Barry Chapter One, Part XXVII

Part 27


Thus, as Sue and Melissa drifted off to sleep, I “Slept” with both eyes wide open in the dark.  As if ordained by the Creator ,Lisa was closest to me, and using her sleeping bag for padding rather than warmth.  I slowly rolled over so she was just within an arms reach. I moved my left hand like a crab or spider, inching toward my target, that being her hand.  I got an elbow instead.  If it was her left elbow she was on her back, if it was her right elbow she was lying on her stomach.  I slid my hand up toward her hand.  There was no resistance. She was asleep. Her hand was half open.  I decided to flip over again, thus putting my right hand much closer.  This time I found her fingers outstretched.  I was sure this was not by luck or coincidence.  I slid my hand into hers; she intertwined her fingers with mine, then curled our hands together.  This was the beginning of a two year romance.

Barry, Chapter One Part XXI

“Barry,. I guess you know Sue and Melissa, they go to Harley with me.”

“Yeah, sure, are you all in eighth grade?”

“Yes, and thanks to your little newspaper, we know all about you,” Sue said, with implications.

“I doubt you know all about me, but everything in the paper was true, or people were lying to me.”

“Maybe it was,” Sue went on, as if she had been waiting for a chance to get after me about a newspaper that only appeared five times, and at that, over a year earlier, “but a lot of people got into  big trouble over what you wrote.  Is that why you switched from Harley to Allendale?”

“Wow, the Inquisition, brought back form 400 years ago to this very spot in time.  Well, what makes you the judge of right and wrong?  I admit I had a blast writing that stuff, but I did not mean to hurt anyone, and apologize if I did.”

“You’re asking me what make me the judge of right and wrong!?  You started it.”

“I tried not to be judgmental, was I saying there was anything wrong with dating or smoking pot?  I don’t think so.  And besides, my Dad liked the stories, which is why he took my typing down to his office and ran off the copies.  How was I to know it would get me “not asked back,” to Harley after seventh grade.  I mean Harley is a pretty wide open place.  You’re right, it was surely the newspaper that got me ‘not asked back.’  That was last year, and you’ve been waiting a long time to get this off your chest, so what else is on your mind sue?”

“My sister, who is a senior now, started dating one of those boys you listed as a pot smoker.  Now she gets high all the time,” Sue explained.

“Well did she date him because she loved him or because she wanted to try pot?”

“That’s not the point, she countered.

“It’s not?” quirried I.

“No it’s not, you stinking drama queen!”

I didn’t realize it then, but by stirring up trouble the year before, and having it re-stirred right then, I felt the tingle of excitement, only a child brought up in a largely dysfunctional, massively sado-masochistic household could ever get a kick out of.  Took all these years to work through the fact that pissing people of was my modus operandi for one, two, three decades or so.

(Now back to the action at hand)

“Well I believe that was her choice, and if not for me, maybe she’d have found a pot head that was not Harley material, if you follow me,” I quipped. “So have you smoked any yet yourself? On the other hand…”

“OK you two,” Melissa jumped in, “why not change the subject?”

Was she worried I’d pull out a joint (I had never used the stuff) or just a peacekeeper?

“Yeah,” Lisa said, “here’s a subject:  what was my mom thinking in sending you boys down here anyway?”

Barry Chapter One, Part XVIII

What the hell Barry, it could be any of these places,” Jerry chirped in the cool night air.  Canandaigua’s water only gets to about 67 degrees in a good August, so at night, the lake cools the air.

            “But I know their dock is square and they have a boathouse with a bedroom over it for guests.  Sure enough this place fits that, and I know I’m right.”

            “I hope, Thomas said in testosterese. “Throw me a line,” which he tied to a dock post in a hasty but accurate bowline.

            “OK boys, here we go, but if this is the wrong house, we just turn and run, right?”Jerry asked.


            As soon as we got up the steps I knew I had gotten lucky because I recognized the compound which included two wooden houses carved out of a hill that led up to the tennis court.

            “You can hear them up there,” I said, pointing to the tennis court. At full pace we jogged up and Thomas yelled “We’re here ladies.”

Barry Chapter One, Part XVII

            “Well, “Cleo continued, “she’s having a sleep-over down the lake. “The girls have tents up behind the tennis court.  Why don’t you go down and have a panty raid,” she said, slightly tipsy, but matter-of-factly.

