THE OVERALL LIFE OF WILLIAM JAMES HUNT #11
BEFORE I continue with my Dad's life story. I would like to take a few pages to do some reflecting on my childhood with my parents.
When I was 3 or 4 there was this leather harness people could put their kids into with leather reins, to prevent them getting lost, while the parent was shopping in a large store. I loved being put in them; one day I asked Mom to put me in the harness in a store we were in. "No, Keith you are not going in the harness ever again." I asked her why not. "Because when I put you in it, you pretend to be a horse, and you embarrass me." And that was my end of trying to be a horse. Mom many years later said I was born a cowboy.
Dad worked a night shift 6 pm to 6 am.... and often 7 days a week, sometimes for 8 or 9 months straight. He worked this way until I was about 12. Hence I was very close to my Mother. We moved into a house by the green open park where with the school and friends I would over the years play many a Soccer and Cricket game. On moving there at about age 7, it was natural to want to make friends with other kids. One day from my bedroom window I saw about 4 kids. Well they were not the best dressed, kinda poor shall we say, they were quite willing to have another kid with them, the new kid on the block as we say. We were soon the best of buddies. One day my Mom said to me, "Keith I really don't like you chumming up with them, they are kinda 'scruffy' you know." "But Mom", I replied, "They are my friends." I was never bothered by how poor some were, or that they did not or could not dress the best. All I was concerned about was they were my friends. Mom, bless her, never mentioned it again. I had many great times over the next years with my new friends.
Ah those were the days kids could play outside, go for walks in the hills, climb the wooded hill and look down on the beauty before you. Those were the times you made fun in simple ways, cardboard boxes, two sets of wheels and tying them to a piece of wood to make a push and go wheel buggy. Going out to the nearest pond and bringing back some tadpoles and watching them grown into frogs.
Oh yes we eventually later in years, about age 10 and 11, we had some girls as friends with us. One game was to let the girls go hide and we would seek. But the very best part was when we found a girl we were to kiss her. It was all very innocent fun, sex hormones had not yet kicked in, but a nice kiss....well that was nice. I remember one girl in particular who had these nice soft and pretty large lips.... wow I loved to kiss those lips. As I said all in fun, and of course the girls liked to be kissed as much as we liked kissing them. Of course no parents ever found out we ever played that game. Then again at that age we had some parties with adults present and we played "spin the bottle" - the stem of the bottle pointing at you by the girl who spun it, you went over and kissed her, on the lips. It was a different age then, innocent age. Even when our sex hormones kicked in, going any further than a kiss was... well just not done, girls, 99 percent of them drew the line at a kiss.
One big event was November 5th - Guy Forkes night. We would for weeks before collect old dead tree branches, sometime dragging them for a mile or more. Get permission to stock them in someone's back yard, and come November the 5th, bring them all out into the street and have one big blazing fire. It was to remember Guy Forkes and how he and others tried to blow up the Parliament Building in London...way back sometime. With this we also had fireworks. Well most everyone had the "rocket" type fireworks but I would buy all the fancy ones that would display all kinds of beautiful colors in various patterns. Needless to say my display of the 50 or so I'd saved to buy, was the big attraction on the street.
And of course those were the years everyone learned to ride a bicycle: I can remember learning and one time saying "Now don't let go" to the person holding and steadying at the back, when he had already let go and I was riding away. It was a few years before I got my own bike; my parents made we wait for some things; yes I was an only child but never spoilt. The one thing I would have loved was one of those spring horses, you rode and it sprung up and down. I never did get one, I guess because my Mom [who I spent so much time with in those early year] would never get me off it as I would pretend to be Roy Roger on Trigger.
I did join the Cubs and then the Scouts. I loved dressing up in the Scout uniform, kinda was the next best thing I thought to dressing up in fancy western clothes and being Roy Rogers. Wow had many super years in the Scouts, learning so many things, and going camping for a week at a time, and hiking the hills, cooking over a wood fire, swimming in a safe pond. Ah yes we learned to manage the rain, often had to dig a trench around the tent so the flowing rain would not flood the inside of the tent.... yes it worked just fine.
In earning one Scout badge, you had to go with another Scout and camp for 3 days; making your own meals over a wood fire. I remember David my neighbourhood Scout friend and I doing it. It rained for just about the whole three days. Did the trench bit, and we made it - got our badge. The place we had to go to was arranged by the Scout Master.
In the winter evenings often did pencil drawings to spend the time away. I was pretty good at drawing, well copying a whatever, never much good at drawing out of my head. Mom and I would watch some TV shows. I remember for the first time in my life watching a "ballet" - Mom asked me what I thought. I said, "Well kinda okay but the men wear such tight clothing I don't like their private area showing out so much." My Mom had a laugh. Don't remember every seeing another ballet dance, growing up.
Some of the regular TV weekly shows Mom and I watched back then were: Gun Smoke; Maverick; Bonanza; Wyatt Earp; Wagon Train. On children's hour there was I Love Lucy; Roy Rogers; Lassie; Rin Tin Tin. Of course we had the great British comedians of the time, I can see them in my mind but forget most of their names now. I do remember the "Goon Show" with the Welshman Harry Secombe, who became one of the all time famous Tenors, some would have liked him to have gone full time into Opera but he was just too funny a man to ever do that, but he did indeed do some Operas.
Oh yes there was Benny Hill, and many other great comic guys. Must not forget Gracie Fields, her comedy and fantastic soprano voice. Her rendition of "Jerusalem" when she was young would send shivers down my spine.
