:

Post a Comment