The Canadian years, 75, Che quevara

Door San-Daniel gepubliceerd op Tuesday 17 February 09:47


Che quevara

I waved to my aunt and uncle who had now gone through the gate that separated the travelers from those that stay behind. The big bird would drop them off within 10 hours in Amsterdam. I was suspended and had plenty of time on my hands to take them to the airport. My mother had again recovered some what and had come home. Her breathing was not 'wet' any more and the time she had stayed in the hospital had done her good. There was no Betsy who placed a glass of whiskey next to the pills. I intended to watch for that, and if it happened in my presence, I would try to stop her. Moments later the Pontiac growled at me lovingly and I drove away from the airport. My aunt and uncle had left their homes to be weeks with us and it would be strange not to have them around me. It had done my mother a world of good seeing her sister every day. Both had realized at the farewell that it would be a permanent one, but responding to their Frisian blood, they had not shown it, mostly in the choice of words, where one word was avoided, ‘goodbye.’ CKXL blurted out new pop hits and I drowned in the sounds. Tune in and dropout, the presenter advised us, followed by the tune of CKXL, Calgary. On the top of your dial at 114 Cee Kay EX EL! The Ohio Express members took over and began to sing sweetly that they had love in the tummy. ‘Yeah,’ I thought, ‘humming along, love is Such a sweet thing ..’ so much had changed in my life.

There was again some advertising and sponsorship and the tune of CKXL, at the top of your dial at 114 CKXL. Tune in and drop out, the cheerful voice advised the listeners again. ‘Be cool man.’ I was cool and my friends were cool too, we had the peacesigns around our necks to show it. Slowly but surely we shifted from the studious youths to hippies. At school you saw more and more anti-establishment signs. A Che Quevara photo pasted on a notebook, or people who read the red book of Mao and then ‘shared’ his wisdom. I listened in amazement to the pseudo-profundities spewed out by a friend. He read: 'set of demands and if they are met, your demands have been to humble..' how nonsensical could you get, even a starting a high school student could go see through that philosophy. Cashmere shirts came in and hair carefully crept over the ears of the boys.

The established order was lurking and observing us and then one day when Beverly came to school in jeans, with a hippie band around her beautiful hair and a feather hanging askew from it, she was sent home because of unacceptable behavior. She walked out of the classroom sent away towards the office of the principal and made a peace sign, to mister Wall. ‘Jesus loves you man,’ she said, and Mr. Wall  almost collapsed from a heart attack. Don stood up and saluted her, fist raised, with a Che quevara greeting.


The clenched fist flew straight up. Our homeroom teacher looked like if he saw water burning.’ No Marxist crap in my class young Don’, he snorted, ‘why don’t you follow your young Beverly. Don walked away and made the peace sign, ‘peace man,’ he said and Don being Don and unfortunate in formulating his ideas, added one more thing, tune in and drop out. Wow that was really cool, we were all very curious how this would expire.’ I warn you young Don,’ began Mr. Wall, ‘otherwise I will have to let the cane speak, even better, why don’t you come back’. He picked up his cane. Richard rose to his feet and spoke directly to our teacher. ‘Mister Wall, sir, I can not allow that.’ I was next to him before I knew it, and said, ‘I subscribe to that.’ ‘Mister Wall, sir,’ I said, ‘with all due respect, I can not allow you to administer corporal punishment’. ‘Disappear,’ he said in a pinched voice,’ scum,’ you are undermining my authority’. He walked up to us with the cane lifted high. It quivered over Richard in the air who looked at it with a kind Christ like smile.

I grabbed his arm without thinking about it, ’do not do it sir, you will disgrace yourself.’ He watched in horror at his arm as if I had just transferred the plague to him. ‘Suspended,’ he shouted, ‘tell the administration that you are suspended’ and he let the cane drop with a sigh and we walked out the door. Walking away we heard Jack Hornly cry out: ‘right on man.’ ‘Young Jack,’ said the pinched voice of our teacher, ‘join that scum.’

We had to wait on a bench in the administration office and when we were finally admitted, the principal was more human than we had expected. ‘What have you been up to,’ he asked as he looked at us over his half-glasses. ‘I had a feather in my hair band and Mr. Wall felt that such could not be permitted,’ said Beverly.  You also seem to lack a school skirt, added Mr. Wonnecot.’ I have been sent away because I answered back ,’ Beverly said honestly. ‘What did you say,’asked our headmaster? I said that Jesus loved him and I made a peace sign. ‘Hmm,’ was the opinion of our all powerful principal, ‘passive resistance ala Gandhi. Are you also Gandhi sympathizers,’ he wanted to know? ‘Not exactly, sir,’ Richard said, ‘ I don’t eat figs, I find them downright dirty.’

The man started to laugh.’ Oh,’ he said, ‘what should I do with you?’ Well then say it, I have got more to do, why were you sent down?’ I have prevented Mr. Wall to cane my friend,’ I replied and Richard said, and I did not allow that our other friend would be beaten.’ I had an opinion about  it,’said Don, ‘and I expressed it,’ filled Jack in.

‘Personally, I am not for corporal punishment,’said Mr. Wonnecot, ‘which is more an inheritance of days of the past in the old school, but the system exists, so what should I do.’ ‘I will send you home one day. You may not enter the school grounds that day. Do you find it annoying what has happened?’ We nodded. ‘I will convey to Mr. Wall, that we all found it a regrettable incident and it will never be discussed again. You can go.’ When we stood at the door, he said,’ just wait a minute you misguided youths.’ We looked surprised. ‘Peace,’ he said, and he made the peace gesture. Automatically we laughed. ‘Cool man,’ we said, and raised two fingers, ‘peace .. happiness.’


‘The principals are selected from the teachers and the rest are idiots who continue teaching,’ Richard said. ‘Statistically that was not right, you could not all become principal but I thought you could all try to be as the principal. The principal had a helicopter view, where the rest went through the daily routines. You could not blame them for that, they tried to keep themselves standing and then I suddenly understood what was up with the teachers. They had gone to school, had taken exams, had gone to college and were back in school, but now in front of the classroom. They knew nothing, they were the nerds, they had no experience outside the classroom and the class came in with various kinds of social experiences. The school was their social meeting ground. The teachers were out of it. They remained standing in all their uncertainty with discipline and punishment.

Unnoticed, I had arrived in the street of Richard and I decided to park the big American. Reflections do that to you, you drive on automatic pilot and follow your heart. When I walked in through the back door, I heard Don Beverly's voice, laughing at something that had just been told. We all belonged together and this was our base.

San Daniel 2015

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