Saturday, June 14, 2008

Maryland at Boyle

When I was in the 8th and part of 9th grades I lived on Maryland at Boyle in the Central West End. We shared an apartment with Suzy, Kent, and Mark.

The day we moved in my mother and Suzy had to figure out how to feed us. We didn’t have a stove.

Suzy’s boyfriend Simon showed us a neat little trick. He cut off the end of and electric cord, separated the wires, and wrapped each around a fork. He then pushed each fork into opposite ends of a hotdog. Then he plugged it in to an outlet. The hotdog split from the sides. When the split met in the middle the hotdog was done.

Simon was a character who lived entirely by his wits. I don’t think he had a job but he always had a nice car and he wore a lot of jewelry. I remember one day he let us play cards with a stack of hundred dollar bills.

This period was my transition between grade school and high school. I took the Bi-State bus to school. I remember hitch hiking to my 8th grade school in Laclede Town and being picked up by my brother’s kindergarten teacher. I had known her since I was in kindergarten at Hamilton on the North side. She was a student teacher observing our class. I found out later she had committed suicide. Even back then the connections to my past were dissolving all around me.

When I started high school I convinced my mother to sign a waiver allowing me access to the smoking lounge. I told her all my friends were in there. The lounge was a disgusting gutted room with what looked like tar paper for a floor and cable spools turned on their sides for tables. They gave us photo ID cards.

One night my friends and I were on the roof of the Catholic school that was attached to the St. Louis Cathedral. A security guard caught us. He said our parents would be shocked to learn we were smoking. I produced my photo ID smoking pass and his jaw dropped.

Forest Park was our playground. One day as Kent and I were hanging in the park I had an uncontrollable urge to defecate. I found one of the public johns and went in. No doors on any of the stalls of course. I sat down and looked out of the stall to find and old man watching me. Needless to say my urge to go faded. As I stood up a huge man, probably 250 pounds at least, blocked me in the stall and grabbed my crotch. I screamed and ran away. When I got outside Kent told me one of the park employees told him, “If anyone gives you trouble in there, kick him in the balls and run.” This would have been good information to have before I went in. I probably could have avoided it altogether. It took 15 or 20 years before I was able to use a public urinal again. Even then it helped if I was drunk.

The Pavilion by the Zoo was a great hang out for hippies. There were bands and drugs and it was all very exotic to a kid. I’ll never understand people’s hatred of hippies. Hard realities shoved in your face seem to give people a more solid sense of comfort than idealistic abandon. I still believe what is what you make is.


Anonymous said...

Remember when Charolett Peters said live on air for everyone to get a baseball and go cleanup the pavillion. That was her last on air show.

Anonymous said...

I meant to say baseball bat.

Doggie said...

I didn't remember that. I used to love that place. A friend of mine had a big brother that played in a band there. Their name was Rush. Much better than that silly Canadian trio!
The black cruisers called the place Hippie Hill. Everyone got along. Everything was possible.

Anonymous said...

Gene Edlin and Rush. Their hit song at Forest Park, Someone told me once I owed it to my country.