Childhood Days

(Robert Tuik)

I made my first outcry in this world on September 30th, 1945. I had no say in this, so don't blame me. I was out voted two to one. The night I was born my father was running flat out to get the local midwife. Someone had an old punt hauled across the path that night. He ran smack into it and broke three ribs. Because of that one accident, my grandmother said I was trouble from the day I was born. Anyway, Dover was never the same after that.

My father was a fisherman and a logger. As a result of this I spent half of my early childhood days being shuffled back and forth between Dover and Newtown. I don't remember much about my diaper days in Dover, only my adolescent days.

There are a few things about Dover I can't forget. One of them is Halloween night. That was the night my grandmother wrote me off as a lost cause.

My cousin and partner in crime, Harold Lane and I must have been born to cause trouble. On that night we decided to go trick or treating dressed up as soldiers. We looked around and found two pairs of breeches. Being young and foolish we never did ask for permission to wear them. The answer would have been no anyway.

The best prize of all was the Salvation Army bonnet. Now, that bonnet was Grandmother's pride and joy. She wore the bonnet like it was the most important thing in her life.

That bonnet was resting on the night table besides Grandmother's bed. To my young eyes it looked like a German soldier's helmet. Standing before the mirror I placed that bonnet on my head. Instantly, I was a German soldier.

The die was cast. Harold was the Canadian soldier and yours truly was the German Commander. Together we marched off to do battle with the ghosts and goblins.

We thought we had it scaled. Our parents were up in Hare Bay visiting some friends. Grandmother and Grandfather were busy elsewhere. Everything was going good. We got our share of goodies (well, as good as could be gotten back then).

I don't know who told Grandmother, but when we got back she was waiting for us with her broomstick. The first swing connected with Harold, which gave me time to move out of range. The second swing unfortunately or fortunately depending how you look at it, connected with the bonnet saving me from decapitation.

The rules of war regarding the treatment of P.O.W.'s according to the terms of the Geneva Convention never entered her mind. The next day we had to be careful how we sat down, in fact we had to stand up for the next couple of days.

Even today the sight of a Salvation bonnet always makes me tremble and it makes me rub my rear end.


  1. Write the dictionary meaning for P.O.W.
  2. What's another phrase for 'The die was cast.' Discuss.

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