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Sunday 4 October 2015


There have been several times in my life when I kicked my way out of trouble. This tendency to resort to kicking began with one of my earliest childhood memories. Dad, Mom and I lived with my grandfather Pretty in St. John's, Newfoundland. I was twenty-two months old at the time playing in the backyard. 

Somehow, I escaped from the yard following a cat. Mom did not miss me until it was too late. Marie was gone.

This was in the days when children were not taken by strangers. Mom and others in the neighbourhood were afraid I was in danger from cars, or falling and hurting myself. Meanwhile they searched everywhere around the neighbourhood to no avail.

Mom described the panic she felt that day, her heart in her throat, not being able to think. Neighbours helped her organize a search. A systematic search of the area led them further afield as they failed to find me close to home. The length of time I was missing has been lost in time but I was gone long enough to walk uphill, cross Craigmillar and Cornwall Avenues, dodging traffic, and through yards.  

An elderly woman, sat on her step on Cornwall Avenue on that bright sunny day, saw a small child crossing the street by herself. She grabbed me and I kicked her to get away. She asked, "What's your name?"

I would not tell her my name. I only replied, "One sissy-sis Topsail Road," over and over again. The woman held me there on the step until she saw people looking for me, calling my name.

Mom knew that I was a roamer. If she took me to a store, I often disappeared. She would find me talking to people, sat on a chair or on the floor. She taught me my address in case she could not find me at some point. It was hard to keep track of me. She never imagined I would escape the fenced backyard however.

The woman told Mom that I had kicked her hard to get away. The kicking that started that day, helped me escape other dangerous situations later in my life. Our instincts are so valuable and helpful to us if we but trust them. 

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