            The three of us, dumbstruck, looked at each other as if all our dreams had come true.

            Jerry “Thanks for the tip mum,” as if British, and we were off, out of there, sprinting 35 yards to the dock, firing up the inboard/outboard engine on a 16-foot Glastron, not checking the gas lever, nevermind that it was pitch black, I had only been to their house once, ,and I couldn’t remember whether it  was three or four points from Tichner’s Point  to (and beyond) Rochester Point.  Of course, Menteeth Point was first up as a landmark. But, at just around midnight, only points were a guide, and damn it, which came first Rochester or Seneca Point?  I knew Seneca was a much more dramatic outcropping, and guessed correctly that Rochester was before Seneca.  Even better, we didn’t run out of gas.

Barry, Chapter One, Part XI

Flying Dutchmen and everything from E-Scows to sunfish round out the contingency (mostly old-school wooden catamarans) that raced on Sundays.  If regatta-day was quite windy I’d race a 14-foot Hoby Cat considered gauche and nouveau-riche by the wooden hulled catamaran owners, perhaps because they are lighter and quicker. My girth gave me a decided “keep-the-boat-flat”  advantage on heavy days during the two legs that require tacking, and, being a one-men operation, it was a test of both nautical and tactical skills.  On light wind days I’d race sunfish but not with much success.

So I got past the yacht club, then the pump house, a Canandaigua landmark and scene of an emergency pissing pit stop four years later, when the choice was pee in my car, or behind the “pumpa housa” as Dad called it.  Might have gotten arrested and had a permanent sex-offender for that type of move these days. The walk this day though, back in 1972, was anything but funny.  I’m sure I bothered more than one sunbather, gardener, t-shirted lawn mower with off-the-wall questions or unexpected behavior.

Barry, Chapter One, Part IX

A four mile walk is not bad for a 14-year-old, though I had been over 200 pounds since I was 10.  Between 19 and 29 I never felt fat, though hit 330 at one point.  At 29, a member of the International Peace Walk (we were trekking through Russia for peace) told me it was nice to “have a person of size” on the walk, and right then (15 years later) I felt fat; but no one noticed my size again for another 20 years (girlfriends and wives included) until I moved to Korea, where lookism and the horrible looks one gets if chubby are augmented by comments like this one:  I was sitting with a retired opera singer and her photographer husband in his restaurant “museum” in Damyang.  She was about 70 years old.  The very first thing she said to me was not “hello” or “Anyon Haseo,” but, “when are you going to lose your weight?” I informed her that I had lost over 23 kilos (that’s over 50 pounds) in the last five years (taking me down to near 240 pounds) and at that point I thought she was going to faint.

But I progress.

Barry, Chapter One, Part VIII

So I put my clothes on while Cathy stared right at my groin.

“Do you need a ride to the lake, we’re heading down now,” he said.  Now Mr. Martin was a second Dad.  He knew all about the emotional fights that emitted loud noises toward his kitchen door.  He hadn’t fully gotten over the times I had chased Ann all over the two yards and beyond trying to get a kiss.  “Kiss Tag” in my mind…terror in hers, I’m sure.

I refused the 45-mile ride out of embarrassment.  Canandaigua didn’t seem like a long way to hitch hike that day.  My mind was split between going to Canandaigua and the  idea that I was free to do anything that day, having been sprung from both parental and super-ego barriers, I was, by any measure, out of my mind.

Thus I didn’t remember how I walked a mile down east avenue to get to the I-490 Linden road on ramp.  And still don’t remember much about the man who got me as far as Victor, the philosophical, if not geographic halfway point to Canandaigua.  From there, another universally-sent ride got me to the northwest corner of the city of Canandaigua, located at the north end of the westernmost of the picaresque Finger lakes.  It was probably anything but a beautiful drive for the 50s couple who picked me up in Victor.  They would have left me by the cornfield on the far side of Boughton Hill if it was up to the driver.  But, the second happy-to-help lady in a row  saved the day.  She managed to get me calmed down enough so I could tell her I lived on West Lake Road, and it was at the beginning of this 20-mile road that I was dropped off.  I got out and started walking, but my outstretched thumb wasn’t working anymore.


featured image by Anna Podris, Raleigh, NC

Barry Chapter One Part VII

So, using the “follow your heart” command I took my semi-psychotic self up to the attic, where parties with Mark and his older friends introduced all of us to better music, alcohol, marijuana and kissing.  There were drinking, smoking and kissing games, with variations that inevitably led to the older attendees laughing at the younger ones.