I loved all the popular American Musicals - Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, Gene Kelly, both great dancers and very melodic singing voices. Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis - just great. Abbott and Costello fantastic. The Bowery Boys, and of course the Marx Brothers; Harpo Marx on the Harp.... out of this world. Mom and Dad were fine singers, so it was in my blood to always be singing the pop songs or songs from movies…..until my voice broke as a young teen, then had to wait for it to return some years later.
There was George Formby, the British comic and his funny songs as he played his uke-banjo, the first musical instrument I ever had at age 8.
Yes had my electric train set; the farm house with all the animals; oh yes I was very good modelling with plastercine, but would mainly do a model of Trigger with his fancy silver saddle; must say did a really fine job.
In school was pretty good at all subjects.... loved history.
Well would score into the 80s and 90s with all subjects.
Got to like very much English essay writing, came easy to me. I had no idea back then that it was God preparing me for something I never dreamed..... being able to write theological studies that would be not just logical format, in-depth, but also easy to understand. Writing is a communication, to put into words that will really hit home in a personal style writing. You will notice I do not use big fancy words in my study writing. Getting across the plain clear truth is the important thing, not fancy words.
God was, unknown to me back then, getting me to love writing, searching, putting down the truth in basic simple manner. I was always blessed with a very logical mind, some say "intellectual" mind, but I've never thought of it that way. I was also blessed with a good memory, being able to remember where key verses of the Bible are, or know where on the page I'm looking... top right, bottom left, in the middle on left side or right side and etc.
Another unusual happening for me at about age 13. The school class always went swimming once a week; that is where I learnt how to swim. But I could never quite get my legs on top of the water for the over-arm "crawl" stroke; so the "breast-stroke" became my favourite and I figured I was pretty good at it, but never thought how fast I was. But I guess the teacher kinda knew. There was to be an inter-school swimming competition, and there was to be a relay team from the 6 or so schools participating. We were at our swimming lesson and the teacher told us he had picked 3 of the 4 for the relay team. To my surprise he said this other boy [doing the over-arm crawl] and I had to race, and the winner would be the 4th member of the relay team. Well I'm doing the breast-stroke…. and yes I beat him. I was to be the 4th member of the team. On competition day, the teacher had our best crawl stroke swimmer go first [he was the best in town for our age group - swam like a motor boat], I think to give us a good head start; and he did indeed. But another school team caught up with the second swimmer; and the third swimmer of their team put then ahead by about 8 feet. I dove in and…..well I was catching up on him….the crowd, stunned by how fast I could go with the breast-stroke, they began to shout, "Go Keith go, go, go Keith." Well I managed to catch up about 4 feet, but the pool was not regular size, so that school won by about 4 feet; we came second. But I kinda laugh about it now when I think I was the only member of the 6 teams swimming breast-stroke in a relay. Ah well what you can do when only 13….. would never of course happen with kids 15 and up. But I get a smile out of remembering that event.
When I go swimming today at age 72 the people there can't believe I can still do a pretty darn fast breast-stroke; some comment, and I tell them the story I just told you.
When in the Boy Scouts we'd have a talent night once a year. Again I was about 11 or 12. I did the funny little ditty "I know an Old Woman who swallowed a Fly." Unknown to me at the time was a lady in the audience who not only taught "Queen's English speech" [elocution was the technical word in England] and also ran a free "Concert Entertainment" group going to Churches and Retirement centres. She was in need of a young guy [her son had given it up on getting older]. She got in touch with me and asked if I would be interested. I said I would. It was my introduction to acting lessons as well as taking elocution lessons. Over time I was awarded "speech" certificates for passing exams, and even won a few poem reciting competitions.
I was a busy boy through my teens years, well very busy up to age 17.
At age 14 my Dad finally persuaded me to send for the Health and Strength Course by Charles Atlas. Still have the 12 lessons to this day. It was great; still practice some of Atlas' "dynamic tension" exercises, within my overall fitness program I have drawn up for myself. Atlas was strong on correct diet, so I was into visiting the Health Food stores on a regular basis. And correctly he taught white flour products were the greatest physical sin man had invented. There is nothing nutritious about white flour. Following Charles Atlas diet teachings, and keeping fit with exercise, has kept me young for my birth certificate age; most people guess my age at about 50. And it is true you have not just a birth certificate age but more important you have an actual biological age.
When I reached the age of 16, I knew I was not too far away from "headin' out West" - the "go West young man" phrase. So I figured I better get on a horse if I was going to be a cowboy and take over from Roy Rogers. I was not very interested in riding "English" but thought it was time to get on the back of a horse. It all came pretty natural to me, as I knew it would. Did some jumping and English "trekking overnight" trails. That was fun, the overnight riding for two or three days.
I stayed on in school one extra year to take a new nation wide exam that had been brought out. So did more English composing and structure writing, and more Math, Science, Music, and a few other subjects. Passed the exam and got my diploma.
Could not come to Canada till I was 18 [Dad got it wrong in his life history - he thought I was 17 coming to Canada, but still have my original Passport - I was 18] so worked for a year to safe up money. Within a few days after my 18 birthday I was at the Canadian immigration office in Leeds.
Set off by Ocean Liner in May of 1961…. it was sunny and warm for all 7 days travel, and the sea was as calm as a table top. The food….on those ships…. oh my like something in a dream….fabulous!
I arrived in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan in late May 1961. It was a hot draught summer. Could not wait to ride a "western" horse. Went out to the riding stable on a hot dust-storm day. The lady [husband was away] must have thought this English boy was mad. She showed me how to saddle a Western horse. Out I went in the dust storm… well for about 100 yards; realized I was crazy, turned the horse around and we flew back to the stable at a very fast run - the horse probably thinking I was crazy also.
But that was my start of Western horse life…. a fast run in a dust-storm.
Well time now to continue with my Dad's life story.