181 Slices
Medium 9781770907348

Part III: Wisdom From a Short Perspective

Rick Salutin ECW Press ePub

ODD. THERE ARE PEOPLE IN Nottingham who don’t seem to have heard of Sherwood Forest. The clerks at the hotel stare as if no one ever asked how to get there. They call a number and say a cab will cost 30 pounds each way. Wow. I thought Sherwood would be a big theme park, with the region focused around it, like Orlando. But it is a nature preserve, with a short Robin Hood Festival each summer. We planned to get here on its final weekend. I was sure there’d be regular tourist buses.

Gideon has been engaged with Robin Hood since age four; now he’s almost six. Pin it on Ross Petty. The actor-entrepreneur produces an English-style pantomime in Toronto each Christmas. That year it was Robin Hood. Ross played the sheriff of Nottingham. In the music hall tradition, the audience is encouraged to boo and cheer. Gideon was enthralled. From there we went to movie versions, such as the 1938 Errol Flynn film, with its robust music and rollicking jokes. Those tales met the main condition for capturing his four-year-old interest: they were about good guys versus bad guys.

See All Chapters
Medium 9781770906730


Neil Peart ECW Press ePub


JULY 2011

DURING THE FIRST RUN of this year’s continuation of the Time Machine tour (part deux) in April, Michael and I motorcycled between shows in the eastern United States and Canada. As described in “Eastern Resurrection,” the weather was cold, wet, and windy—even snowy farther north. Verily, we did suffer most grievously, and there were great chatterings of teeth and shiverings of limb.

Likewise, as told in “Singletrack Minds in the Sceptered Isle,” May in Europe was cold and wet for Brutus and me. (If not quite so biblical.)

However, back in the U.S. in June, riding with Michael again, all that changed. We went from the freezer to the frying pan—then back into the freezer.

Hence a couple of other titles I considered for this story: “A Season of Fire and Ice” (which felt too similar to an earlier Far and Away story, “Fire on Ice”) and “A Season of Swelter and Snow.” But the best metaphor seemed to be the frying pan.

See All Chapters
Medium 9781770905993

10: Kelvin High School (Year Three): The Squires (Continued)

Sharry Wilson ECW Press ePub

ó 10 ó

KELVIN HIGH SCHOOL (YEAR THREE): The Squires (Continued)

FOR NEIL, SCHOOL HAD BECOME a frustrating distraction. If music was everything that mattered, school was everything that got in the way. It was a place that demanded his presence and his attention but offered nothing that spoke to the deepest part of him.

Kelvin’s student government had introduced a new house system in an effort to encourage school spirit, and the student body was divided into four houses: Kerr, Roblin, Saunderson and Gilbert. Neil was assigned to Saunderson House in Class XI-33, along with his friend (and former Squire) Jack Harper.

Uniforms were still obligatory. Red and grey were the official school colours. Grade 10 Kelvin student Lynne “Hammy” Hamilton, who would soon begin dating Allan Bates, recalls the dress code: “We had to wear a drab grey skirt, a white shirt, white bloomers/shorts with elastic bands around the top of the legs and a cherry-red-coloured scarf around the neck.” Boys could be expelled for wearing hair that fell below their collar. Many students, both male and female, supplemented their uniforms with a complementary sweater of their own choosing.

See All Chapters
Medium 9781770905375


Douglas Gibson ECW Press ePub
Medium 9781770905993

7: Earl Grey Junior High School: The Jades, The Esquires

Sharry Wilson ECW Press ePub

ó 7 ó


When we got to Winnipeg

I checked in to school.

I wore white bucks on my feet

When I learned the golden rule.

The punches came fast and hard

Lying on my back in the schoolyard.

— Neil Young, “Don’t Be Denied”

IF THERE IS SUCH A thing as a gene for musical talent, Neil Young was blessed with it. He arrived in Winnipeg trailing a rich and diverse musical heritage. Both of his great-grandfathers on the Young side of the family boasted musical ability. Robert Paterson was a “better-than-average church tenor,” while John Young was “one of the great country fiddlers of his time and place.”1

The succeeding generation on both sides of Scott’s family produced an assortment of banjo players and country fiddlers, and Scott’s mother, Jean, played the piano and organ to much acclaim. After moving to Flin Flon in 1937 with her 11-year-old daughter Dorothy, Jean Young2 found work in the machine shop at Hudson Bay Mining and Smelting, a copper mine 901 kilometres north of Winnipeg, where she entertained the miners by playing piano and singing in the Legion Hall on Saturday nights.3 According to Neil, her duties at the mine included “handing out the metal ID tags to the miners before they descended and collecting them back, hanging them on nails in the wall of a little shack, when they finished their shift, thereby becoming the first to learn of a missing soul in the mine.”4 Neil recalls, “She was a valued member of the community, but more than that, she played a helluva honky-tonk piano.”5 She had committed to memory a wide-ranging repertoire of songs and would ask people to “just hum a few bars” of any request. After a long day at the mine, Granny Jean was known for “partying into the night, singing and playing a barroom piano or producing and playing in the local theatre productions she created.”6

See All Chapters

See All Slices