I don’t remember taking my clothes off, or how I ended up lifting and dropping the barbells that made enough noise for Mr. Martin, who was home form work to pick up his youngest daughter, Cathy, and who had come into the house without me hearing it, two stories up.  But he heard it and came up two flights with Cathy close behind.

“I wonder what that was,” she said, and I recognized the voice without realizing I was buck naked.

“Put your clothes on Barry, what’s going on” Mr. Martin asked, somewhere between furious and humored.

Barry, Chapter One, Part VI

Once in a while he’d miss a shot and a lacrosse ball would lodge in a place where he couldn’t find it in our back yard. Who knows how many months or years later a free lacrosse ball would be found.  I’d throw it into his yard, inevitably screwing up his lawn mowing.  He was about 8 years older so I didn’t know him very well.  He was not the champion jock though. One guy, who almost never joined us in the neighborhood sport because he was at the far end of Georgian Court ended up on the Olympic team and had a few great write ups.  But no write up was as famous as the McQuaids, who had six boys, an exact hockey lineup. Back when there were two papers in town, the Times Union, the evening paper, did a full color shot (rare then)and it turned out at least three of the McQuaids ended up great players.

I blew by my own house, and, taking Doc’s instructions a tad to literally, marched next door and found the Martin’s door unlocked.  I was in love with the older daughter, who was exactly my age, but plenty attracted to her younger sister as well. In 1972 unlocked houses were fairly common, as the robust 60s lowered the crime rate considerably.

Barry, Chapter One, Part V

So, while two hockey rinks kept us skating in the winter (both the McQuaid and Baume kids built rinks every winter), hot-box baseball, soccer, lacrosse, touch football, and basketball kept us moving in the non-snowy months.  It was a type of heaven, but how could we guess that playing outside everyday would become a luxury, and often overlooked in favor of PC games, cellular phones and 2500 “friends” on Facebook?  I was in no way a jock like everyone else, but I still had a great time playing every day.

One the corner of Trevor Court and Georgian Court Sandy lived, and he lived to play lacrosse, so he had a goal set up in his back yard. Even well into his 30s when he was home visiting he’d take a jog around the neighborhood with stick, ball and trusty golden retriever.  The guy could run forever, cradling, playing catch with his dog, or trying to set new records for the bounciness of a ball…distances measured in kilometers if the throw was straight enough.

Barry, Chapter one, Part IV

Thoughts, a mile-a-minute came into my head, as I had been given official license to do whatever I wanted.  I didn’t notice the walk home, past “Catholic row” where children outnumbered parents by an average of five to one.  I didn’t stop by to see Derek, Jim, John or David as I swung down Georgian Court, a road Mom called “The Gaza Strip.” She being resolutely ethnocentric and “World War II conservative.”

I hung a walking left onto Trevor Court, in a neighborhood (The Barnard Tract)n recently made famous in a book showing just how closed off one rich family was from the others, but this was never true for the kids, back in the 70s.  No. There were pick-up sports games in all three academic seasons.  Summer found us at Canandaigua Lake, visited by cousins, and many others.  The Martins next door got a summer spot near us at the lake also, but were not always at my parents big blow-out parties.  Then, in an act of coincidental synchronicity, the McQuaids bought the ranch house my dad had built by himself (minus plumbing and electricity) 25 years earlier.  It was south of us and on the east die of the lake, near Bare Hill, the Iroquois meeting place.

Barry, Chapter One, Part One

Made in 1998

Made in 1998

“Sunflower as Tree”

Barry, Chapter One, Part One

I, Barry, took three rides and a long walk to make it from Rochester to Canandaigua.  I was told by my cousin’s husband, a noted child psychologist and researcher who developed the tests needed to diagnose mental disorders in blind, deaf or both adolescents, to just leave his office and go to where I wanted to be.  It’s hard to believe he didn’t realize how distressed I was, but I felt a type of freedom I never would have allowed myself at the time.