Tuesday, May 08, 2007


Pierrefonds was a suburb like any other. It just happened to be a suburb of Montreal, Quebec and I just happened to live there in the early seventies.

There are lot of mental images that flash around in my head, when I drum up the subject of Pierrefonds and reflect. The first images that are summoned are the thick snow tires on those big, ugly cars of the seventies. In those days, cars were big, they made low, thumping noises when they were running and in Quebec, they were equipped with large, thick snow tires for winter.

The most vivid sound I can recollect is the sound of those big snow tires spinning furiously when they were stuck on a patch of ice or were caught in a bank of snow. Cars would sometimes hit a patch of ice on our street and swerve into the snow banks. These banks were often far over my head along the side of the road. When you hit the gas of the car, the tires would spin and the deep treads of the snow tires made an interesting and haunting sound.

In the end, the cars would always get unstuck and it would always leave a trail of black ice and snow where the exhaust had polluted the white snow bank. When I walked to school, you could see these black, carbon-stained scars along the side of the road, and you’d know that the snow and ice of Montreal had caught yet another victim.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Earliest Memory

Your earliest memories are always shrouded in fog and they are often only brief moments, tiny snapshots that your brain managed to capture when you were very little. These memories have been corroded by the moths of time. They have holes in them, and it isn’t always easy to pull them out of storage and look at them.

My earliest memory is being inside a BOAC jet, flying to England. I am not sure how old I am, old enough to talk, old enough to hear my Mom’s voice and understand it. My younger brother Keith has been born, but if memory serves he’s just a baby. I am probably three years old.

I remember being tired and being unable to sleep in the chair of the plane. I had never slept sitting down before. My Mom tells me to go to the floor and sleep by her feet. I was small enough to crawl down to the floor in between the seats. I spread across the floor in this tiny gap, without inconveniencing anyone else. I remember my Mom’s voice telling me to go to sleep and that we’d be in England soon.

It was a soothing voice my Mom was always good at making you feel safe. I fell asleep, a mile high in the sky, and rocketing at 500 miles an hour towards England, and it remains my earliest memory.